International travellers must prepare themselves for significant wait times in Canadian airports over the festive period, with the Omicron variant rearing it’s ugly head in recent weeks.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for air travel and, with the new Covid-19 screening measures such as on-arrival testing, chaos could well be on the horizon.
Under the new rules, fully vaccinated travellers must quarantine at home until they receive their test results. Testing may either be carried out at the airport. Or, using a “self-swab kit” at home.
The new measures will only compound some of the issues experienced by Canadian airports throughout the pandemic. High staff turn over has been a significant factor that our clients have experienced in the last two years; there just isn’t the same experience on the ground as there once was.
“Now is not that time to travel” was the line repeated by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos on Friday. However, with this only an advisory measure, we don’t expect to see many rip up their Christmas plans.
Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, previously told Reuters that airport simply couldn’t test all travellers without long waits.
“Do we really want people waiting for hours for a test in a customs hall?” he said.
“We want to avoid chaos, and we want to ensure that travellers who have booked trips are comfortable to travel.”
In recent weeks, Canada’s testing capacity for air travellers has been ramping up. As of Tuesday, 26,000 tests can be processed each day for those passing through Canadian airports.
So, if you are sticking with your festive plans, please be aware that fully charged iPads, a good couple of books and a neck-pillow are essentials for survival in Canadian airports this Christmas.
A reminder to our clients, if you do run into any issues on bookings made with us, we will be available 24/7, throughout the festive period, on our emergency line!