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.
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.
Trudeau says the government is working carefully on these new travel measures because our country relies heavily on trade and supply chains and they don't want unintended consequences of any new measures. Points out many passenger planes carry commercial goods as well #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) January 26, 2021
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.
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.