Air Transat has suspended all regular passenger services until the end of April, following new arrivals rules introduced by the Canadian government.
From February 3 all international flights must arrive into Canada through just four airports – Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
In addition to this a new hotel quarantine requirement for all travellers arriving into the country is set to come into force “As soon as possible in the coming weeks”.
Arriving passengers (with a few limited exceptions) will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for three nights, at their own cost.
In a statement Air Transat said:
“We’re receiving a high volume of questions and calls about this announcement and its impact on our operations. We know that it’s causing a great deal of concern among our customers currently at destination or who planned to travel in the coming weeks, and we’d like to assure them that we’re doing everything we can to ensure that this situation beyond our control has the least impact possible on them. That includes making sure that we have a sufficient number of repatriation flights and available seats to return all our customers back home as soon as possible.”
The Canadian government has also suspended all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, effective from January 31.
All passengers arriving into the country must show negative pre-departure Covid-19 test results – a rule that is also being extended to arrivals by land (with limited exemptions for example for commercial truckers).
For its part Air Canada has suspended flights to the Caribbean and Mexico “at the request of, and to support Government of Canada Covid-19 mitigation efforts”, and has released the following statement by Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer:
“Air Canada believes a collaborative approach with the Government of Canada involving all air carriers is the best means to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially given concerns around the variants of Covid-19 and travel during the Spring Break period.
“Through consultation we have established an approach that will allow us to achieve an orderly reduction in service to these destinations that minimizes the impact on our customers and will support important public health goals to manage Covid-19.
“System-wide the incremental impact on Air Canada’s cash burn is not material given the already reduced levels of passenger traffic resulting from Covid-19 and travel restrictions.”
Last month Air Canada said that it expected to operate at just 20 per cent capacity in the first quarter of 2021.