Now is just not the time to be flying, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday as he announced Canada’s major airlines will suspend flights to sun destinations.
“Canada’s air carriers are stepping up to protect Canadians,” said Trudeau. “The government and Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away.”
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat are cancelling service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting Jan. 31 and up until April 30. Those airlines are making arrangements with customers currently in those regions to organize their return flights.
“I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat in making this commitment and for being such strong partners in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” Trudeau said.
On top of the flight cancellations, the federal government is putting in place additional measures at airports. Starting next week, all international passenger flights must land only in four Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
Furthermore, in addition to the pre-boarding tests already in place, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. Travellers will then have to wait for up to three days for results at an approved hotel at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000, said Trudeau
Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement
Those with positive results will be required to immediately quarantine in designated government facilities to ensure they aren’t carrying variants of potential concern.
“With all of the challenges we currently face with COVID-19 both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” said Trudeau. “By putting in place these tough measures now, we can all look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations.”
Also, in the coming weeks, the federal government will be requiring non-essential travellers to show negative test results at the land borders with the U.S.
Additional testing requirements will also be announced.