The move, announced on Tuesday, comes as the travel season kicks off and could stretch the airport’s resources and test vacationers’ patience, they said.
Daniel Gooch, chairman of the Canadian Airports Council, said airports cannot test all overseas arrivals on-site without long wait times.
“Do we really want people to wait hours for a test in a customs hall? he asked by phone on Wednesday.
“We want to avoid chaos. And we want to make sure that travelers who have booked trips are comfortable traveling. “
Omicron variant: Canada extends travel ban, requests additional advice
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Canada said on Tuesday it would require people arriving abroad by air, except the United States, to take a COVID-19 test, seeking to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.
Currently, only randomly selected passengers on international flights are tested at airports by private companies under contract with the government.
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The announcement came as the country’s aviation industry, battered by the pandemic, expected a stronger holiday season this year.
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Canadian public health officials did not specify on Wednesday when the policy will take effect, who will administer the tests, or whether the tests will be administered on-site or via take-home kits.
Airports are pushing for the latter.
Tori Gass, spokesperson for Toronto Pearson International Airport – Canada’s largest – said in an email that “a combination of on-site and off-airport testing should be considered to account for the volume of testing being considered.” .
Meanwhile, some travelers, who had rushed to book trips amid an easing of restrictions weeks earlier, had doubts.
“I know of several clients who have decided to cancel and are now figuring out what refunds they can get,” said Marty Firestone of Travel Secure Insurance, adding that the travel landscape has improved.
“Now we have taken two steps back,” he said.
Omicron and travel: what the new restrictions mean for reimbursements and insurance
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