Fight Over Covid Testing at Ben Gurion Could Delay Tourist Reopening

YERUSHALAYIM -
ben gurion airport covid
The arrival hall at Ben Gurion International Airport (Yossi Aloni/Flash90/File)

A dispute over who will conduct the Covid-19 testing at Ben Gurion Airport could delay the planned reopening to foreign tourists later this month, Globes reported on Monday.

The Omega company, which won the tender last year and has been running tests at the airport until now, has since been disqualified due to irregularities in the awarding of the tender, by ruling of the High Court.

As a result, another company will have to step in. Pangea, which came in second in the competition for the tender, believes it should now have rights to the concession.

However, the Ministry of Health has decided to conduct a pricing survey to determine who should be awarded the concession. Pangea’s lawyers are contesting the move, saying it is “in complete contradiction to the basic principles of tenders law and proper administrative rules.”

The Ministry and Omega were making no comment on the case.

The Israel Airports Authority said, “We await the Ministry of Health’s decision and will act accordingly.”

In the meantime, Omega will cease operating on May 22, and will be paid NIS 43 million by the government for its services since March 24.

While officials are hopeful that the legal dispute will not cause any disruption in testing and tourist entries, the expectation is that prices will go up sharply, from the current 45 shekels to 149 shekels for a standard test.