By Victor Shalton
European Airline Executives Call For Eased Travel Restrictions in Canada
In a July letter, some major European airline officials called upon Canada to ease its travel restrictions even as airlines are slowly finding small footholds in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senior executives, which include Air France-KLM and Germany’s Lufthansa Group, have urged Canadian authorities to lift travel restrictions for passengers from countries in which coronavirus is under control.
“Since many European Union countries and Switzerland require reciprocity to re-establish access, Canada’s continued entry restrictions and requirements are becoming problematic,” read the joint letter addressed to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Canada should look to remove the restrictions on travel to European Union and Swiss nationals and allow for a safe, cautious and sensible restoration of travel between two important trading partners,” reads the letter.
Canada has closed its borders to all international passengers except for essential workers. Canadian citizens arriving in the country are required to undergo two-weeks mandatory quarantine with failure resulting in a fine of up to $ 1,000,000.
In June, the European member states agreed to permit non-E.U. citizens of 15 countries into European borders with Canada among the E.U.’s safe list.
Aviation governing bodies and the World Health Organization (WHO) have also commented on the current travel restrictions, saying the imposed travel ban should gradually be lifted, outlining the priority of essential travel. WHO has also stressed ‘zero risk’ when considering international travel.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also suggested that quarantine periods should be replaced with multi-pronged measures such as testing and screening on airport premises to stop the spread of COVID-19 meanwhile encouraging air travel among passengers.
Air Canada had previously advised the Canadian Government to lift the travel ban on some select countries with these efforts bearing no fruit at the time of writing.
The airline executives continue to maintain through the letter that the European Union and Switzerland remain safe along with the many other countries trying to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
“Canada has made tremendous strides during the pandemic, but it cannot remain isolated forever,” stressed the letter.
On July 24, the European Union Council adopted some conclusions, in an effort to ensure cross-border travel within the E.U. is safely restored.