TORONTO — Airlines and travel and tourism groups are all cheering the federal government’s decision to lift Canada’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including requirements for wearing masks on aircraft, testing and quarantine, and the compulsory use of ArriveCan,
As reported yesterday, all of Canada’s remaining COVID-19 requirements and mandates will be eliminated effective Oct.1, 2022.
Here’s what airlines and industry groups are saying …
“Air Canada welcomes the removal of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science. We believe it will greatly facilitate travel, help to continue stabilizing the country’s air transport sector and support Canada’s economy. Customers and crew will still have the option to wear masks and we also encourage customers to monitor their own health to be sure they feel well and fit to travel,” said Craig Landry, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada.
“While today’s announcement is a positive step, we urge the government not to lose momentum. Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining the air transport system in Canada and to enact further reforms. This includes improving processes, such as security and customs at airports, developing new trusted traveller programs, deploying new technologies and, more fundamentally, re-examining the user-pay model that finances air transportation in Canada, whose weaknesses and interdependencies were exposed by COVID.”
“We are relieved our guests can finally travel with additional confidence and certainty, knowing they can make decisions that are the best for them, and their travel plans won’t be interrupted,” said WestJet Group CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.
WestJet has been among the most vocal proponents of dropping the mask requirement, saying that mask compliance continues to be a major factor in disruptive behaviour onboard its aircraft.
“Canada Jetlines applauds the Canadian Government’s decision to remove COVID border measures,” says Eddy Doyle, CEO of Canada Jetlines. “This is a critical step for inbound and outbound travel and tourism in Canada. We appreciate the difficult decisions that needed to be made to ensure the safety of Canadians over the last two years. We are confident that this very important move will align Canada with many other countries around the world and will contribute to economic growth, job creation and free movement.”
THE CANADIAN TRAVEL AND TOURISM ROUNDTABLE
“Ensuring the safety of travellers has always been a priority for the travel and tourism industry. The Roundtable has long advocated for the removal of these measures as they were not rooted in science and were inconsistent with rules governing all other community activities.
“Today’s announcement is aligned with the findings Evaluating Canada’s Pandemic Border and Travel Policies: Lessons Learned authored by four esteemed infectious diseases doctors. The findings were clear: the federal government’s border measures should not be re-deployed for future Variants of Concerns. As such, the Roundtable continues to encourage the federal government to follow the science and avoid using these tactics in the future.”
TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
“For many months, we have been unequivocal in calling on the federal government to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on travel and ensure Canada’s global competitiveness in tourism,” says TIAC President & CEO Beth Potter. “We have been tireless in our efforts advocating on behalf of our members and the broader industry as we work to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
“We are heartened the Government of Canada has heeded our calls, after two long, difficult and devastating years for our industry,” Potter adds. “We are now focused on rebuilding tourism back to the $105 billion economic powerhouse it was pre-pandemic.”
CANADIAN AIRPORTS COUNCIL
“The aviation industry was hard hit over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been forced to operate under a complicated and constantly shifting series of restrictions and regulations for over two years,” said CAC President, Monette Pasher.
“We are very pleased that our members and industry partners will soon be back to normal operations and can focus on providing safe and reliable air travel experiences to Canadians and those wishing to visit our country. This decision will also help our industry get back on track to becoming a globally competitive one, which will improve our tourism and travel industry overall.”