The Vancouver Airport Authority and WestJet have selected the University of British Columbia as a research partner for a COVID-19 rapid testing pilot program at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
The pilot will be conducted on a voluntary basis with passengers on select departing flights, explains the Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA), with the primary goal of gathering data to support public health knowledge and the response to COVID-19. The program also aims to develop longer-term solutions around aviation safety and health-screening at airports.
“This partnership with Vancouver Airport Authority is part of our relentless push to help ensure a safe travel environment for our guests and employees,” said Billy Nolen, Vice-President Safety, Security and Quality, WestJet. “We hope that working with leading experts like those at UBC will help us to collect, test and act to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in conjunction with our myriad of other layered safety measures.”
VAA explains the parties will work together to design and implement a research study to test and pilot real-time COVID-19 testing at the airport. Details like timing, methodology and testing technologies will be outlined in the coming weeks.
As a next step, VAA explains the partners will also be collecting information from the travelling public on thoughts, perceptions and willingness to undergo voluntary COVID-19 testing at the airport to help inform practical aspects of the study.
“Working together with UBC and WestJet, we aim to make this pilot project the best of both worlds, bringing together industry experts and world-leading researchers – all in an effort to support aviation safety and provide benefits to our region,” said Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority.