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Air Canada and WestJet cancels flights due to Omicron variant

COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause Canada’s two largest airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

The Westjet airline announced Tuesday that it will cancel 20 percent of its flights in February, less than three weeks after reducing its flights by 15 percent in January.

According to the Calgary-based airline, the move is in response to “government barriers” surrounding the Omicron variant.

“We continue to advocate for the elimination of cumbersome travel rules that are unnecessarily impacting Canadians and prolonging the recovery of the travel and tourism sector,” the chief executive of WestJet, Harry Taylor, said in a press release.

 Air Canada has already cancelled 6,805 flights in the past two weeks, according to airline data company Cirium. The airline has not announced major flight consolidations, but it has cancelled 15% of its flights in March and 11% in February this year.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommended not to travel for non-essential trips abroad in December. In a statement released Monday, the two airlines said quarantine requirements until on-arrival molecular tests are negative had further discouraged visitors.

Jacques Roy, a professor of transport management at HEC Montreal business school said “Reservations are being cancelled,”. People who want to fly may be concerned about not being able to come back or facing all kinds of difficulties abroad.”

Travellers who wish to come to Canada must show a negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before the departure as per the latest guidelines. 


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