It’s no secret that the Canadian airport industry has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, some airports have started piloting a new rapid-testing program that would all but eliminate the Government of Canada’s rule of a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return from international travel.
James Bogusz, CEO of the Regina Airport Authority says they would implement the technology at the airport when it becomes available because it would help business tremendously.
“The 14-day quarantine has been hugely problematic around creating demand for travel,” said Bogusz. “You can imagine, that if you’re working, or you just don’t have the time to spend for you to take a week, for example in Mexico, to come back and have to quarantine for two full weeks, for many is really a detriment to even considering that trip in the first place.”
Bogusz adds he understands the reasoning behind the rule, but it would make air travel much easier if people could get tested right away.
He says the airport is in talks with partners and health authorities to try to use the Calgary airport as a hub for the immediate future.
“There’s enough critical mass coming out of a major hub to fly to the U.S. or fly to an international destination,” said Bogusz. “That’s why I think, at our airport, it’s really important that we try and piggyback with one of the pilot projects for testing regimes. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Bogusz says despite the mandated quarantine, the demand for travel has grown since the beginning of the pandemic, adding the airport saw 1.8 percent passenger traffic in April versus just under 20 percent in October.
Bogusz says that while the demand for travel has increased, he thinks it will take a long time to see another huge increase, as there is still discouragement against not only international travel, but interprovincial travel as well.
“Until that changes, I think it’s going to be very challenging to see a huge resurgence, but every little bit helps,” said Bogusz. “I think as people come back to the airport, and they see our amazing safety precautions we have in place, I think once people try travelling again, they’re going to see there’s a great deal of safety measures, even further than there was before Covid, to give them that added comfort.”
Bogusz advises anyone who is considering traveling to call the airport with any questions they may have.