No business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale as much as the airline industry. With borders closed, government quarantines and commerce and trade locked down, air travel has been brought to a virtual standstill.
Yet ours is a resilient industry, and I am proud that Air Canada has shown itself to be as nimble and resourceful as we have ever been over the last decade. Even before the pandemic, we had partnered with a company that monitors infectious diseases worldwide to give us warning. As COVID-19 took hold, we moved ahead of other carriers, suspending our services to China in January and reducing our schedule in February to COVID-19 “hot” zones to help contain the spread. We then helped to repatriate tens of thousands of Canadians stranded abroad.
At all times, the health and safety of our customers and employees has remained our prime consideration. We were the first airline to require customers to wear face coverings before this practice became industry-standard. We then introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive biosecurity initiative that includes such measures as taking customers’ temperature before they board our aircraft and employing electrostatic sprayers to clean our cabins more thoroughly. We will introduce new procedures as the understanding of COVID-19 deepens, and work with regulators to help Canada adopt best practices.
Beyond this, we have implemented more flexible booking policies, and in airports we have introduced touchless processes, such as for obtaining bag tags. We have outfitted our employees with personal protective equipment and redesigned our on-board service. All our mainline aircraft are equipped with ventilation systems that include HEPA filters so that airplane air quality meets the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for medical isolation rooms. And, in designing our abridged summer schedule, we took a cautious approach to gradually reintroduce destinations.
We know Canadians are ready and keen to travel again. We’re also ready. With our heightened hygiene and biosafety measures, Canadians and visitors can once again explore our wonderful country, reunite with friends and families and attend important business meetings.
For more information, please visit our Ready for Takeoff page on aircanada.com.