Air Canada says it is working with Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa-based biotechnology company, to deploy portable and quick Covid-19 tests in the aviation industry.

Spartan says its portable Covid-19 testing device, called the Spartan Cube, is the world’s smallest DNA analyser. Samples are collected with a non-invasive swab, and results are delivered in less than an hour. Air Canada says this device is still subject to Canada’s healthcare regulator’s approval.

“We believe the availability of a rapid, accurate, portable molecular test for Covid-19 will add yet another effective layer. We are excited by the potential and point of care use cases for the Spartan Cube, and look forward to working with the Spartan team in the weeks and months ahead,” said Samuel Elfassy, vice president, safety at Air Canada.

The airline says Spartan is developing a proprietary swab for the collection of DNA samples for its Covid-19 test.

“Spartan is excited to explore how our fast, portable testing technology can help keep Air Canada employees and the travelling public safe as Canada’s economy re-opens,” said Nick Noreau, Spartan Bioscience’s chief revenue officer.

In April, Emirates became the first airline to conduct on-site rapid Covid-19 tests for passengers. Passengers on a flight to Tunisia were all tested for Covid-19 via a blood test before departing from Dubai.

Emirates conducts first on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers