By Allison Lampert
MONTREAL (Reuters) – European airline and airport executives urged the Canadian government this week to allow a safe “restoration of travel” between Canada and Europe, adding industry pressure on Ottawa to remove coronavirus-related restrictions that have discouraged international air travel.
In a letter dated July 27, top executives of nearly a dozen European airlines and airports, warned that “since many EU (European Union) countries and Switzerland require reciprocity to re-establish access, Canada’s continued entry restriction and quarantine requirements are becoming problematic.”
The content of the letter, sent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other government ministers, was reviewed by Reuters.
The EU has taken steps in recent weeks to relax travel requirements both internally and towards citizens of select other countries, including Canada, although Britain reintroduced a 14-day quarantine this week for arrivals from Spain.
Canada’s borders are closed to all non-citizens except for essential workers. Canadians who enter the country from abroad must self-isolate for two weeks.
Trudeau has dismissed repeated calls from Air Canada to relax air travel restrictions to select countries.
The July 27 letter was signed by executives from Air France-KLM and Germany’s Lufthansa Group, among others.
Trudeau’s office and Air France-KLM were not immediately available for comment.
“Canada should look to remove the restrictions on travel to European Union and Swiss nationals and allow for a safe, cautious and sensible restoration of travel between two important trading partners,” the executives said in the letter.
“Just as the EU has recognized Canada’s successes in managing the pandemic, so too must Canada recognize the EU’s.”
Executives pointed out that the EU and Switzerland are “safe jurisdictions” with many countries having lower infection rates than Canada.
“Canada has made tremendous strides during the pandemic but it cannot remain isolated forever.”