Ottawa to lift COVID-19 restrictions on international arrivals at 8 more Canadian airports

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane being flown by Sunwing, a Canadian carrier. Sunwing

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said eight more airports across Canada will open to international travel at the end of November.

He made the announcement on Tuesday morning at Waterloo International Airport, one of the eight that will be open to international flights on Nov. 30. afterbeing closed for eight months.

“Opening these airports to international travel is another step forward in rebuilding and reopening our travel system,” Alghabra told reporters.

“I’m pleased that increased vaccination levels have allowed us to safely reopen these additional Canadian airports to international passenger flights.”

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The sector had been pushing the government to allow more airports to accept international flights, with an eye to trips to and from U.S. and Caribbean destinations as winter approaches.

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The list of airports that will be soon open to international traffic includes St. John’s International, John C. Munro Hamilton International, Regina International, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International, Kelowna International, Abbotsford International and Victoria International.

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“This move will help ensure travellers are able to access more regional airports for their international travels this winter while continuing to support our government’s measured approach to reopening our borders,” the transport minister said.

The airports will open on the same day that government regulations will require passengers to be fully vaccinated in order to board a plane.

Alghabra said a wide range of factors went into which airports could open including geography, historic demand, resources from public health and CBSA, as well preparation of the airports to reopen given the public health conditions.

“There were a lot of factors that go into it,” he said.

“And based on the facts and the data and the evidence and the availability and preparedness of the airports, we made those decisions.”

The eight airports are among 18 in the country that will be allowed to receive international flights including airports in Toronto, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver but Alghabra said there are around a dozen others that have not yet been cleared.

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“We are monitoring the situation and as conditions improve across the country, it will be possible to allow more airports to resume international flights,” he said.

*With files from The Canadian Press


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