WestJet Is Slamming Canada's New Travel Advisory & Says It's 'Not Based On Science'

The airline is calling the new measures a "setback."

WestJet Is Slamming Canada's New Travel Advisory & Says It's 'Not Based On Science'

Now that Canada's travel advisory in response to the Omicron variant has been put into place, WestJet is criticizing the official guidance that urges people to avoid international trips.

On Wednesday, December 15, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that the federal government is now advising Canadians to stop all non-essential international travel outside of the country.

In response, WestJet released a statement that said the new measures are a "setback" and are "not based on science."

"The WestJet Group [...] is expressing its strong opposition to the travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada," the statement said. "The targeted advice outlined [...] is not based on science and data and significantly undermines aviation's proven safety record in response to COVID-19."

The company said Canada's travel measures were "out of step" with border policies across the European Union, the U.K. and the U.S., and said international standards should be harmonized.

In the statement, WestJet also said that the government's new advisory contradicts the World Health Organization's guidance that blanket travel bans will not stop the global spread of COVID-19 and will "adversely affect lives and livelihoods."

WestJet has recommended that federal officials continue to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing so that safe travel via air can be maintained.

Harry Taylor, the company's president, noted that travellers are tested twice on average throughout their journey.

"As the only fully-vaccinated air travel sector in the world, WestJet is calling on the government to publicly share the travel related COVID-19 data that has been used to re-impose the advisory and advice targeted towards fully-vaccinated Canadians and the travel and tourism industry," said Taylor.

The current travel advisory will be in place for four weeks and will then be reassessed after that.

Duclos said that the government will continue increasing the capacity to test as many incoming travellers as possible as rapidly as they can.

"We know this must sound very drastic," he said. "But we must avoid overloading our hospital system and our health care workers."

Sarah Rohoman
Sarah Rohoman is an Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian celebrities and is based in Toronto, Ontario.