Canada's Airports Welcome New Tool for Low-Risk Travellers from Brazil, Mexico

Continued Government-Industry Cooperation Crucial to Successful eTA Implementation

OTTAWA, April 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) today welcomed positive developments in the Government of Canada's plans to introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement for many travellers—including its use as a visa alternative for low-risk travellers from Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria and Romania. The CAC says continued cooperation with industry, however, will be crucial to ensure that eTA roll-out in 2016 does not impede or discourage legitimate travel.

"International traffic is an important and fast-growing traffic segment for Canada's airports and ensuring the safe, secure, efficient and hassle-free travel through Canadian airports for these travellers is a top priority," said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. "We wanted eTA to be low-cost, simple to secure for legitimate travellers from visa-exempt countries and an alternative tool for low-risk travellers from countries with visa requirements. Today we are pleased to see progress on these fronts but educating global travellers about the new requirements will be essential to a successful roll-out."

One day after the introduction of its 2015 federal budget announcing that eTA will be an alternative to a visa for some low-risk travellers from Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria and Romania, the Government of Canada issued its regulations for the new entry requirement for virtually all travellers from visa-exempt countries (other than the United States, whose citizens will continue to require neither a visa nor an eTA).

Also included in the regulations were two additional asks from Canada's airports: that eTA not be required of travellers transiting through Canada under the Transit without Visa Program (TWOV)/China Transit Program (CTP), and an extended implementation date through spring 2016 to ensure adequate time to educate international travellers. The CAC says it will continue to work with government to ease the facilitation of other international travellers transiting Canada to the U.S. with a valid U.S. visa or Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)—the U.S. equivalent of eTA. 

"Growth of transit traffic through Canada between other countries supports Canadian air carriers, airports and communities by filling flights and driving demand that supports routes that may not exist without this transit traffic," said Mr. Gooch. "Use of eTA as an alternative to a visa for low-risk travellers from Brazil and Mexico is a good early step in what we hope will be a broader, more modern approach to facilitating low-risk travellers from additional countries around the world. We do, however, have concerns about traveller confusion—particularly for the large numbers of U.S.-bound travellers who will require both a Canadian eTA and a U.S. ESTA in order to transit to the U.S. These are areas we need to work on in the coming months."

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada's airports community.  Its nearly 50 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada. Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation's air cargo and international passenger traffic, and 95% of domestic passenger traffic.

Canada's airports are independently operated by non-share capital corporations that are fully responsible for self-funding their operating and infrastructure costs. In 2012, Canada's air transportation industry had a $34.9 billion economic footprint, supported 405,000 jobs, and contributed more than $7 billion in federal taxes.

SOURCE Canadian Airports Council

For further information: Gregory Kampf, Canadian Airports Council, 613-562-0135 ext. 15, gregory.kampf@cacairports.ca

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