Industry Underscores Need for Government Engagement on Testing and Recovery Strategy

 Ottawa, February 12, 2021 – Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Canada’s largest national and international carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet), issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the federal government that new quarantine and testing upon arrival measures will take effect as of February 22, 2021.

“As the government introduces the new testing and hotel quarantine measures for international arriving passengers, it is important to note that due to ongoing travel restrictions and border measures, as well as ongoing steps by Canada’s major carriers to suspend large segments of international service, international arrivals to Canada are down between 90% to 95% compared to January 2020 according to Statistics Canada data released today.

As the new measures come into force, it is critical that the government engage with the industry to develop, for April 30th, a truly robust and effective testing strategy based on science and that is tied to quarantine and border restrictions.  These are necessary pre-conditions for the eventual safe, phased re-opening of aviation.  Countries that successfully implement a science-based and data – based testing and quarantine policy will not only protect public health but also drive their overall domestic recovery, and take market share, investment and jobs from those countries that do not.

On January 28th the Prime Minister noted that the federal government is committed to working with major airlines on the future relationship between testing and quarantine requirements to enable safe, gradual return to international air travel.  We look forward to working with the government to meet the Prime Minister’s objective.”

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