A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

The Vancouver International Airport said there appears to be strong support for pre-flight COVID-19 testing ahead of a pilot program scheduled for November.

In a Monday (Oct. 26) update, YVR vice-president of operations and maintenance Robyn McVicker and WestJet vice-president of safety, security and quality Billy Nolen said polling conducted last week showed nearly two-thirds strongly supported taking pre-flight COVID tests.

The airport is partnering with the University of B.C., which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing, as well as conducting an ethics review. There have been four COVID-19 tests approved by Health Canada that do not need to be sent back to a laboratory. Of those four, two can provide results in 15 minutes or less.

READ MORE: First antigen rapid test for COVID-19 gets Canadian approval

“It is crucial that we take a science-based approach to improving public confidence in air travel,” the executives said. Air travel in Canada ground to a near-halt during the beginning of the pandemic, down from 199,000 flight hours in January to 13,000 hours in May, according to Statistics Canada. The latest statistics available show that air travel rebounded to 36,000 flight hours in July, when cases were comparatively low across the country.

The upcoming pilot project will target Lower Mainland residents who can more easily return home if they test positive for the virus, and be operation for four hours each day.

The program will use a 40-foot Citizen Care Pod, which will provide privacy and utilize HEPA air filters, to carry out the tests.

The testing will entail a straightforward process—a brief consult with research coordinators prior to undergoing testing, followed by a short questionnaire before receiving results – and will not add much time to the airport journey,” the executives noted.

READ MORE: Vancouver airport to pilot pre-flight COVID-19 tests for select WestJet passengers


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusVancouver International AirportWestJet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 2019 photo of the site of what is now The Cove Shelter, which is operated by Surrey Urban Mission Society. Crews were working inside of this corner unit just days before it officially opened. (File photo: Lauren Collins)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Surrey shelter as 17 people test positive

SUMS executive director says ‘it’s a group that we really have to work hard to protect’

South Surrey’s Kevin McAlpin is hoping to reunite this 50-year-old wedding ring with its rightful owner. (Contributed photo)
Owner of 50-year-old wedding band found near Peace Arch Park sought

Recovered ring ‘is important to somebody,’ says finder

These three orbs in a triangular formation were spotted in the skies above Abbotsford/Aldergrove on Dec. 1. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Alleged UFO sighting in Abbotsford/Aldergrove

Footage from Dec. 1 shows three orbs in triangle formation in the skies

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read