Airlines, airport ramping up as restrictions ease for travel

Flair Airlines is just one Canadian carrier ramping up operations next month, and not all passengers are happy with the airline’s safety precautions.

Passenger tweets out photo of packed Flair flight, airport declares masks mandatory

Passengers prepare to check in at the Calgary International Airport in this file photo. As of Wednesday, face masks will be mandatory at the airport. (CBC)

Flair Airlines is just one Canadian carrier ramping up operations next month, but not all passengers are happy with the airline's safety precautions.

CEO Jim Scott says flights will resume to 30 per cent of pre-COVID levels in July.

On Monday, a passenger tweeted a photo from their Flair flight showing it at nearly full capacity — with no physical distancing measures in place.

Scott says the airline never introduced formal physical distancing measures, and that Monday was an unusually busy day for flying.

"We're busier today than we were this time last year, same day," he said. "To give you an idea, we had 80 per cent load factor today, yesterday we had a 30 per cent load factor."

Scott says people can book the adjacent seat if they don't want to sit next to someone for a cost of $49.

Meanwhile, WestJet announced Monday it is doubling the number of flights being offered in July. WestJet says it will offer flights to 45 destinations, including 39 in Canada, five in the United States and one in Mexico. It will result in approximately 102 per cent more flights over June — but down 76 per cent from July 2019.

The airline is still offering its seat-distancing policy, at least until the end of June.

The airport itself is also ramping up for the increase.

Starting Wednesday, all staff and guests who visit the terminal building at the Calgary International Airport will be required to wear a mask or face covering. The airport will not provide masks.

The requirement is one of a number of initiatives the airport is taking to help bolster health and safety protocols.

"Others are reinforcing that physical distance thing where possible with decals and signage. You know, we continue to clean out at a higher rate, especially at those high touch points — kiosks, boarding gates, washrooms and elevators, moving sidewalks," said Reid Feist, spokesperson for the Calgary Airport Authority.

"We continue to bolster the amount of hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport and are continuing to work with both the airlines and the regulators."

Curb pickup recommended

Feist says the airport is also asking that no one comes into the terminal building unless they have to.

"We're really doing this to try and keep people safe as they come to the airport," he said. "We're recommending that only staff, guests and visitors enter the building if they actually have to — so if they're traveling today or they're on duty."

Feist says if you're picking up someone from the airport, do so from the curb. Stay in your vehicle and take advantage of the cellphone waiting lot.

With files from Colleen Underwood