Air Canada has announced a collaboration with Shoppers Drug Mart to provide travellers with pre-flight COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.
Beginning on December 7, Air Canada customers in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia will be able to book a COVID-19 test at participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations. Results will typically be available within 24-48 hours, Air Canada says.
The test will be available for customers flying to a destination that requires a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test, according to the airline. This includes Hawaii, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Antigua and Barbuda, and St-Lucia.
All appointment bookings and payment will be accepted through the accredited testing lab’s online portal.
In order to be tested, you must have an upcoming flight and not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
In addition, you also can not have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days, had the virus yourself within the last 30 days, or been in contact with someone else who has the virus in the last 14 days.
“We are pleased to facilitate this process for our customers, making their travel experience easier and safer,” said Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada’s Chief Medical Officer.
“We believe that testing is one of the keys to protecting employees and customers, and an important step to safely reopen travel around the world.”
Air Canada says Canadians who receive a negative pre-travel test are exempt from Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine. The airline begins service from Vancouver to Hawaii on December 17 and from Calgary to Hawaii on December 18.
Earlier this month, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said that reports of virus transmission on airplanes are “extremely rare.”
“The aircraft, or conveyance, itself is probably not where the transmission is necessarily occurring,” Dr. Theresa Tam said.
Air Canada previously partnered with McMaster University to test travellers upon arrival at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.
Following the completion of the study in October, the airline proposed that the test-based strategy was a safe alternative to Canada’s mandatory two-week quarantine.