Ottawa, January 26, 2021 – The National Airlines Council of Canada, representing Canada’s largest national and international airlines (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet), released the following statement by President and CEO Mike McNaney concerning the Ontario government’s call for additional measures concerning international travel.

“We support Premier Ford’s call today for mandatory testing upon arrival.  Throughout the pandemic, we have been very vocal proponents of testing and along with our airport partners have driven the launch of testing programs at major airports to support the development of a clear federal testing strategy that is science-based and tied to quarantine and border measures.

As the federal government noted today, an extraordinary small number of cases are due to international travel.  It also must be noted that while concerns have been raised about pending winter travel, since last winter break service internationally has been cut by 90% or more and domestic service overall has been cut by more than 80%.  In this context, layering on a second test upon arrival in addition to contact tracing, and enforcement of public health measures negates the need to adopt “mandatory quarantine hotels” as public health data shows that approximately 99% of positive COVID cases are not travel related.  Testing on arrival provides a highly effective platform to successfully identify and manage any travel related cases, as has been proven through the Alberta International Border Testing Pilot Program and the study conducted at Toronto Pearson International Airport by McMaster HealthLabs, the largest of its kind in the world.

While governments at all levels continue to recognize the need for aviation to continue to operate, we cannot do so without passengers.  As additional measures continue to be considered, we need the federal government to engage with industry and labour on the development of such measures.

As the crisis in aviation deepens, the federal government must move rapidly to provide sectoral support to the industry – we remain the only G7 nation that has not provided targeted support yet the federal government routinely expresses disappointment and frustration when services are cut as carriers try to remain viable.  As we face potentially irreparable damage, the government needs to address sectoral support immediately so that carriers can play the role they must play in supporting the hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and the economy that are impacted by aviation, and continue to support supply chains.”

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;; Telephone:  613.231.7223 ext. 104.