Airline group urges feds to take action to reduce delays at Canadian airports

May 25 2022, 2:16 pm

If you’ve travelled to or from a Canadian airport in the past month, there’s a good chance that you’ve had to deal with unusually long waiting times.

Now, members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging the Canadian government to help reduce the massive delays in airports, specifically at immigration and security.

Most of Canada’s major airports have experienced significant delays in recent weeks. According to an IATA press release, over the past four weeks alone, the travel plans of around 100,000 passengers per week have been disrupted as a result of these delays.

Another factor that’s led to these congested areas is the COVID-19 protocol and strict pandemic-related border control measures. The IATA says that these rules, which are causing unnecessary holdups, should be tweaked.

“The relevant authorities must urgently consider removing the last remaining travel-related COVID-19 restrictions and work with the industry on policies and processes which will allow passengers to pass through airports with no undue delay,” said Peter Cerda, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas.

As a result, the IATA is asking Canadian authorities to do the following:

  • Introduce dedicated immigration lanes for arriving international passengers who did not provide their required health and vaccination details in advance through ArriveCAN. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data shows that the immigration process for passengers where the ArriveCAN details need to be collected on arrival takes 3-5 minutes as compared to 15-30 seconds in cases where the data has been supplied in advance. This would speed up the immigration for all passengers who completed their ArriveCAN before landing in Canada.
  • Upgrade the mobile app version of ArriveCAN to include the immigration and customs-related questions so arriving international passengers can submit their relevant information in advance of arrival (currently only available on the web-based ArriveCAN in Toronto and Vancouver).
  • Relocate on-arrival random testing facilities from the terminal/airport and/or offer a home testing option.
  • Ensure that both CBSA and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) have the staffing required to offer an efficient immigration and passenger screening process.
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