As the prime minister told Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel and advised those abroad to come home, flights were cancelled Monday at Kamloops Airport as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Air Canada flights No. 8427 and 8198, arriving from Vancouver and Calgary, are cancelled and more cancellations are anticipated.
“That’s what we’re just starting to see now, as of today, is some cancellations because of the demand,” Kamloops Airport manager Ed Ratuski told KTW. “People have cancelled their travel plans, so Air Canada has a couple of cancellations this evening. It’s just going to be day by day.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on most foreigners entering into the country. Domestic flights within the country and flights between Canada and the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean will continue. In addition, airports will ban travellers with symptoms in order to help curb the spread.
A message, also, for Canadians abroad: “It’s time to come back home,” Trudeau said. “If you have just returned, you must self-isolate for 14 days.”
Ratuski said that those exhibiting symptoms should not be travelling. He asked Kamloops residents to follow travel guidelines set out by Global Affairs Canada and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
A travel advisory on Global Affairs Canada’s website advises avoiding non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice:
“To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures, such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.”
Ratuski said because international flights do not fly in and out of Kamloops Airport, officials are not screening passengers and no extra information has been circulated, such as what is seen at Vancouver International Airport.
In no case would Kamloops Airport ever shut down completely, Ratuski said, as the airport is an “essential service.”
“The airport has to remain open,” he said. “Yeah, there’s no discussion of that. It’s a fixed infrastructure that has to be provided.”
Asked how airport staffing levels are impacted, Ratuski said contingency plans are in place should any members be affected or need to self-isolate.
Is he concerned going forward?
“Yeah, and what we’ll do is work with our travel partners, Tourism Kamloops and Tourism Sun Peaks, to see what the impacts are,” Ratuski said, noting his concern is for leisure travel heading into the summer.
“Generally, we work with them very closely as it is.”