YVR and WestJet select UBC as research partner for COVID-19 testing pilot study

Vancouver Airport Authority and WestJet have selected the University of British Columbia (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.

YVR and WestJet have partnered for a COVID-19 rapid testing pilot.
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“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 of 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.”

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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.

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