The industry organizations representing North America’s major airlines today called on the Canadian government to release a clear plan for the restart of the Canada – U.S. aviation transborder market, which includes exempting fully vaccinated passengers from quarantine.
In a joint letter to senior Canadian Ministers, Mike McNaney President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) and Nick Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), write that “As vaccination rates increase exponentially in both countries, and provincial governments release their restart plans, now is the time for the federal government to engage immediately with airlines to deliver a clear roadmap and timeline to reopen the air border.”
“Recently, other countries have published their restart strategies and announced the reopening of international markets where safe. The United Kingdom released its recovery plan for aviation and international travel in April and the first stage of opening began on May 17,” their letter states. “The European Council is recommending that Member States adjust their travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the EU without requiring quarantine, an approach various EU Member States have already adopted. These policy changes are based on science-based analysis provided by government health authorities including the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
“We understand that you share our ambition to reopen this vital trade and travel artery between our two countries safely. Considering the above, and given the reopening occurring globally, we ask that you and your team engage immediately with the airline industry to create a plan, drawing on the Panel report, that will clearly spell out how and when we will restart air travel between Canada and the U.S., with the objective of releasing the plan prior to June 21,” Calio and McNaney said.
Supporting the use of a data and science-based approach, the NACC and A4A believe the transborder restart plan must be based on the recommendations put forth last week in a report by the Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel launched by Health Canada. The Panel report, prepared by experts in epidemiology, virology as well as advanced data analytics, calls for a variety of changes to Canadian border and travel policy including elimination of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, elimination of hotel quarantine for all travellers, and reduction of quarantine for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
Noting that other jurisdictions began releasing restart plans for international flights in April and that reopening transborder air travel is essential for the economic recovery of both countries, the letter calls for the Canadian government to release the re-start plan before June 21, when the current border restrictions are scheduled to be renewed.
Collectively the NACC and A4A represent North America’s major commercial passenger airlines including Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, jetBlue, Southwest, and United. In addition to the transborder market, the NACC continues to also call on the Canadian government to move forward with a re-start strategy for international travel overall.