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

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Construction of the proposed Ross Street underpass may start in the spring of 2021. (City of Salmon Arm illustration)
Salmon Arm’s Ross Street underpass to go to tender but not without risk

City council gives nod to construction agreement after pondering insurance

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

A School District 83 trustee expressed concern regarding how employee and trustee expenses are reported during a review of the statement of financial information for the district's fiscal year end. (File photo)
Transparency concern raised over North Okanagan-Shuswap school district expenses

Employee and trustee expenses total more than $370,000 for fiscal year

Shuswap Theatre is seeking outdoor venues for its planned Dec. 18-20 performances of Once Upon a Time in the Shuswap. (File photo)
Shuswap Theatre focused on outdoor travelling Christmas show

Salmon Arm-based theatre troupe in search of possible outdoor venues

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

Most Read