Major airlines criticize Ottawa’s COVID approach, welcome lifting of restrictions


Canada’s major airlines issued statements criticizing how the federal government managed the pandemic after it announced it would lift measures on October 1, saying Air Canada was not based on science. said no.

“Air Canada acknowledges that air travel is safe and that the measures were not scientifically justified, and that these measures have not been justified,” said Craig Landry, Air Canada’s vice president and chief operating officer. We welcome the lifting of restrictions.” statement.

Landry added that this would make travel “significantly” easier and help stabilize the sector and the Canadian economy.

Air Canada’s statement was released on Sept. 26, hours after Ottawa announced it was revoking a temporary order affecting travel and border rules.

Beginning October 1, all travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be able to enter Canada and will no longer be required to wear masks on flights and trains.

Unimmunized individuals will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days, pre-arrival and on-arrival testing will cease, and the ArriveCan system, which captures personal health and travel information that can be shared with international agencies, will no longer be mandatory.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step, but we urge the government not to lose momentum,” said Landry, adding that improved security, new technology and improved processing at airports with the new Trusted Traveler program will help to improve the situation. asked for rationalization.

He also said the “user payment model that finances transportation” needs to be revisited because of the “weaknesses and interdependencies” exposed by COVID-19.

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech also commented on the lifting of the final restrictions on September 26th.

“Today’s announcement is in line with travel policies in other major countries and reflects the industry’s outstanding commitment to safety, ensuring that air travel is as safe as any other consumer activity. recognizing. statement.

Von Hoensbroech said WestJet is “reassured” that customers can now make “what’s best for them” decisions.

Von Hohensbrooch was publicly critical of Canadian regulations shortly after taking over the helm of the company in February.

He questioned the mask mandate in March and the travel vaccine mandate in May.

Despite von Hohensbroek’s stance in favor of personal responsibility, his company had to impose vaccination obligations on its employees due to federal regulations. Some employees are suing the company over delegation.

Advocacy groups that have fought against in-transit vaccination mandates have responded to the major carriers’ statements by saying they are “seeking to position themselves as sacred innocents.”

“They pretend they knew all along that the ‘science’ didn’t support the policy,” said Greg Hill, an airline pilot and co-founder of Free to Fly. I’m here.

“In the meantime, employees lost millions of dollars in income, homes, marriages and mental health because of these policies. These companies cannot just say ‘oops’ and move on. “


Air Canada has not explained why it believes the federal regulations are “scientifically unjustified,” but information available from the federal government and industry suggests that the risk of in-flight transmission of the virus is low. This indicates that

“While it is true that air travel can lead to the importation of passengers with COVID-19, the risk of spreading COVID-19 among passengers while on board aircraft appears to be low,” said Transport Canada. wrote in its November 2020 abstract: His risk of COVID-19 infection on board the aircraft. “

Brief cites October 2020 press release According to the International Air Transport Association, there is a probability of 1 in every 27 million travelers who have had a flight-related infection.

An epidemiologist from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) testified during cross-examination in May that travel vaccination mandates were largely uninformed about the impact of vaccination on in-flight transmission of the virus.

Dr. Lisa Waddell of PHAC’s Emerging Sciences Group said:

Waddell had testified as a government witness in defense of the challenged travel vaccine mandate in four lawsuits.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a September 26 statement: statement “A big thank you to the Canadians who rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.”

In a statement, PHAC also noted other factors such as Omicron’s modeling of BA.4 and BA.5 waves and reduced hospitalization and mortality rates.

Noe Chartier


Noé Chartier is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret