OTTAWA — The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) released a statement yesterday by President and CEO Mike McNaney concerning the Ontario government’s call for additional measures concerning international travel.
On Jan. 25 and again on Jan. 26 Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government to close Canada’s borders to all incoming air travel, with the exception of Canadians returning home.
“We support Premier Ford’s call today for mandatory testing upon arrival. Throughout the pandemic, we have been very vocal proponents of testing and along with our airport partners have driven the launch of testing programs at major airports to support the development of a clear federal testing strategy that is science-based and tied to quarantine and border measures,” says McNaney.
“As the federal government noted today, an extraordinary small number of cases are due to international travel. It also must be noted that while concerns have been raised about pending winter travel, since last winter break service internationally has been cut by 90% or more and domestic service overall has been cut by more than 80%.
“In this context, layering on a second test upon arrival in addition to contact tracing, and enforcement of public health measures, negates the need to adopt ‘mandatory quarantine hotels’ as public health data shows that approximately 99% of positive COVID cases are not travel related.
“Testing on arrival provides a highly effective platform to successfully identify and manage any travel related cases, as has been proven through the Alberta International Border Testing Pilot Program and the study conducted at Toronto Pearson International Airport by McMaster HealthLabs, the largest of its kind in the world.
“While governments at all levels continue to recognize the need for aviation to continue to operate, we cannot do so without passengers. As additional measures continue to be considered, we need the federal government to engage with industry and labour on the development of such measures.
“As the crisis in aviation deepens, the federal government must move rapidly to provide sectoral support to the industry – we remain the only G7 nation that has not provided targeted support yet the federal government routinely expresses disappointment and frustration when services are cut as carriers try to remain viable.
McNaney finishes by saying: “As we face potentially irreparable damage, the government needs to address sectoral support immediately so that carriers can play the role they must play in supporting the hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and the economy that are impacted by aviation, and continue to support supply chains.”