The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is demanding that the Trudeau government drop all COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions to reduce crippling delays at Canadian airports.
Among the restrictions the IATA wants to see gone include vaccine requirements, random testing, the ArriveCan app and mandatory submissions of health information.
“It is clear that people want to travel,” said IATA regional vice-president for the Americas Peter Cerda. “We can therefore ill afford to have passengers subjected to unacceptable wait times both on arrival in the country or on departure.”
“The relevant authorities must urgently consider removing the last remaining travel-related COVID-19 restrictions and work with the industry on policies and processes which will allow passengers to pass through airports with no undue delay.”
This is the second major transportation group to call for an end to Canada’s air travel mandates and restrictions, which critics have called some of the harshest in the world.
Earlier in May, the Canadian Airport Council blamed government restrictions for travel chaos, saying that mandates quadrupled the processing time for air travellers.
In a recent statement, Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman called on the Trudeau government to immediately end the mandates and fix the delays.
“As countries around the world are reducing red tape and making it easier for citizens to travel, the Liberals continue to impose their outdated and unjustified mandates and testing that are leading to longer lines and slower recovery,” wrote Lantsman.
Instead of lifting requirements, Liberal transport minister Omar Alghabra has maintained that the delays are no fault of the government, but due to a spike in post-pandemic travel.
“We will always be supporting our tourism sector,” said Alghabra. “We are all excited about the travel season coming up. Canadians are travelling. We are doing everything we can to address these lineups. We are working with airports. We are working with the airline sector.”
IATA spokesman Markus Ruediger called the continuation of the mandates “untenable.”
“It’s pretty dire. It’s delays, delays, delays,” said Ruediger.
According to Ruediger, the restrictions have downstream effects for Canadian airports other than those in Vancouver and Toronto and that they are also impacting air travel in other countries.