Travel and Airline Industries Go From Bad to Worse: Trudeau Travel News Reaction


Critics say new travel restrictions for Canada put the country’s aviation industry in an even worse position than before. The new rules also is terrible news for an already struggling Caribbean tourism sector.

“The Jamaica Tourist Board was disappointed by the Canadian government’s announcement regarding new restrictions on international travel,” the JTB told TravelPulse Canada. “Canada is Jamaica’s second largest source market for international travel and the cancellation of flights into the Caribbean until April 30 will undoubtedly impact the country’s tourism industry during the peak winter travel season.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“From the outset of the pandemic, Jamaica has been a global leader in managing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health has implemented stringent protocols to protect local residents while providing travellers with a safe, seamless and enjoyable experience. Jamaica’s tourism industry remains resilient and optimistic and we look forward to hosting Canadian travellers on the island once again when airlift resumes this spring.”

Unifor, which represents airline workers across Canada, said Ottawa needs to follow through with long-awaited support for airlines to avoid having the industry collapse.

“You can’t have one without the other,” said Unifor president Jerry Dias “Further travel restrictions without providing financial support for airline workers is a risk to the very future of Canada’s airline industry.”

The Canadian government on Friday of last week announced that Canada’s four major carriers would cease operating to the Caribbean and Mexico from January 31 to April 30. The government also is bringing in tough new rules on testing and quarantines.

The Canadian Airlines Council was blunt in its criticism of the new rules.

“With the new travel restrictions announced today by the prime minster, the Canadian air sector has been plunged into its most severe crisis since March 2020,’ CAC president Daniel-Robert Gooch said in a statement. “Additional measures may be warranted, but Canada’s airports say the federal and provincial governments should be working more closely with industry on health measures. Meanwhile, the federal government must become more actively engaged on the financial situation affecting the air sector, if Canada hopes to emerge from this prolonged crisis with a functioning national air transportation system.

“For the past 10 months, Canada’s airports have kept passengers and workers safe, maintained operational capabilities and served their communities,” Gooch said. “With demand down by 85 to 90 per cent since the spring, they have done so by burning through any cash reserves, cancelling projects, laying off staff, and assuming $2.8 billion in additional debt by the end of 2021, just to keep their doors open. Today, there is nothing left to cut, yet the restrictions keep piling on.”

Blue seats in empty airplane
Empty seats on an airplane.

Since April, demand for international travel has been about five per cent of where it was in 2019. In other words, for every hundred Canadians who travelled in 2019, only five have been travelling since the pandemic began, the CAC said.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the air sector sought to be an active partner in governments’ efforts to contain the virus. We are proud of what we accomplished to keep travellers safe from the earliest days, even before measures were mandated by governments.” said Gooch. “Airports are at the ready to support the government through a collaborative approach and share our decades of experience on how to manage risk at our airports and on aircraft, but we are learning of proposed measures through media leaks and press conferences, which is too late for us to make a positive contribution.”

“The first priority of Canada’s airports is to ensure that our approach to quarantines and testing is risk-based, nationally consistent, and aligned with what the rest of the world is doing successfully. Even before today’s measures, air travellers were subject to temperature checks, pre-departure PCR tests, a 14-day quarantine for most travellers, and airports and airlines were seeking to work with the federal government on a standard approach to arrivals testing. Today’s news adds additional rules and processes that exceed measures in place for those already in the community who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“The second and equally urgent priority is to move forward quickly with the financial relief measures announced in the federal Fall Economic Statement and for the federal government to be prepared to provide additional support as this rapidly evolving situation demands. Canada’s airports welcome comments from Minister of Transport Omar Alghagra that financial support for our air carrier partners is coming, and look forward to engaging directly with the minister on what is needed to further support airports.

Canada’s air sector will have an important role to play in the recovery of Canada’s tourism sector and our trade based economy, but the industry has widespread concerns about its ability to participate in this recovery without more active and meaningful federal support, the group said.

“The industry’s outlook for 2021 is now dramatically worse than it was even a month ago,” Gooch concluded. “There is an urgent need for the government to work with industry in the coming weeks on a plan to emerge from the pandemic and methodically and safely start to remove travel restrictions when the time is right.”

“Today’s announcement really was the nail in the coffin for the airline and tourism business,” Robert Kokonis, founder and managing director of aviation consulting firm AirTrav Inc., told Global News. “We’re going to see bankruptcy filings, you might even see a few outright failures.”





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Fauci warns Thanksgiving travel could make current Covid surge worse


WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, warned that the travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday could make the current surge in Covid-19 cases even worse as the nation heads into December.

Appearing on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, Fauci said that public health officials “tried to get the word out for people, as difficult as it is, to really not have large gatherings” during the holiday due to concerns that the celebrations could exacerbate the coronavirus spread.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” he said.

“I don’t want to frighten people except to say it’s not too late at all for us to do something about this,” he added, urging Americans to be careful when they travel back home and upon arriving, and to take proven steps like social distancing and wearing masks.

It can sometimes take two weeks for infected people to develop symptoms, and asymptomatic people can spread the virus without knowing they have it. So Fauci said the “dynamics of an outbreak” show a three-to-five-week lag between serious mitigation efforts and the actual curbing of infection rates.

While the first wave of vaccinations could start in America within a matter of weeks, Fauci said that, for now, “we are going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family that we are in a very difficult time, and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would have liked to have done, particularly in this holiday season, because we’re entering into what’s really a precarious situation.”

Covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. have been accelerating in recent weeks. There have been more than 4 million cases and 35,000 deaths attributed to the virus in the month of November alone. Overall, America has had 13.3 million coronavirus cases and 267,000 deaths attributable to the virus, according to an NBC News analysis.

Despite a mid-November warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging Americans not to travel during Thanksgiving, air travel broke pandemic records, with 6.8 million people traveling through airports in the seven days ahead of the holiday.

The already accelerating caseload, combined with the potential for another surge of cases, comes as hospitals across the country are sounding the alarm about overloading the system’s capacity.

Fauci said that he is concerned about the nation’s hospitals, noting that he received calls last night from colleagues across the country “pleading for advice” amid the “significant stresses on the hospital and health care delivery systems.”

While he explicitly said he was not calling for a national lockdown, Fauci said at the local level, Americans could “blunt” the surge’s effects on the hospital system by taking mitigation steps “short of locking down so we don’t precipitate the necessity of locking down.”

The surge in cases comes amid promising news about a coronavirus vaccine, with both public health officials and the federal government planning to begin the first wave of vaccinations in December. Fauci said that while the “exact” recommendations for scheduling groups to receive vaccinations have not been finalized, “health care workers are going to be among” those first in line for the vaccines.

He pointed to the country’s success in distributing annual flu vaccines as “the reason we should feel more confident” about the ability to send the needed vaccine across America.

“The part about 300 million doses getting shipped is going to get taken care of by people who know how to do that,” he said. “The part at the distal end, namely, getting it into people’s arms, is going to be more challenging than a regular flu season, it would be foolish to deny that. But I think it’s going to be able to get done because the local people have done that in the past. Hopefully, they’ll get the resources to help them to do that.”



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