WestJet extends schedule reductions through end of March

WestJet, Swoop team up with AZOVA for on-the-go testing kits

CALGARY — WestJet and Swoop have expanded their COVID-19 testing program with AZOVA to offer easy-to-use self-testing options for any destination with pre-entry PCR requirements.

The airlines say the kits will boost confidence for travellers booking holiday getaways.

AZOVA offers rapid molecular self-administered testing options (including an at-home RT-LAMP test, called the Lucira Check-It COVID-19 test kit) with video proctoring services that allow for testing and validation certificates. Passengers can take these tests from home, or bring them along to any destination to meet the Government of Canada’s pre-entry PCR test requirements for their return home.

Plus, with AZOVA’s app-based program, WestJet and Swoop passengers have access to a network of approved testing locations across Canada and the majority of WestJet transborder and international destinations.

When booking flights for travel outside Canada, passengers can visit the AZOVA website and select their destination to understand what testing is required and can either book and in person test through AZOVA’s comprehensive lab network, or order the self-administered testing kits, where applicable.

All COVID testing requirements are available through azova.com/westjetswoop/.

AZOVA’s COVID-19 testing services meet entry requirements for each destination and enable travellers to take self-administered or in-person tests prior to departure.

“As many of our guests look to book holiday travel outside Canada for the first time in almost two years, it’s critical that we provide our guests with the peace of mind knowing that all the COVID testing requirements they will face throughout their journey can be conveniently booked, conducted and stored in the AZOVA app,” said Dr. Tammy McKnight, WestJet’s Chief Medical Officer.

“We’ve heard from our guests that pre-departure testing, and entry requirements are confusing, complex and inconsistent. We are confident that AZOVA’s easy-to-use self-testing options and network of testing locations will give guests the confidence they need to plan their next flight or vacation,” she added.

“COVID testing requirements can be overwhelming and confusing with different requirements for every destination. AZOVA provides an end to end and seamless solution to enable guests to quickly identify what test is needed for any destination and to quickly purchase or schedule the tests that are needed anywhere in the world through a single application. We are thrilled to be working with WestJet and Swoop to bring this solution to guests and travellers everywhere,” said Cheryl Lee Eberting, MD, CEO and Founder of AZOVA.

Once passengers have received their test results, says Eberting, they can enter their AZOVA Credential ID into the AZOVA WestJet and Swoop site and receive a travel clearance on the AZOVA app for their destination. “You can simply show your travel clearance at the gate with no paperwork and no confusing forms required,” she said.

In addition to availability in Canada, AZOVA also offers the Lucira Check-It COVID-19 test kit to be purchased and delivered to your destination in the U.S.

Self-administered tests can be purchased at azova.com/westjetswoop/at-home/.

WESTJET’S BIOMETRIC TRUSTED BOARDING TRIALS

In other WestJet news, the airline has partnered with TELUS for trials of a new process called Trusted Boarding, a touchless service that uses safe and secure facial verification technology to verify travellers’ identity prior to boarding a flight.

The first-of-its-kind trial began yesterday at Calgary International Airport.

“The travel experience is evolving to include many touchless processes and WestJet is innovating to ensure our guests’ travel journey improves to become more seamless and efficient, while prioritizing safety above all,” said Stuart McDonald, Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer. “The Trusted Boarding trial is a union between technology and WestJet that would in the future help our agents and our guests with contactless document validation.”

Trial passengers boarded WestJet flight 8901 through facial verification with their digital identity wallet on Embross’ Canadian made biometric hardware and boarding application at Gate 88. The trial marked the first step towards the implementation of the technology as WestJet works with the Government of Canada to seek full approval for its use as a safe and secure alternative for future WestJet boarding at Canadian airports.

A recent IATA study suggests that airline passengers are in favour of using biometrics to speed up processes and eliminate queuing post-pandemic.

As reported last week, according to IATA’s 2021 Global Passenger Survey, 73% of passengers are willing to share their biometric data to improve airport processes (up from 46% in 2019).