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Canada's airlines want feds to consult with industry before any additional travel restrictions

FILE (iStock Photo)

Canada's airlines are asking the federal government to consult with them before any new travel measures are brought in

National Airlines Council of Canada wants proper dialogue with government before restrictions are enacted

Council representing Canadian airlines says it would support some measures but not all

OTTAWA – Canada’s largest airlines want the federal government to consult the industry before enacting any strict new COVID-19 travel measures, which could be announced soon.

The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents companies like Air Canada and WestJet, wants a proper dialogue with the federal government before any restrictions are brought in, saying international air traffic to Canada dropped 93 per cent in November, and that air travel is not a significant source of COVID-19 transmission.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not say what his government is planning, only that an announcement is coming in days.

“Whatever it takes to keep Canadians safe,” he said, noting nothing was off the table.

“We will not hesitate to take even tougher measures if and when they’re needed and we’ll be making an announcement in the coming days. The bad choices of a few will never be allowed to put everyone else in danger,” the prime minister said.

The airline council is also urging the federal government to bring in specific industry support, noting tens of thousands of workers have already been laid off.

The government says those talks continue and supports are dependent on airlines providing full refunds to those who have had to cancel travel plans due to the pandemic

In addition to current self-isolation measures, anyone coming into the country now must show proof of a negative PCR test before they even get on a plane.

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While it’s unclear what new travel measures may entail, reports have suggested forcing returning travellers to quarantine for two weeks at their own expense in a government-designated hotel is among the options being considered.

The council says it would support measures like mandatory testing on arrival but not new quarantine rules forcing isolation in hotels.