Sask. airports left off list of destinations allowed to receive international flights
REGINA -- The federal government announced Monday it will allow fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country on Aug.9; however, travellers won’t be able to fly directly into Saskatchewan.
International flights were restricted to Canada’s four largest airports through much of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, five more cities have been added to the list, but both Regina and Saskatoon were left off, meaning neither are able to receive direct flights from the U.S. or international destinations.
Airlines are already selling tickets for non-stop flights from Saskatchewan to sun destinations this winter. They won’t be allowed to land in the province unless the federal government grants permission before winter.
“We very much understand the challenge that the government has faced with COVID-19 and having to make these restrictions,” said Regina Airport Authority CEO James Bogusz. “But what we want to have is just some certainty around a timeline that we can expect to be able to receive these non-stop international flights in the future.”
Earlier this year, Transport Canada stripped the Regina and Saskatoon airports of their international designation. That’s not believed related to the latest problem, but Regina-Wascana MP Michael Kram said he sees a pattern.
“Saskatoon did not make the list and Regina did not make the list and there doesn’t seem to be any good reason why all of these cities across Canada can accept international air travel but Regina and Saskatoon can not,” said Kram.
Previously, international flights could land in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa. As of Aug. 9, airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton will be added to the roster.
The federal government will allow other fully vaccinated foreign nationals into the country on Sept. 7.
Saskatchewan airports are growing anxious with only 90 days before the first international flight is scheduled to arrive. If federal government approval does not come, passengers would have to reroute through Calgary, adding possible delay and disruption to winter vacation plans.