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Saskatchewan airports expect increase in travel as testing requirement drops

Click to play video: 'Vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID test to enter Canada' Vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID test to enter Canada
A major milestone as of April 1, when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. Vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID-19 test to arrive in Canada. Kayla McLean has more. – Apr 1, 2022

Vaccinated travellers coming to Canada have one less hurdle to jump.

The federal government lifted the requirement of a pre–entry negative COVID-19 test on Friday for travellers to Canada who are vaccinated.

Canada Border Service Agency says there could still be random PCR testing at airports for all travellers, but passengers are not required to isolate while waiting for results.

Read more: Vaccinated travellers no longer need pre-entry COVID-19 tests to enter Canada

Saskatoon and Regina airports both say this a huge step in the journey to recovery for the travel industry.

Regina Airport Authority customer experience manager Justin Reves said the testing requirements limited opportunities for people to travel here.

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“You are taking the risk that if for some reason you did test positive for COVID, whether because you actively had COVID or perhaps had it before and hadn’t caught it with a test prior, you’d be stuck in another country for an additional 10 days,” Reves said.

Reves said the move will also help individuals and families cut down on travel costs.

“When you think of a family of five and you have to get five molecular tests, or .. rapid antigen tests. Those can be a lot of additional costs,” Reves said.

The Regina airport is seeing half the amount of pre-pandemic travellers, but Reves said the future looks positive, with airlines reporting a lot of seats getting booked.

“As we look to the summer and as we get closer, the airlines have been able to adapt. We’re seeing around 90 per cent of our pre-pandemic seats in the market, which means we’re going to have a ton of great options,” Reves said.

Read more: COVID-19: 1,196 new cases in Saskatchewan, 20 deaths

Skyxe in Saskatoon is also seeing about half the amount of airline passengers they would normally see in a non-COVID year.

Skyxe operational excellence Vice President Andrew Leeming said there is lots of capacity available on Saskatoon flights, and therefore many opportunities for people to travel.

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“We’re expecting a significant increase through the summer and that’s reflected in the amount of flights that are coming into the market as well into Saskatoon,” Leeming said.

Leeming said the federal government lifting the pre-entry testing requirement is taking away some of the uncertainty around travelling.

“I think it really opens up the possibilities for people who are thinking about travelling,” Leeming said.

Click to play video: 'COVID test requirements officially lifted for most travelers to fly into Canada' COVID test requirements officially lifted for most travelers to fly into Canada
COVID test requirements officially lifted for most travelers to fly into Canada – Mar 31, 2022

Dropping the testing restriction is also welcome news for border towns and cities.

Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig said it’s a positive development.

“It’s great to see our American neighbours coming back up again, and slowly but surely things can get back to normal,” Ludwig said.

— with files from Global News Twinkle Ghosh

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