Ottawa lifts COVID-19 restrictions on international arrivals to another 8 Canadian airports

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said eight more airports in Canada will open for international travel by the end of November.

He announced Tuesday morning at Waterloo International Airport, one of eight that will be open to international flights on Nov. 30 after being closed for eight months.

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“Opening these airports to international travel is another step forward in rebuilding and reopening our travel system,” Alghabra told reporters.

“I am pleased that increased levels of vaccination have allowed us to safely reopen these additional Canadian airports for international passenger flights.”

The sector had pressured the government to allow more airports to accept international flights with a view to traveling to and from U.S. and Caribbean destinations as winter approached.

The list of airports that will soon be open to international traffic includes St. John’s International, John C. Munro Hamilton International, Regina International, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International, Kelowna International, Abbotsford International and Victoria International.

“This move will help ensure that travelers can access more regional airports for their international travel this winter, while continuing to support our government’s measured approach to reopening our borders,” the transport minister said.

Airports open on the same day as government regulations will require passengers to be fully vaccinated to board an aircraft.

Alghabra said a wide range of factors went into what airports could open, including geography, historical demand, resources from public health and the CBSA, as well as preparing the airports to reopen given public health conditions.

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“There were a lot of factors that come into play,” he said.

“And based on facts and data and evidence and airport availability and preparedness, we made those decisions.”

The eight airports are among 18 in the country that are allowed to receive international flights, including airports in Toronto, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, but Alghabra said there are about a dozen others that have not yet been cleared.

“We are monitoring the situation, and as conditions improve across the country, it will be possible to allow more airports to resume international flights,” he said.

* With files from The Canadian Press

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