REGINA -- The Regina airport is pushing for a COVID-19 testing pilot project. Rapid testing of arriving international travellers has become a requirement at major airports, but is not yet in place at smaller airports with a domestic focus.

“This way we can confirm if you have COVID, you can be screened out and if you don’t have COVID, you can go along and take care of your travels,” said Regina Airport CEO James Bogusz.

The federal government has supplied millions of rapid tests to provinces, most have gone largely unused. Saskatchewan has found use for only 2 per cent of the 400,000 kits sent from Ottawa. 

“We have had some early discussion with the provincial government and we’re certainly going to carry those discussions on encouraging maybe a pilot project here at YQR in the future,” said Bogusz. 

Airlines are anxious for measures that could aide essential travel. Luc Arsenault is a furloughed pilot with a major airline. 

“Rapid testing has been given a miss by the federal government, even though the airlines have seen tremendous value in it. So what we’re looking for is a more structured approach,” said Luc Arsenault, who is a furloughed pilot with a major airline. 

“We would like if the Canadian government would treat the airline industry as a valuable partner in the policy making rather than pointing the finger at us as part of the problem.”

In a statement, the province said, “While the Ministry of Health is not engaged in any pilot project to offer rapid treats at the Regina airport, the ministry is supportive of efforts to make testing more accessible to the public.”