OTTAWA, Ontario–(GlobalreleaseWire)–The Canadian Airports Council, which represents 54 major Canadian airports, today welcomes a new set of recommendations for testing and border measures from a government-appointed expert panel of physicians. The CAC urges the federal government to work with industry quickly to put the recommendations into action in an operationally practical way.
The report, issued by the Health Canada-appointed Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel of physicians, makes recommendations for continued testing and quarantine measures for international travellers, with differentiated treatment of travellers based on vaccination status. It would hopefully streamline border processing times for passengers as travel restarts in a safe manner, while protecting Canadians.
“Canada’s airports appreciate the work of the expert panel over the past few months to gather scientific evidence on the effectiveness of measures in Canada and elsewhere,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. “A sustainable approach, which can handle growing traveller volumes as more Canadians are vaccinated and begin travelling again, is essential to a swift recovery of Canada’s air sector, and the hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs dependent on international trade and the visitor economy.”
Several of the recommendations, including eliminating the hotel quarantine and provisions on arrivals testing, could be implemented in a way that would alleviate crowding while supporting growing traveller volumes.
“Given continued arrivals PCR testing over an extended period of time is prominent in the Expert Panel recommendations, ensuring testing can be done effectively and efficiently remains a focus of Canada’s airports. Allowing testing to be completed at the travellers’ quarantine location instead of the airport, as the report suggests, would be a big improvement for travellers and alleviate airport crowding,” said Mr. Gooch.
Two primary concerns of airports that were out of scope for the panel but must be addressed are 1) The 2-metre physical distancing requirement within terminals, and 2) Funneling of international travellers to just four airports. Even with international traveller volumes at just five per cent of pre-pandemic levels at the four airports, managing capacity has been a challenge. Allowing masked-travellers to be spaced at 1-metre apart, such as is in place in Europe, and fly directly to their destination, would allow for a more manageable traffic flow as volumes increase.
“Ultimately, we need a plan from the federal government, and an official overall roadmap for restart,” said Mr. Gooch. “Canada’s airports are eager to engage quickly with the Government of Canada on developing this plan, so that it is informed by the industry’s operational insight on the most effective ways to put these recommendations into action.”
About the Canadian Airports Council
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.
Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets. In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.