Air Canada released a scathing statement following the government’s decision to lift remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, claiming the “measures were not justified by science.”
“Air Canada welcomes the removal of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science,” wrote Air Canada Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice-President Craig Landry.
“We believe it will greatly facilitate travel, help to continue stabilizing the country’s air transport sector and support Canada’s economy.”
Landry urged the government to continue its forward momentum to improve security and customs at airports.
“Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining the air transport system in Canada and to enact further reforms,” wrote Landry. “This includes improving processes whose weaknesses were exposed by Covid.”
Landry emphasized that the relaxed measures are expected to advance Air Canada services back to pre-pandemic levels. He noted, “significant improvements in on-time performance as compared to earlier in the summer.”
“Daily flight completion is now over 98%, as well as baggage handling performance that has fully restabilized.”
The Trudeau government was heavily criticized during the summer due to massive delays that hindered service at Canada’s busiest airports. Canada’s airports have some of the worst delay and cancellation rates in the world.
At the height of the summer, former Air Canada Chief Operating Officer Duncan Dee claimed in an interview with Andrew Lawton that it took four times longer to process travellers when compared to pre-pandemic levels because of the government’s travel restrictions.
In August, it was revealed that Transport Minister Omar Alghabra knew that federal security was short-staffed by 25% last spring and that serious delays were expected. At the time, Alghabra made no public mention of short staffing being responsible for delays experienced by air travellers, even blaming travellers themselves.
“We are seeing an increased demand and appetite for people who want to travel,” Alghabra said June 6. “The supply is trying to catch up.”