Major Canadian airlines acknowledge the change but much more needs to be done for safe restart of travel

Ottawa, June 9, 2021 – Canada’s major airlines noted today’s announcement by the federal government that in early July it will allow fully vaccinated Canadians to be exempt from hotel quarantine, and to end their quarantine upon receipt of a negative molecular test result on arrival.  However the industry cautioned that Canada still desperately needs a clear restart plan for international travel, based on data and science-based recommendations put forth by the federal government’s own expert advisory panel.

“Easing quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians is an initial step in the right direction for the safe restart of our economy, but it falls far short of the recommendations provided by Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel report released on May 27”, said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Canada’s largest airlines (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation, and WestJet).

The Health Canada Advisory Panel report, prepared by experts in epidemiology, virology as well as advanced data analytics, is a data and science-based review that calls for a variety of changes to travel and border measures including elimination of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, elimination of hotel quarantine for all travellers, reduction of quarantine for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, and the use of rapid antigen testing.  Today’s announcement by federal Ministers did not address any of those measures nor provide a timeframe in which the government will move forward on the recommendations.

The Panel report also recognized the need to achieve consistency within Canada concerning provincial travel measures and restrictions, and for the government to establish a verification system for testing and vaccination results.  The federal government needs to provide the public and industry with a clear understanding of work underway and timeframes for further action on both of these fronts.

“Unlike many other countries including all other G7 nations, the federal government has yet to provide a clear restart plan outlining when and how major travel and border restrictions will be removed.   As vaccination programs increase rapidly and jurisdictions around the world provide consumers and industry with a clear path forward, we must do the same. Countries that successfully implement a science and data – based testing and quarantine policy will not only protect public health, they will also drive their overall domestic recovery and take jobs and investment from countries that do not.   We must get moving now”, concluded McNaney.

About the National Airlines Council of Canada:

The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers:  Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.  It promotes safe, sustainable and competitive air travel by advocating for the development of policies, regulations and legislation to foster a world-class transportation system.  Collectively, its member airlines carry over 80 million passengers annually, directly employ over 60,000 people and are a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector which supports more than 630,000 jobs.

For media requests, please contact Francesca Iacurto, Senior Director, Public Affairs, National Airlines Council of Canada; Fiacurto@airlinecouncil.ca; Telephone:  613.231.7223 ext. 104