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COVID-19 testing arrivals is “probably unnecessary” says airport boss

Testing arrivals is not only costly and inconvenient, it’s unnecessary, Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert has said and warned that it’s putting off a “wave” of people from overseas travel.


According to Culbert, fully vaccinated plane passengers don’t pose a great risk, the Daily Telegraph reported. 


“Testing is probably unnecessary because the shield is the vaccination rate that we’ve got in NSW,” Culbert said.


“When you are 95 per cent vaccinated, and COVID is circulating in the community, then people coming in from abroad don’t pose a great risk.”



That said, Culbert is adopting a “wait and see” approach with Omicron, awaiting medical and scientific advice on the new variant of concern. 


Culbert said that we have to rely on our high vaccination rate as a“shield” against COVID. 


“The shield is not a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.”


“People look at travel and they say well, okay, if I’m going to have to do a PCR test on departure, a PCR test on arrival, and then when I’m coming back I’ve got to do a PCR test on departure and a PCR test on arrival, and they start looking at all the forms you’ve got to fill out and all the process, people say well maybe I’m just going to go somewhere where I don’t have to do all that stuff until all of those protocols and procedures go away,” he said.


“If you are a family of five travelling overseas and you’ve got to do all these PCR tests you are putting another couple of grand on your holiday, that’s the difference between choosing to go overseas or not.


“Once those requirements and those processes are lifted I think that we’ll see a wave of people come back into the travel market.”


Culbert does not believe the volume of international travel won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.


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Published: 1 December 2021

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