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WestJet CEO urges feds to drop COVID-19 vaccine mandate for travellers

The CEO of WestJet has urged the federal government to drop its controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for air travellers.

Alexis von Hoensbroech, who has been in the job since February, was reacting to the announcement by the Public Health Agency of Canada on Tuesday that various pandemic-era restrictions will remain in place until at least June 30.

“Vaccine mandate for air travellers and employees needs to be dropped,” he wrote on Twitter.

“As vaccines are not preventing the spreading of the virus since [Omicron], there is no more logic to maintain it.”

He added: “This will also relax some of the operational challenges at the airports.”

The Liberal government has been heavily criticized by the Conservative opposition for its commitment to COVID-19 measures, particularly at airports.

The Canadian Airports Council has also blamed the government for long customs delays that it says are due to pandemic-related measures.

Speaking yesterday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said COVID-19 measures might be having some effect on delays, but aren’t solely to blame.

<who> Photo credit: 123RF

He said the “discussion is ongoing” about balancing public health with the needs of the economy.

Last month, Alghabra said out-of-practice travellers were causing delays at security checkpoints.

"Taking out the laptops, taking out the fluids — all that adds 10 seconds here, 15 seconds there," he explained.

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