Journey field unhappy as Ottawa forges on with COVID-19 testing necessities

CALGARY — Canada’s travel industry is reacting with disappointment immediately after hopes for a final-moment…

CALGARY — Canada’s travel industry is reacting with disappointment immediately after hopes for a final-moment extension to new COVID-19 testing demands for global travellers ended up dashed on Wednesday.

Ottawa introduced past week that men and women traveling to Canada as of Thursday, Jan. 7, would have to supply proof of a damaging COVID-19 check result in buy to board their flight.

The marketplace asked for a hold off in implementation to Jan. 18 but Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said the limits will go ahead as of midnight Wednesday to coincide with the expiration of Canada’s ban on flights from the United Kingdom.

Canada halted most air travel from the U.K., where by a mutated strain of COVID-19 experienced been uncovered, on Dec. 20.

“Our considerations over the earlier several days have not transformed — we did not believe that we would have sufficient time to productively put into practice the plan,” reported Mike McNaney, CEO of the Nationwide Airlines Council of Canada.

“The federal government certainly has concluded normally so we are continuing to do all the function we can to attempt to carry out the coverage as effectively as achievable.”

He mentioned the airlines are worried that travellers possibly will not be able to get assessments or will be unaware of their obligations and front-line workers will have to quit them from boarding their return flights to Canada.

Travellers are essential to take a deep nasal swab take a look at less than 72 hours ahead of takeoff but Garneau reported Wednesday that will be prolonged to 96 hrs in the circumstances of about two dozen nations, primarily in the Caribbean.

That demonstrates that the Canadian govt is conscious of concerns with tests availability around the entire world, a issue the industry has produced in meetings around the past 7 days, reported Markus Ruediger, spokesman for the Intercontinental Air Transportation Affiliation.

“”It can be the implementation aspect that is difficult and I consider that is why the market has been asking if we could have additional time,” he stated.

The airline industry asked Ottawa for the 11-day delay in implementing the new policies in a letter dated Monday and signed by the two trade associations together with Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing.

The letter warned that Canadians stand to be denied boarding and “stranded” in international countries since of the rules.

In statements, Sunwing and WestJet said they are dissatisfied at the low amount of federal session with the marketplace and extra they would like to see to a countrywide inbound COVID-19 testing system to lessen quarantine needs.

“This newest announcement by the federal govt is specifically the style of chaotic circumstance WestJet has been trying to get to keep away from,” said WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell.

Travel brokers mentioned the new specifications have brought on “chaos” for their marketplace.

“The particularly restricted deadline to be certain that airlines have processes in location and for travel agents to ensure their shoppers presently in transit are equipped to meet up with the new needs are unrealistic,’ mentioned Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Vacation Agencies, in a assertion.

“This is triggering chaos for Canadians overseas and for their vacation agents attempting to assist … Journey agents are receiving various cancellations as a final result of this coverage.”

Ottawa vacation agent Nancy Wilson, a founding member of the Association of Canadian Unbiased Journey Advisors, claims the update by Garneau failed to handle crucial problems the marketplace has about what advice to give purchasers.

“We feel we can’t go ahead with executing any form of vacation (advice) at this point even nevertheless the airlines and tour providers are nevertheless striving to provide their items,” she stated.

“How can we potentially, both equally from a ethical accountability base as well as a legal responsibility element, go forward advising individuals who journey?”

This report by The Canadian Press was to start with printed Jan. 6, 2021.

Providers in this tale: (TSX:AC)

Note to viewers: This is a corrected tale. A earlier edition stated that the IATA asked for a one particular-7 days delay to the travel regime implementation.

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