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Air Canada, WestJet Suspend Flights to Mexico, Caribbean

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Air Canada and WestJet each have temporarily suspended flights to Mexico and the Caribbean as a part of new, stricter travel restrictions announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.

Air Canada’s suspensions begin Jan. 31 and will last for 90 days, and the carrier will operate a limited number of one-way flights to Canada from the region after that to make sure travelers there can get home. Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu in a statement said the cancellations would not have a “material” impact on the carrier’s cash burn rate given already-reduced passenger levels to the region.

WestJet’s suspensions also begin Jan. 31 and will run through April 30, and the carrier will work to bring back travelers already there over the next two weeks, according to the carrier.

“The government asked, and we agreed,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said in a statement. “While we know that air travel is responsible for less than 2 percent of cases since the start of the crisis, and even less today, we recognize the government of Canada’s ask is a precautionary measure.”

In addition to asking carriers to suspend service to Mexico and the Caribbean through April 30—which will cover the upcoming Spring Break period—the new requirements announced by Trudeau also include requiring mandatory Covid-19 PCR testing at the airport for passengers arriving in Canada on international flights, according to The Associated Press. Travelers then will have to stay at an approved hotel while awaiting test results—which, with food and additional infection control method costs taken into consideration, will run a traveler about C$2,000—and then, upon getting a negative result, quarantine at home under “significantly increased surveillance and enforcement,” Trudeau said in the AP report.

These new measures are in addition to required Covid-19 tests prior to boarding inbound international flights to Canada.

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