Ottawa, ON, June 9, 2021. Today’s announcement by the federal government of new border requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents is a move in the right direction, Canada’s airports say. But airports are disappointed the new measures do not more fully incorporate the recommendations of Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel report “Priority strategies to optimize testing and quarantine at Canada’s borders” and that there is still no plan for the restart of air travel.
“Canada urgently needs a plan to end hotel quarantines for all vaccinated international travellers, and an end to the funneling of international flights to just four airports,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. “We also need the government to engage with industry on how travellers will be treated based on vaccination levels in future phases, in order for airports and our industry partners to properly plan, and progress on digital health certificates.”
The CAC supports the May 27th recommendations of Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel of physicians, which called for the elimination of quarantine for vaccinated travellers and the end of the three-day hotel quarantine requirement. Airports also support panel’s recommendations on arrivals testing being implemented through take-home tests, to alleviate crowding while supporting growing traveller volumes.
“We know there is pent-up demand for travel across Canada and for tourists looking to visit Canada this summer,” said Mr. Gooch. “Without a national plan for safely reopening our borders, Canada’s tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors will be left behind while other countries are actively prioritizing the revival of their visitor economies.”
Two primary concerns of airports that were out of scope for the panel but must be addressed are 1) The 2-metre physical distancing requirement within terminals, and 2) Funneling of international travellers to just four airports. Even with international traveller volumes at just five per cent of pre-pandemic levels at the four airports, managing capacity has been a challenge. Allowing masked-travellers to be spaced at 1-metre apart, such as is in place in Europe, and fly directly to their destination, would allow for a more manageable traffic flow as volumes increase.
“Ultimately, we still need a plan from the federal government, and an official overall roadmap for restart given increasing vaccination rates across Canada and around the world,” said Mr. Gooch. “As we said two weeks ago when the federal government’s expert panel of physicians’ recommendations were made public, Canada’s airports are eager to engage quickly with the Government of Canada on developing this plan, so that it is informed by the industry’s operational insights on the most effective ways to put these recommendations into action.”
About the Canadian Airports Council
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.
Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets. In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.
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