There are long queues in front of the test centre at Brussels Airport, not only with people who come to be tested but above all, with all those who are angrily waiting for the result of their test.
The Sunday evening news of RTBF television channel showed some people who came on Thursday and paid 135 euros to get a quick result. But several days later they still didn’t get any news, like a Pakistani who wants to return to his country. He had six tickets in hand for his whole family and paid for six rapid tests. “We came for the test on Thursday so we could get on the plane on Friday. I stayed here Friday all day. I came again on Saturday. I was told they were going to send me an email. Today, Sunday, at 12:30, I was sent an email to tell me that there was a 6-hour delay“.
As a result, he was unable to catch Friday’s flight. He rebooked on a Sunday’s flight, which he also missed. Each time, the change in ticket costs him 300 euros per person. And he will have to take the test again so that it is valid when boarding.
The same story happened to many other people, like with two women due to travel to Morocco, where one of them lost her brother. The tests were carried out on Friday for a flight the next day. But again the results were not available. “I bought a new ticket and still no answer. There is no contact person, no manager. Now the funeral has taken place, everything is over,” she said to RTBF.
The airport test centre was opened on 14 September, initially to allow people who arrived in Belgium to be tested because they were returning from a red zone. Now the centre is primarily intended for passengers travelling to countries for which a negative test, carried out less than 72 hours in advance, is required.
At first, the tests were sent to a laboratory in Flanders for analysis. But recently, the tests were handled on-site to allow faster results. However, the delay to obtain results is currently 36 to 48 hours and is expected to drop to 24 hours in the middle of next week.
Brussels Airport’s spokesperson Nathalie Pierard recognises the problem, which she says is due to Ecolog, the company that manages the centre. She advises to “take into account an additional 12 to 24 hours to obtain results“. She also suggests that passengers who had problems contact their airline to find a solution.
Brussels Airport further recommends that departing passengers who have to provide a test at destination register in advance at brusselsairport.ecocare.center, which simplifies the administrative procedures on site.
Given the increasing need for testing in Belgium, @Ecologint receives many requests for testing in our Test Centre, resulting in longer waiting times. Please consider an extra 12 to 24 hours if you need to be tested. We apologize for this inconvenience.
— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) October 25, 2020