Early today, Canada’s government announced it was lifting its mask mandate for air travel and the remaining COVID-19 restrictions it had set in place. The changes will go into effect on October 1.
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Air Canada responds
Shortly after the announcement was made, Air Canada posted on its social media accounts that it welcomed the government’s decision to drop the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
In a statement, the airline’s COO said,
“Air Canada welcomes the removal of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science. We believe it will greatly facilitate travel, help to continue stabilizing the country’s air transport sector and support Canada’s economy. Customers and crew will still have the option to wear masks and we also encourage customers to monitor their own health to be sure they feel well and fit to travel. While today’s announcement is a positive step, we urge the government not to lose momentum. Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining the air transport system in Canada and to enact further reforms. This includes improving processes, such as security and customs at airports, developing new trusted traveller programs, deploying new technologies and, more fundamentally, re-examining the user-pay model that finances air transportation in Canada, whose weaknesses and interdependencies were exposed by COVID.” – Craig Landry, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada
Up until today, Canada still had its mask requirement for passengers on aircraft. In addition, the country was still requiring testing and quarantine where applicable, and ArriveCan.
Air Canada expects that the decision to drop all restrictions will help its recovery from the pandemic. The airline is already returning to pre-pandemic levels, has improved its on-time performance compared to a few months ago, and has improved its baggage handling operations.
Air Canada invests in electric aircraft
Air Canada recently signed a purchase agreement for 30 of Heart Aerospace’s hybrid electric aircraft, the ES-30. The agreement also includes a $5 million equity stake in the company, which provides valuable capital to continue its work.
Air Canada is on the way to reducing its regional Scope 1 emissions by purchasing electric planes. Photo: Air Canada
Air Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Rousseau, said,
“The introduction into our fleet of the ES-30 electric regional aircraft from Heart Aerospace will be a step forward to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Already, Air Canada is supporting the development of new technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuels and carbon capture, to address climate change. We are now reinforcing our commitment by investing in revolutionary electric aircraft technology, both as a customer for the ES-30 and as an equity partner in Heart Aerospace.”
The new aircraft are expected to enter into service for Air Canada in 2028 and will be essential to maintaining sustainability in its regional services. To read a full report on Air Canada’s investment and the new ES-30 aircraft, click here.