Airports and airlines unanimously applauded Ottawa’s move to eliminate all remaining restrictions on travel in and into Canada, with most linking the move to the long road to industry recovery.
President of the Canadian Airports Council, Monette Pasher, issued a statement saying, “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.
“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.”
Federal government regulations during the pandemic put airlines in the position of having to monitor the vaccination and test status of pax intending to fly in and into Canada, as well as enforce masking mandates, adding operational stresses on an already-fragile recovery. Now all restrictions are being removed effective 01OCT, airlines joined Canada's airports in indicating they can turn focus to restoring efficient operations and consumer confidence in air travel.
Air Canada today welcomed the Government of Canada's decision to lift the remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
"Air Canada welcomes the removal of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science,” said Craig Landry, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada. “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."
He also noted that while the announcement is a positive step, he urged 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,” said Landry.
Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group’s CEO, sees the change in policy as a positive move as well. In a statement, he said: “Throughout the pandemic, WestJet has advocated for health and safety measures that were grounded in science and data and were consistent with all consumer activities. Today’s announcement aligns with the travel policies of other major nations, reflects our industry’s outstanding commitment to safety, and recognizes that air travel is no less safe than any other consumer activity.”
He also noted: “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.”
Recently launched Canada Jetlines called Ottawa’s move “a critical step” for the air industry. The new airline’s CEO, Eddy Doyle said, “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.”