'The flying experience is safe now and always has been': National Airlines Council of Canada CEO
The heads of 27 Canadian companies, including the CEOs of two large banks and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers to ease air travel restrictions.
Most international flights have been canceled and the U.S.-Canada border has been shut to most travelers since March 21 -- a policy that was extended to July 21. Last week, Air Canada Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu called the restrictions “disproportionate” as the coronvirus outbreak improves in most parts of Canada.
Now Rovinescu has the backing of the chief executive officers of nine companies in the S&P/TSX 60, who are among the 27 signatories to a letter published in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper on Thursday.
“We are now entering a new phase, one in which we must find a responsible way to co-exist with COVID-19 until there is a vaccine. This includes prudently and thoughtfully opening aviation and lifting restrictions to safely resume travel throughout all provinces of Canada, as well as from select countries,” the executives wrote.
Signatories include top executives from:
- Banks: Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia
- Communications: BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications
- Energy: Enbridge, TransAlta and Husky
- Aviation: Air Canada, WestJet and Porter
- Transportation: Canadian National Railway
- Manufacturing: Magna International, Linamar
- Asset Management: Brookfield, Fairfax Financial
Canada has seen a reduction of new cases and deaths from COVID-19 in recent weeks as it finally quells an outbreak in its two largest cities that has claimed thousands of lives. The country had nearly 100,000 virus cases and 8,254 deaths as of Wednesday evening.
Policy makers in Canada have also been watching the rise in cases in several large U.S. states as they weigh a loosening of travel rules. Air travel between the U.S. and Canada has grown sharply in recent years, reaching 26.4 million passengers on scheduled flights in 2018, according to Statistics Canada data.
Air travel is “critical for the entire Canadian economy,” the executives wrote. “In addition to the human tragedy resulting from the virus, the economic impact has also been unprecedented.”