Canada's two largest airlines and two largest airports today welcomed Transport Canada's long-awaited Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19 as a major step forward in restarting Canada's air travel industry by confirming the country's biosafety standards. The document is a clear endorsement of biosafety programs already put in place by Air Canada, WestJet, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and the Vancouver Airport Authority.
Flight Plan contains international, proven best practices for proactively protecting air travellers at all stages of the journey and provides the framework for restarting the aviation sector in Canada. It encompasses such measures as health checks, face coverings, touchless technology and cleaning protocols, all of which are in effect at Air Canada, WestJet, Toronto-Pearson and YVR. Moreover, it outlines potential future enhancements, many of which the organizations are already working to adopt.
"By aligning the Canadian aviation sector with best international practices for customer health and safety, the Government of Canada has now established the necessary science-based preconditions that assure customers of the highest levels of safety for air travel and for reopening Canadian aviation across provinces and to the world," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. "Our Air Canada CleanCare+ program encompasses the measures recommended in Flight Plan and, as part of our evolving layered approach to biosafety, we remain committed to working with governments and other stakeholders to continue strengthening biosafety for all travellers. This is an important step to enabling business and the economy to safely restart alongside COVID-19, particularly the airline industry, which is a key economic driver."
"Safety has always been above all at WestJet and we welcome the implementation of Flight Plan," said Ed Sims, The WestJet Group President and CEO. "We remain committed to working with the Government of Canada to ensure all protocols are consistent with the best practices and advice available to us from around the world."
"Flight Plan represents the commitment of Canada's aviation industry and Transport Canada to introduce innovative programs and policies that prioritize the health and well-being of airport workers and passengers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Deborah Flint, President and CEO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. "For our part, Toronto Pearson has worked collaboratively with public health officials, government and industry partners since the very beginning of the pandemic, culminating in the June launch of our Healthy Airport Commitment. From innovative solutions like a disinfection corridor, real-time air quality monitoring, UV light disinfection and autonomous floor cleaners to the fundamentals such as enhanced cleaning and the installation of hundreds of plexiglass barriers throughout the airport, passengers will see that health and safety is front and centre at Toronto Pearson and touches essentially every aspect of their journeys."
"We applaud the work of Transport Canada's Flight Plan and the biosafety standards set out to protect travellers at every step of the journey," said Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. "We're pleased to see how this aligns with many programs already underway in our industry to ensure passenger health and safety in response to COVID-19. Similar to our partners across the Canadian aviation sector, we launched YVR TAKEcare, a multi-layered operational program and health and safety campaign, to create a safe and frictionless airport experience for airport employees and those who need to travel. YVR TAKEcare places industry-leading health, safety and cleaning practices and protocols at the forefront of airport processes and includes collaboration with many of our airport partners."
The four entities will continue to work with the Government of Canada to ensure that the aviation transportation sector can safely advance and continue its critical role in the country's economic recovery.