By John Flett
Further 8 Canadian Airports to Receive International Arrivals from Nov. 30
In a further easing of travel restrictions, the Canadaian government has announced that an additional eight of the country’s airports can receive international travellers from Nov. 30. Those joining the 10 airports currently receiving international arrivals will be St. John’s International, John C. Munro Hamilton International, Region of Waterloo International, Regina International, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International, Kelowna International, Abbotsford International and Victoria International.
Currently, the following Canadian airports are able to receive international arrivals: Halifax Stanfield International, Québec City Jean Lesage International, Montréal-Trudeau International, Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International, Toronto Pearson International, Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International, Edmonton International, Calgary International, and Vancouver International. At the height of the pandemic, international passenger arrivals were restricted to only three airports: Vancouver, Toronto Pearson and Montréal-Trudeau.
In a prepared statement, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra stated, “Increased vaccination levels have allowed us to safely re-open these additional Canadian airports to international passenger flights. This measure will help ensure that travellers are able to access more regional airports for their international travels this winter while continuing to support the Government of Canada’s measured approach to re-opening our border.”
The announcement was welcomed by Canadian airlines with Andy Gibbons, vice-president of government relations for WestJet, saying that producing month-by-month schedules was challenging for airlines. Gibbons told CTV News that “airlines need certainty, and today’s certainty is going to help with that for sure.”
Air Canada advised that the airline plans to increase its fourth-quarter 2021 available seat miles (ASM) capacity by about 135% from the same quarter in 2020. Though when compared to the same period in 2019, fourth quarter ASM capacity is expected to decrease by about 47%. On Tuesday the airline announced a third-quarter operating loss of 364 million Canadian dollars ($293 million).
News of eighteen airports being able to accept international passenger flights was not good news to London International Airport. The airport’s chief executive officer Mike Seabrook had expected his airport to be added to the list alongside the neighbouring John C. Munro Hamilton International and Region of Waterloo International airports. Mr Seabrook told Global News “in our minds, it’s absolutely unfair that Kitchener and Hamilton have been included in this and we haven’t. We have Air Transat and Sunwing operating out of here this winter that they’ve got to sell tickets on these flights, and if they can’t get the tickets sold, they’re going to cancel the flights.”
The statement from the Canadian government stipulated that more airports may be able to receive international arrivals “as conditions dictate, based on demand, operational capacity, the epidemiological situation in Canada, and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada.”