EIA traffic ramping up with easing of vaccine requirements at Canadian airports

Officials at Edmonton International Airport (EIA) claim they are well staffed enough to avoid the kinds of delays seen at Toronto Pearson International Airport as COVID-19 rules are relaxed further. 

Effective Monday, domestic and outbound international travellers no longer needed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“That’s good. Add more passengers into the mix,” said Steve Maybee, vice president of EIA’s operations, infrastructure and communications, late Monday morning. 

“And it’s been a busy morning already today.”

While he conceded there had been some delays, none compared to those that have hamstrung Pearson in Toronto, Maybee told reporters. 

“We’ve known this was going to come, this increase in traffic. So we’ve been working with all our partners for quite a few months to be prepared, and everybody has staffed up and is ready to go.” 

Much stress can be alleviated by arriving at the airport well prepared, he and a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) spokesperson said. Here were their best tips. 

TOP TIPS 

Despite the easing of most restrictions, some rules remain in effect, such as: masks are still mandatory after security and on board aircraft in Canada, regardless of destination. Maybee recommended checking EIA’s website as well as the federal government’s, given public health measures will likely continue to evolve. 

However, different destinations have different rules upon arrival. Double check the health guidelines of your destination. 

Remind yourself of the baggage rules – what you can take, in what quantity, and in what kind of container. “Honestly, people have forgotten how to travel,” Maybee said. “So the best thing to do is go online, remind yourself of what you can pack, what you can’t pack.”

Arrive early. 

Be attentive to airport processes, like having your passport accessible and removing electronics from your carry-on suitcase when going through security. 

Be patient. “People are relearning how to travel, the people working here are relearning. Some of these people were out of work for two years, and now they’re coming back,” Maybee said. 

Finally, familiarize yourself with ArriveCan and get it set up for your return to Canada. Maybee said the federal app really expedites the process of clearing customs. “Otherwise, all those questions need to be asked by an officer. If you add two minutes onto every passenger coming through, by the time you get to you, the last person in the line, that could be an hour of time.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson

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