Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, has released Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19, which is the foundation for Canada’s current and future efforts to reduce the public health risks of COVID-19 while travelling by aircraft.
The measures apply to all aspects of air travel, from airport to aircraft, and include protocols like travel restrictions, mandatory face masks and temperature checks, restricted services and enhanced sanitation practices.
Air Canada, WestJet, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and the Vancouver Airport Authority have issued a joint statement of support for Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19, saying they see the Flight Plan as “a major step forward in restarting Canada’s air travel industry by confirming the country’s biosafety standards”.
The statement seizes the opportunity to state the Flight Plan document is “a clear endorsement” of the biosafety programs they already have in place. In jointly issuing a statement of support, the underlying message to the government is clear: we are following the rules and therefore it’s safe to relax government travel restrictions and allow a key economic driver to restart.
“By aligning the Canadian aviation sector with best international practices for customer health and safety, the Government of Canada has now established the necessary science-based preconditions that assure customers of the highest levels of safety for air travel and for reopening Canadian aviation across provinces and to the world,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada.
“Our Air Canada CleanCare+ program encompasses the measures recommended in Flight Plan and, as part of our evolving layered approach to biosafety, we remain committed to working with governments and other stakeholders to continue strengthening biosafety for all travellers. This is an important step to enabling business and the economy to safely restart alongside COVID-19, particularly the airline industry, which is a key economic driver.”
Ed Sims, president and CEO of WestJet, said, “Safety has always been above all at WestJet and we welcome the implementation of Flight Plan. We remain committed to working with the Government of Canada to ensure all protocols are consistent with the best practices and advice available to us from around the world.
The four companies say they will continue to work with the Government of Canada to ensure the aviation transportation sector can safely advance and continue its critical role in the country’s economic recovery.
Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19
The action plan puts in place a “multi-layered” system of safety measures to support public health by protecting air travellers and aviation workers from COVID-19. The Government of Canada says it has collaborated with public health authorities, air industry partners and counterparts around the world to develop new global safety standards and internationally implemented best practices.
“In keeping with the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and quarantine measures around the world, Transport Canada is committed to supporting the restart of the aviation network in a way that continues to support the health, safety, and security of all Canadians first and foremost,” notes Transport Canada in the document.
Travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements continue to be in effect. Noting that such factors have an impact on the aviation sector’s operations, the government said it is “working with all partners to find solutions to these challenges that will result in a resilient Canadian aviation system for the future”, including exploring “health corridors”, whereby countries ease restrictions and quarantine requirements for travellers from countries with a public health environment similar to their own.
- Travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine for all incoming travellers and contact-tracing processes;
- mandatory use of face masks for passengers and crew;
- mandatory health checks by air carriers prior to passenger boarding;
- temperature screening at Canadian’s busiest airports and at points of origin for all incoming flights to Canada;
- restricted services and passenger movement during flights;
- and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols and practices.
In airports, protocols include:
- enhanced air conditioning and filtration systems;
- frequent cleaning of high-touch areas;
- new touchless technologies to scan boarding passes;
- and physical distancing measures.
Transport Canada notes that to date, it is not aware of any cases attributed to passenger-to-passenger transmission on a flight to or from Canada.
Click here to read Transport Canada’s Flight Plan measures in full.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.