Thursday,  March 4, 2021  12:30 am

Ottawa's engagement with industry "critical" as travel restrictions tighten: NACC

Ottawa's engagement with industry "critical" as travel restrictions tighten: NACC
The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

As tougher travel restrictions take effect in Canada, it is important that the government engages with the travel industry to develop an effective testing strategy in time for April, says Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC). 

Last month, Air Canada, WestJet, Transat and Sunwing, in consultation with the Government of Canada, suspended all operations to the Caribbean and Mexico until April 30, 2021.

On Friday (Feb. 12), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that new quarantine and testing upon arrival measures will take effect as of Feb. 22, 2021.

The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet).

READ MORE: Ottawa outlines new land/air restrictions; day 10 PCR test now required

Due to the government’s increased testing and hotel quarantine measures, international arrivals to Canada are down between 90% to 95% compared to January 2020, according to Statistics Canada, McNaney noted.  

“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,” McNaney said.

“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.”

The Prime Minister has previously noted that his government is committed to working with airlines on the future relationship between testing and quarantine requirements to enable a safe, gradual return to international air travel.

“We look forward to working with the government to meet the Prime Minister’s objective,” McNaney said.

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