Air Canada delays return to Antigua


Pointe Xpress: The local tourism industry is suffering a minor setback as Air Canada has announced that there will be a delay in its return to Antigua.

The Canadian carrier was due to arrive at V.C Bird International Airport on Sunday for its first flight since the border reopened.

The arrival of the airline would have served as a significant boost to the rebounding tourism sector.

The country will now have to wait until December for the return of Air Canada.

Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James said, “Canada still has a 14-day mandatory quarantine with all countries when you return to Canada and that is a real deterrent for people coming on vacation. As such, it is hard to generate bookings.”

Additionally, James pointed to the spike in COVID-19 cases globally which has put a damper on consumer confidence.

James confirmed that Air Canada’s return service is now scheduled for the first week in December.

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  1. Sorry to spoil the celebrations (Happy Birthday, Antigua and Barbuda!) but Canadians are not returning anytime soon and that has nothing to do with the 14-day mandatory quarantine. Simply put – we can’t get RT-PCR COVID-19 test done within the required time frame.

    Medical laboratories are so swamped that they’re shipping samples to California for processing (often takes a week or more to get results). Add to that the time it takes to get tested in the first place (you need to get an appointment if you don’t have symptoms) and there’s virtually no way to get PCR test done in laboratory in time for travel.

    There are no rapid PCR tests available either. Health Canada finally provided their approval to use rapid tests just 4 weeks ago but the government has very few tests available for remote areas of the country.

    Air Canada recently purchased 25 thousand of rapid tests for employees, not for passengers. And tourists can’t pay their own money to get PCR tests done any faster as two-tier health care is against law in Canada.

    We are not suggesting that A&B should relax their travel regulations. This virus needs to controlled, especially now. But the sad reality is – we can’t get PCR test done for travel purposes and there’s no travel to A&B without PCR testing.

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