Justin Trudeau – Sun-seekers still flying out of YYC, despite new travel restrictions
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“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Trudeau said last Friday.
However, while the new rules are expected to go a long way toward reducing travel demand, they haven’t eliminated it entirely. There are no federal bans on flying to the U.S., and this Friday alone, flights left from YYC to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Dallas, Minneapolis and Denver.
According to an online database for the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels program, 184 people flew directly from YYC to Hawaii between Friday, Jan. 29 and Sunday, Jan. 31, the weekend after Trudeau’s announcement.
“The federal government has made it absolutely clear that this is not the time to travel. They’ve made it very difficult to do it,” said Rick Erickson, an independent aviation consultant based in Calgary. “But we’ve got 37 million people in this country. You can bet that among those 37 million people, there is going to be a small band of people who are going to do it.”
In November, the most recent month for which statistics are available, the Calgary International Airport saw a 78 per cent year-over-year reduction in passenger numbers. According to Reid Fiest, spokesman for Calgary International Airport, in December of 2019 prior to the pandemic there were 355 flights from YYC to sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. By December 2020, that had fallen to 63 flights and the latest announcements will bring that total to zero (except for a handful of repatriation flights).