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An airport gate is shown with very few passengers due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

Airport studies demonstrate effectiveness of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing

Airports are perhaps the most ideal settings for rapid antigen testing. Traveling during the best of times can be an uneasy experience, but during the pandemic everyone is on high alert. Is that a tickle in my throat?  Am I sick?  Is the person beside me sick?  Can I trust that every passenger on this plane is COVID free?  What about the flight attendants?  And the questions go on. 

Widely used at airports, antigen tests could provide safer environments and peace of mind for passengers. 

In April, WestJet and Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) released the findings of a study they jointly conducted on domestic departing passengers over a four month period. 600 passengers were tested with rapid antigen tests. All passengers tested negative, and those tests were later confirmed by a laboratory PCR test. 

According to YVR, “participant feedback was resoundingly positive, with many saying the procedure was efficient, more comfortable than expected and instilled confidence about the safety of their travels. The research team found the test itself took approximately 15 to 20 minutes, resulting in minimal disruption to the overall travel experience.”

In March, Toronto Pearson (YYZ) made rapid antigen tests available to departing passengers and employees as part of a 10-week study they are conducting on the efficacy of antigen tests.  

Stay tuned for results.