Air Canada has announced plans to reactivate flights to Mexico on September 7, the date the Canadian government has set to reopen borders to fully vaccinated travelers.
The airline will run 22 weekly flights to Mexico City: two daily from Toronto, five weekly from Vancouver and three weekly from Montreal. Flights from Quebec City to Cancún, Quintana Roo, will restart on December 4, with two per day.
However, the resumption of flights is no certainty: it has been postponed on two previous occasions. Initially scheduled for May, it was postponed until July, only to be postponed again until September 7.
Canada’s July 19 announcement said the loosening of restrictions would only happen “provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable.” In the same statement, it said that fully vaccinated United States residents would be allowed to enter the country as of August 9.
Travelers will have to fill in the ArriveCAN (app or web portal) before flying and won’t be required to quarantine on arrival, save for in exceptional circumstances. All travelers must have been given an approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to entry. Canada’s approved vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Jonson & Johnson.
For the Mexico City routes, the airline will use its Boeing 737 MAX fleet. Flights to Toronto will depart from the capital at 12:40 a.m. and 1:25 p.m.; to Montreal Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:00 a.m.; and to Vancouver on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
Air Canada’s Latin America chief Luis Noriega anticipated the benefit for Mexicans. “With Mexican citizens eager to travel back to Canada, we are ready to reunite clients with their families … As travel restrictions ease around the world, we are committed to rebuilding our international network and continuing as a global airline connecting the world with Canada,” he said.
Canada is the second most important international market for the Mexican Caribbean for volume of travelers per year, behind only the United States. In 2019, Cancún airport welcomed 1.18 million Canadians, which plummeted to 475,843 in 2020, a drop of 59%, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. From January to May this year only 18,809 Canadians arrived to Quintana Roo.
In contrast, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced on July 21 that land borders with Mexico and Canada would remain closed until at least August 21. The United States has continued to extend the restrictions on Mexico and Canada on a monthly basis since March 2020; the U.S. restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from returning to the United States.