“The government has been stating for months that it is working on a vital support package for Canada’s airlines,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President, The Americas.
“It has failed to deliver thus far. Other governments see the need for financial support as an investment in economic recovery and have supported the industry with US$173 billion. Canada has some of the most draconian COVID-19 measures which have essentially shut down most air connectivity and put the sector in a tailspin.”
According to IATA, the biggest hurdles in stimulating international air traffic are border closures and quarantines, both of which Ottawa extended to 21JAN, 2021. The trade association urges the Canadian government to provide financial support to airlines, to reopen borders to international travellers and to replace the 14-day quarantine requirement with testing.
“In addition to financial support, the government needs a plan to re-connect Canadians internally and to the world. Quarantines kill demand for air travel and destroy jobs across the travel and tourism sector. COVID-19 testing for travel would keep Canadians safe and save jobs,” said Cerdá.
A Healthy Air Transport Sector Is Critical
According to IATA’s Value of Air Transport Report, in 2019 aviation contributed CA$51.4 billion to Canada’s annual GDP. Spending by foreign tourists supported another CA$16.7 billion of GDP, making a combined contribution of CA$68.1 billion.
In total, 3.2% of the country’s GDP was supported by the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.
“The government needs a plan to support this critical sector. At the same time its value in linking people, supporting jobs and delivering goods—like vaccines—has never been more crucial,” said Cerdá.