Nova Scotia

Temperature screening to be deployed at Halifax airport

Next Wednesday, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will roll out temperature screening stations in the departure sections of 11 airports, including Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Departures area at Halifax Stanfield has been widened to allow for the new stations

Signs for physical distancing are shown in the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Starting Sept. 23, the temperature of travellers will be taken before they board a flight. (Blair Sanderson/CBC)

Travellers flying out of Halifax will soon have their temperature taken before lift off to scan for one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Next Wednesday, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is rolling out temperature screening stations in the departure sections of 11 airports, including Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

All passengers who have a fever (38 C and above), and don't have a medical certificate to explain a condition that would result in an elevated temperature, will not be allowed to continue their travel and will be asked to rebook after 14 days.

Leah Batstone, spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority, said they're happy to have another feature to help ease people's fears and concerns about air travel.

A passenger has his temperature checked as a precaution against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to Vladivostok, Russia, at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in March. (Jon Chol Jin/The Associated Press)

"The airport isn't that busy so keeping physical distance is pretty easy," Batstone said. "As long as everyone is washing their hands and wearing their mask, we're confident that people will be able to travel and feel comfortable."

Batstone said CATSA has increased the space around the departure area where people approach security to allow for the new screening process.

Travellers will pause at the station, have their temperature taken in a contactless way, and can continue from there if they are deemed well enough to travel.

Besides Halifax, the other airports bringing in temperature screening this September are St. John's, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, B.C., and Victoria.

Leah Batstone is spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority. (Blair Sanderson/CBC)

The requirement has already been in place in Canada's four major airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto-Pearson and Montreal since July 30.

In Vancouver, passengers will also soon be able to get a COVID-19 test before boarding some domestic flights.

Travel numbers remain low in Halifax

Batstone said the Halifax airport has been much quieter over the past few months, although business has started to pick up slightly.

In June, travel was down 97 or 95 per cent compared to last year, in July it was down 90 per cent, and 88 per cent in August.

Although there's been an incremental increase, Batstone said they don't expect to see much more activity than August levels until the Atlantic bubble opens up to the rest of Canada.

"It's quite empty inside and it is very different. But, you know, we're still here for people if they have somewhere to go," Batstone said.

With files from Blair Sanderson

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