OTTAWA — On August 14, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19 (Canada’s Flight Plan), which is the foundation for Canada’s current and future efforts to reduce the public-health risks of COVID-19 while travelling by aircraft.
This action plan puts in place a multi-layered system of safety measures to support public health by protecting air travellers and air industry workers from COVID-19. The government worked with public-health authorities, counterparts around the world and industry partners to develop a plan for COVID-19 safety in air travel that’s aligned to emerging global safety standards and best practices.
“Canada is a large country and safe and secure air travel is critical for Canadians to connect with loved ones and for those who rely on it to support their businesses,” says Garneau. “Implementing Canada’s Flight Plan reinforces our ongoing commitment to protect public health and minimize the COVID-19 risks associated with air travel.”
Key changes apply to all aspects of air travel, including in airports and aircraft. They include travel restrictions; mandatory use of face masks for passengers and crew; mandatory health checks by air carriers prior to passenger boarding; temperature screening at the busiest Canadian airports and at points of origin for all incoming flights to Canada; restricted services and passenger movement during flights; and enhanced cleaning-and-sanitation protocols and practices.
In airports, these designs and measures include enhanced air-conditioning and filtration systems; frequent cleaning of high-touch areas; new touchless technologies to scan boarding passes; and physical-distancing measures. Modern passenger aircraft also offer a unique environment with design characteristics that reduce the risk of viral transmission.
These measures are designed to prioritize the safety and security of travellers and industry employees, as well as position Canada as an international leader in reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 while travelling by air.
Canada’s Flight Plan will be refined as the government learns more about COVID-19 and as international best practices evolve to ensure safety and efficiency of the Canadian aviation system.