A proposal submitted in January to the Nova Scotia government to implement a COVID-19 test facility at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport has yet to be approved.
“We’re very open and ready to get that facility up and running as quickly as the province would like to do that but we really need their participation,” said Tiffany Chase, the public affairs director with the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA).
Chase says COVID-19 testing has been successfully implemented for temporary foreign workers at the airport and the aim is to expand that testing to all air travellers passing through the airport.
“It was the province and their contractor that offered the testing here and so we found that was a great way to put our toe in the water to see how testing could work,” she said.
Chase says the aim is to roll out a test facility prior to air travel ramping back up in order to ensure it’s running efficiently and can sustain higher volumes of travellers.
She adds the benefits would also expand beyond just early detection of COVID-19 cases.
“We feel that testing would be an added layer of safety and confidence for the consumer to understand what’s taking place in terms of travellers and what level of COVID may or may not continue to come into our communities,” Chase said.
The results of a new four-month study out of British Columbia suggest the chances of contracting COVID-19 on a domestic flight are greatly reduced when passengers are properly tested before they board a flight.
If they tested positive, they were not permitted to fly that day, pending a lab-confirmed PCR test of their results, and would be rebooked on a future flight at no cost.
Chase says the airport has seen a 90 per cent reduction in air passenger traffic throughout the pandemic.
Chase says all teams and staff participating in the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship were going to be tested when they arrived at the airport but Premier Iain Rankin has since cancelled the tournament.
With files from