NACC, A4A want a transborder plan before June 21; vaccine passport pressure

OTTAWA — The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) and Airlines for America (A4A) have teamed up to send a clear message to the Canadian government: there needs to be a plan, now, for the restart of the Canada – U.S. aviation transborder market.

The NACC’s President and CEO Mike McNaney and A4A’s President and CEO Nick Calio sent the joint letter to senior Canadian Ministers.

The letter reads: “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. We believe this work should be completed and announced before June 21, when the existing Canadian border measures are set to potentially be renewed.”

Supporting the use of a data and science-based approach, the NACC and A4A say they believe the transborder restart plan must be based on the recommendations outlined last week in a report by the Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel launched by Health Canada. 

As the joint letter notes, the panel’s 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.

The panel’s report, available here, says border measures “must evolve to reflect the experience gained and the global situation regarding VoCs [variants of concern] and vaccination.” 

So far the federal government has given no indications that any of Canada’s travel restrictions will be eased or, in the case of the hotel quarantine, eliminated. And effective today, June 4, the fine for hotel quarantine dodgers increases to $5,000.

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 joint letter from the NACC and A4A calls for the Canadian government to release the re-start plan before June 21, when the current border restrictions are scheduled to be renewed.

 

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