Monette Pasher, president of the Canadian Airports Council, said wait times and tarmac arrival delays at major airports improved immediately after the measure took effect on Saturday.
“We are very encouraged by the news. This is a big step forward in solving the problems of delays, ”she said in an interview Monday. “But there is still a lot of work to do because there are still delays, but over shorter periods. In our business, we never want to see people waiting on the tarmac.”
“I waited maybe 10-15 minutes at customs,” said Mélina Gauthier, for whom the return to the country via Montreal-Trudeau Airport (YUL) “went really well” overnight. from Saturday to Sunday.
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The YUL website indicated wait times at customs on the arrival of 5 to 20 minutes in the afternoon of Monday. “Waiting times vary according to peak periods,” Aéroports de Montréal simply said in response to questions from La Presse about the situation.
Suspension of random testing
According to information reported by CBC on Monday evening, Ottawa is about to announce the end of the obligation to be vaccinated for domestic and international travel.
This follows the announcement last Friday that screening tests for randomly selected vaccinated international passengers would be suspended, and that mandatory rapid tests imposed on unvaccinated arrivals would take place at off-airport sites from 1 July st.
But after endless lines at the end of May, the situation in Dorval seemed to have improved even before the suspension of random tests, according to travelers.
“I left the airport in less than 45 minutes from landing,” rejoiced Anne Desjardins, who returned from Europe on Friday afternoon. She was even selected for a COVID-19 screening test, which only took about ten minutes.
Same thing for Philippe Leduc, who arrived from Europe last Tuesday. “I was out 50 minutes after landing,” he said, it went “super good.” “It was really better than I expected,” said Laurent Fournier, who only had to wait about 45 minutes to clear customs and get out of the airport on Friday.
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) and other industry groups were already calling for an end to mandatory vaccinations for travelers and aviation workers, saying hundreds more workers could be called upon to further support travelers.
For now, Ottawa continues to require 14-day quarantines for unvaccinated Canadian passengers and bar entry for unvaccinated foreigners.
Increase in traffic
After laying off security staff during the pandemic, the nation’s airport security agency has hired 865 screening officers since April, Ottawa said, with more hires on the way, as the four largest airports of Canada forecast a 50% increase in the number of travelers within a few weeks.
As of June 1, these hubs were handling an average of 56,000 inbound passengers from overseas each day – more than half of them at Toronto’s Pearson airport were scenes of endless queues, and traveler frustration circulated through social media and media for much of the spring. The number of travelers is expected to reach 80,000 in a few weeks, according to CAC forecasts.
People can expect longer wait times in the summer, but we shouldn’t see anything like what we saw last month. I think we are overcoming this obstacle.
Monette Pasher, Acting President of the Canadian Airports Council
“The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not disclose information on the staffing of the various ports of entry,” the agency said in response to questions from us. However, it ensures that it takes “the appropriate measures to ensure that there are sufficient resources available to adequately manage the border”.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that the U.S. government would drop COVID-19 testing as a condition of entering the country — a measure Canada has already removed.