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

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Members of the community participate in the 7th annual Coldest Night of the Year event Feb. 22, 2020. This year’s event will have a virtual aspect to it because of COVID, says organizer Courtenay van den Boogaard. (Photo Submitted: Amanda Grewall)
Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen

Annual events raises funds to help homeless community

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey firefighters’ response to drug overdose calls has increased by 25 per cent

City manager says this has equated to a 75 per cent increase in delivery of life-saving Naloxone by firefighters

Semiahmoo Rock
Record-setting 10 Semiahmoo Rock players selected in B.C. junior lacrosse draft

Kaleb Borg is the highest Rock player selected, going in the second round to the Coquitlam Adanacs

Delta View Care Centre (Google Street View image)
16 new COVID-19 cases, one death, in Delta care facilities

Ministry releasing weekly report on long-term care, assisted and independent living facility cases

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Most Read