The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the Canadian government to support the COVID-19 testing initiatives of Air Canada and WestJet as a means to safely re-open Canada to international and domestic travel without the need for blanket quarantine measures.
International traffic to Canada has plummeted since quarantine measures were introduced in March 2020.
IATA's Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “There are alternatives to the quarantine measures currently in place that can both keep Canadians safe and revive the economy. The ICAO multi-layered approach (Take-off guidance) is one. The work that Air Canada and WestJet are doing on testing adds another dimension. It is critical that the Government of Canada acts on these before the economic and social damages become permanent and the public health consequences of mass unemployment become even more apparent.”
The economic impact on Canada as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been severe. IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines with service to/from/within Canada could fall by $22.6 billion (70 per cent) when compared to 2019. This puts at risk nearly 410,500 Canadian jobs and some $39 billion of Canada's GDP, which is generated by aviation directly and indirectly, as well as by aviation-related tourism. In addition, air transport in Canada directly and indirectly supports some 633,000 jobs. In total, 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP is supported by the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.
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