It is too early to tell if Omicron will have an impact on our recovery: WestJet Interim CEO
WestJet is slamming the federal government for reintroducing its broad advisory against non-essential international travel as COVID-19 cases make a resurgence across the country.
“The targeted advice outlined [Wednesday] is not based on science and data and significantly undermines aviation's proven safety record in response to COVID-19,” the airline said in a release.
Earlier Wednesday, the federal government issued the new advisory, adding a much broader layer to its current policy aimed at foreign nationals who have visited 10 specific African countries, including South Africa where the first case of the Omicron variant was reported to the World Health Organization.
The advisory came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a call with provincial and territorial premiers Tuesday evening amid renewed urgency to curb the rapid spread of COVID cases.
So far, there are no new limitations on domestic travel.
"Air travel is the most tested and protected consumer activity in Canada, every person travelling internationally is tested on average twice throughout their travel journey," said Harry Taylor, WestJet’s interim president and chief executive officer.
"WestJet is calling on the government to publicly share the travel related COVID-19 data that has been used to re-impose the advisory and advice targeted towards fully-vaccinated Canadians and the travel and tourism industry."
The travel advisory comes mere weeks ahead of the typically busy holiday season, when many airlines and other related sectors would see an increase in activity.
Tim Perry, president of the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) Canada, said the new travel warnings would “force our industry to absorb further losses when it was finally heading towards stability,” while also questioning the validity of the data the government was using to make such decisions.
“Without any stabilizing measures in place to assist the air transportation industry and its workers, any further travel restriction announcements made by the federal government to mitigate COVID-19 should be done in consultation with aviation stakeholders,” Perry said.