A pilot project for rapid novel coronavirus tests is coming to Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport later this month.
The expedited screening process, which takes about 15 minutes, will be offered for a fee of $149 to travellers heading to France, which has tight controls in place at the border and requires people provide negative COVID-19 test results in order to enter the country.
The Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), the regional flight authority, and Biron Health Group teamed up to launch the pilot project as the pandemic continues and impacts travel across the world.
The rapid test is a nasal swab that will be offered over an eight-week period at the airport starting Dec. 15.
Philippe Rainville, president and CEO of ADM, said in a statement Monday that the trial marks a step forward in safe air travel and “improves procedures already in place.”
It will only be offered to passengers who are boarding Air Canada, a partner in the project, to France. The tests will also be offered Air France, KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines and Air Transat flights.
Those who are interested in taking the test must make an appointment in advance.
Dr. Jim Chung, chief medical officer for Air Canada, said in a statement that rapid screening is “an effective and responsible alternative that facilitates the safe relaxation of global travel restrictions and quarantine measures while protecting the health and safety of the travelling public.”
However, travellers who do choose to participate in the rapid screening strategy must still quarantine upon their return to Canada.
The pilot project is not the first of its kind in Canada. In Alberta, Edmonton International Airport launched a saliva rapid-response test trial period in the fall. As part of a joint project, expedited tests are also offered at Calgary International Airport to international travellers in lieu of a two-week quarantine.
Montreal’s regional flight authority says it is already in talks to eventually the offer rapid-test screening to more passengers.
— With files from Global News’ Caley Ramsay and Melissa Gilligan
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