Airline industry welcomes decision to end travel restrictions

By Jonathan Strom

The travel industry is reacting positively following the federal government's decision to end travel restrictions on Saturday. 

“We are one of the last countries in the world to have these restrictions,” said Chris Wood, airport director at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. “It's fantastic to see the federal government come in line with the rest of the world.”

The decision is expected to make travelling easier for passengers around Canada, and could also benefit Canada's tourism sector. 

“With these restrictions now gone, we expect a more smooth travel experience for passengers,” said Jeff Morrison, president and CEO at the National Airlines Council of Canada. “It also will no longer serve as a disincentive for people who may have really questioned whether to come to Canada or not.”

The news is also expected to bring more passengers to the airport as airlines continue to recover from the pandemic. 

“I think some people are not travelling because of the mandates; vaccines, masking, and the ArriveCan app,” Wood said. “I think we will see a bit of boost in people wanting to travel.”

The end of the restrictions also means that airport staff, and crews will no longer have to monitor whether people are following them. The government said the abuse crews were facing for attempting to enforce the restrictions, was one of the reasons they were removed. 

“That has been, I would say challenging, we've had to police that a little bit, and remind passengers that they need to wear [a mask], as well as staff” Wood said. 

Passengers can still wear masks on planes, and even with restrictions being dropped, Morrison said planes remain a safe way to travel. 

“They have installed very high end air filtration systems, ventilation systems,” he said. “In fact, there was a recent report from a number of physicians last week, that compared air circulation on planes to that of a hospital operating room.”

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