Canadian airlines cancel flights, demand reverse of travel-restrictions

Canada’s two main airlines have demanded that Ottawa reverse COVID-19 travel restrictions amid the ongoing protests against the vaccine mandates that has overwhelmed the nation’s capital, an ANI report said.

According to the report, the current wave of protests against COVID-19 measures started when thousands of demonstrators gathered in Ottawa expressing strong opposition to vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has cancelled 20 per cent of its flights in March amid continuing uncertainty over trucker protest, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported, according to ANI.

“It is disappointing that Canada remains stagnant in its approach and continues to make travel inaccessible and punitive for Canadians and inbound tourists,” said Interim chief executive officer Harry Taylor while adding that travel advisories and testing requirements were meant to be temporary, ANI reported.

Earlier on Sunday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson had declared a state of emergency in the city.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on Monday announced that federal police has approved Ottawa’s request for additional officers to quell the protest.

“I can confirm that the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) has received and approved a request for additional officers,” Mendicino said during an emergency debate on the situation.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the trucker protest taking place in Ottawa must come to an end, citing disruptions it has caused to the economy and the local residents.

“Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives, it has to stop,” Trudeau said in a speech to Canada’s parliament on Monday evening.

“People of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighbourhoods. They don’t deserve to be confronted with the inherent violence of a swastika flying on a street corner or Confederate flag.