Mandatory hotel quarantines are “ineffective” and should be “eliminated,” Air Canada declared after posting a $1.3 billion first quarter loss.
In his first quarterly conference call since being appointed the airline’s CEO, Michael Rousseau said, “the current mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals has proven ineffective. It should be eliminated.”
“We believe that with a vaccination program now underway nationally, a modified and more relevant approach to testing and quarantine would keep Canadians safe while allowing our country to reopen for international travel,” he added.
Canada has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, with all international travellers facing a mandatory 3-day hotel stay as well as a 14-day quarantine.
By contrast, international travellers arriving in Ireland must home quarantine for 14 days, which can be reduced to five days on production of a negative PCR test. Passengers arriving from high-risk ‘category two’ countries must face mandatory hotel quarantine of 12 days.
Air Canada believes that domestic travel will lead its recovery, with summer leisure travel to Europe pushed to later in the year. The airline also believes that corporate travel, a key segment for Air Canada, will not return until September as travel policy restrictions remain in place and many employees continue to work from home.
“What we’re seeing now, though, is there’s definitely an appetite for corporate Canada to return to travel,” said Air Canada chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette. However, the Air Canada believes that the current quarantine requirement is a deterrent and the return of corporate travel will depend on the lifting of those restrictions.