Vancouver Airport Authority and WestJet have selected UBC as the research partner for a COVID-19 rapid testing pilot at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
The pilot, which will be conducted on a voluntary basis for passengers on select departing flights when it launches, will seek to gather data to support public health knowledge and the response to COVID-19 and help inform 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, WestJet Vice-President Safety, Security and Quality. “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.”
“We are very pleased to have selected a world-leading research institute, located in our own backyard, to partner with us on this critically important work,” said Tamara Vrooman, President & CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority. “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.”
Under the proposed partnership, 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 including timing, methodology and testing technologies will be outlined in the coming weeks.
As a next step, 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.