Politics

8 more airports will open to international flights Nov. 30

The federal government took another step toward rebuilding the travel industry Tuesday by announcing an expansion of the number of Canadian airports that will accept international flights. 

Transport minister says mandatory vaccination program provides basis for airport expansion

Travellers move through Toronto’s Pearson airport on Nov. 1, 2021. Beginning Oct. 30, all travellers in Canada aged 12 and older must be fully vaccinated before boarding planes, trains or cruise ships in the country. Passengers who are partially vaccinated can still travel with a valid test until Nov. 30. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The federal government took another step toward rebuilding the travel industry Tuesday by announcing an expansion of the number of Canadians airports that will accept international flights. 

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said eight additional airports will begin playing host to international arrivals on Nov. 30, bringing the total number of Canadian airports open to global travellers up to 18.

"Opening these airports to international travel is another step forward in rebuilding and reopening our travel system," said Alghabra. 

"This move will ensure travellers are able to access more regional airports for their international travel this winter while continuing to support our government's measured approach to reopening our borders." 

The minister explained that the expansion is possible because by Nov. 30, the federal rules requiring proof of vaccination in order to travel on a plane will have been fully phased in. 

The additional airports that will be operating by month's end include: 

  • St. John's International
  • John C. Munro Hamilton International
  • Region of Waterloo International
  • Regina International
  • Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International
  • Kelowna International
  • Abbotsford International
  • Victoria International

10 airports already open to international travel

These are in addition to the 10 airports that are already receiving international flights: 

  • Halifax Stanfield International
  • Québec City Jean Lesage International 
  • Montréal-Trudeau International 
  • Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International 
  • Toronto Pearson International 
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre 
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International 
  • Edmonton International 
  • Calgary International
  • Vancouver International

Mandatory vaccine requirements for travel

Starting at 3 a.m. on Oct. 30, all travellers in Canada aged 12 and older must be fully vaccinated before boarding planes, trains or cruise ships in this country. 

Even those travellers who are fully vaccinated must show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test upon returning to Canada, but Ottawa is facing pressure to drop that requirement. 

Canadians travelling abroad will need to follow the rules of the specific airline and country they are entering, which may include testing.

There is an exception in place that allows travellers who have started the vaccination process but have not yet completed it to show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test until Nov. 29. 

As of Nov. 30, those not fully vaccinated will not be eligible to travel, except for limited exemptions. 

"Let me be very clear: If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of November, you will not be allowed to board a plane or train in Canada," Alghabra said last week.

The Canadian Airports Council welcomed the news, stressing the importance of regional airports to the international travel industry and the need to reopen more of them to international travellers. 

"They connect remote and northern communities to international hubs, and provide huge amounts of specialized care, including emergency and medical services," said Daniel-Robert Gooch, the council's president. "If anything, international flights should be expedited to these communities, not further delayed." 

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