COVID-19 testing opens to travellers at the Edmonton airport

The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) has expanded its new COVID-19 testing program to include travellers.

For a fee, travellers can now access a rapid antigen test or a PCR test on site.

"We want people to feel confident that when they're coming to the airport and they're travelling, that we are doing everything around us to take care," Steve Maybee, with EIA operations and infrastructure, told CTV News Edmonton Thursday.

At the end of March, the airport started a pilot project offering rapid tests to front-line airport workers.

The same company doing those tests – Numi Health Inc. – is now offering tests to travellers.

"They need to check on where they're travelling to, what that country or destination's requirements are," said Maybee, "and what that airline requires to know for what type of test they need before they travel."

Airport officials said the rapid tests provide results within 30 minutes while the PCR tests must be sent to a lab with results emailed within 48 hours.

Tests can be booked online. The rapid test costs $99 while the PCR test costs $195.

TRAVELLERS PRAISE PROGRAM

Several travellers CTV News Edmonton spoke with gave the idea high marks.

"It's convenient to have COVID testing in the airport," said a traveller named Mitch. "It also reduces the risk of someone getting on a flight if they test positive."

Another traveller named Kelly said he definitely plans to use it.

"I think it’s great because if you’re going on a trip and they require you to be tested it’s just nice to know you don’t get there and they quarantine you," Kelly said.

TRYING TO GET BACK TO NORMAL

EIA officials said compared to pre-pandemic numbers, they are still seeing at least 6,000 fewer passengers a day.

This new testing program is one of many ways airports across the country are trying to make air travel safer.

"We have to figure out what tools work, which ones are effective, and be able to scale up as we get back to some normal travel," said Maybee.

Numi Health is already providing the same services at the Calgary airport.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson