Edmonton International Airport remains cut off from global travel

Click to play video: 'Edmonton International Airport remains cut off from global travel'
Edmonton International Airport remains cut off from global travel
Fewer travel restrictions are great news for passengers, but the travel sector in Edmonton isn't reaping the same benefits. As Morgan Black explains, there's a key piece missing for the Edmonton International Airport – Jun 21, 2021

While travel restrictions for passengers are lifting in Canada, the Edmonton International Airport remains unable to offer international travel.

That has been limited to four airports since March 2020, when Canada closed its borders and only allowed international flights to land at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Vancouver International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.

Soon, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to enter the country by land or air without having to quarantine — as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

On Monday, the federal government announced the change applies to Canadians who have been vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca, or one dose of Janssen.

Click to play video: 'Fully vaccinated Canadians can enter country without quarantine starting July 5'
Fully vaccinated Canadians can enter country without quarantine starting July 5

The rule kicks in on July 5 at 11:59 p.m. EST. It will apply only to people already eligible to travel to Canada, including citizens, permanent residents and people registered under the Indian Act.

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Edmonton International Airport spokesperson Traci Bednard said while it’s great news for passengers and a step toward reopening — Edmonton is still not designated as an international hub by the federal government.

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“It still does not apply to Edmonton International Airport,” Bednard said.

“To be shut out of that and to not be able to serve [our normal level] of travelers is difficult.”

The federal restrictions on international flights have been extended until at least July 21 — which means Edmonton will be disconnected form the world for another month.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton airport working to attract lost international flights'
Edmonton airport working to attract lost international flights

That’s going to come at a cost to our economic recovery, according to Malcolm Bruce with Edmonton Global, the economic development organization for the Edmonton metropolitan region.

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“All the airlines are starting to book for this year and next and those flights are not going through Edmonton. Passengers will find they have to go to Calgary,” he explained.

Edmonton Global is one of the local organizations pushing to reopen international travel at EIA. The CEO said each day, Edmonton is losing out on economic opportunity.

“The impact on this country in terms of where the money is going to flow is limited to those four locations. We think fundamentally that puts us at a deficit,” Bruce said.

Cargo flights are exempt from the federal restriction, so the Edmonton International is still receiving that kind of air traffic from outside of Canada.

Click to play video: 'One of world’s biggest cargo planes lands at Edmonton International Airport'
One of world’s biggest cargo planes lands at Edmonton International Airport

The airport said the federal government has not yet signaled when it will allow international passenger travel to resume as well.

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“Edmonton International Airport is immediately ready to handle international and U.S. flights once that restriction is lifted,” Bednard said, adding businesses and politicians are advocating on the airport’s behalf.

“It’s really important for EIA to support a safe restart for travel. But we also need to make sure that if other hubs in Canada are opening, that we are opening too in short order,” Bednard said.


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