Federal support for Canada’s airlines: Premier Kenney
Premier Jason Kenney issued the following statement in response to talks between the federal government and Canada’s airlines:
“Alberta’s government welcomes news that the Government of Canada will be entering into talks with Canada’s airlines about federal support for this vital industry. The situation facing air carriers is not their doing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions have had a devastating impact on airlines. Across the country, we have seen ridership plummet, national carriers shut down routes, and international flights have crawled to a standstill. Here in Alberta, the impacts have been felt disproportionately given that we are home to WestJet’s head office, one of our most important employers.
“Alberta is also home to two of Canada’s busiest airports and we are keenly aware of the economic impact that airlines have, employing thousands of Albertans directly, and contributing to our tourism industry, the fourth largest employment sector in the province, creating jobs for 127,000 Albertans.
“Governments throughout the world are aware of this too, with almost all of them already providing direct support to their airlines. This has resulted in Canada’s airlines losing international market share.
“While we welcome direct support to carriers we must also prioritize the development of a Canadian domestic travel framework and a national plan for rapid testing. Airlines have already taken unprecedented measures working with public health officials and bringing in new safety protocols, like enhanced screening. Alberta has been calling for such measures for several months.
“Alberta’s government encourages the Government of Canada to develop a national framework to reduce quarantine times for international travellers, as we have done successfully with the international travel pilot program at the Calgary International Airport and Coutts border crossing.
“Airlines have demonstrated that Canadians can travel safely. Canada’s government should work with the provinces to ensure that Canadians can support this critical sector, and the tourism industry which is also impacted by declining passenger volumes.
“Since day one of this pandemic, I have said that we need to protect lives and livelihoods. Airlines are a critical part of our economy, employing thousands of people and generating billions of dollars in tax revenue. We must ensure that they get through this pandemic to create jobs and opportunities across Canada.”