'Once again an international airport': EIA excited to welcome U.S. travellers in August

Edmonton International Airport is applauding Transport Canada's decision to lift travel border restrictions as of Aug. 9 at five Canadian airports, including the Alberta capital city's.

The federal government announced on Monday it will allow fully vaccinated American travellers into the country starting that day.

Nearly a month later, on Sept. 7, restrictions will drop for immunized travellers from other countries.

"We're once again an international airport as of Aug. 9," EIA spokesperson Traci Bednard told CTV News Edmonton.

"That is really important for business and economic recovery in our region."

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce's president called the announcement "great news" for the same reason.

"A strong airport, it’s very important for business attraction and for domestic and foreign investment but also for business retention to keep businesses here. We need good efficient air access to different markets around the world for both cargo and people," Jeffrey Sundquist said.

The Canada-U.S. border was shut down to non-essential travel by mutual agreement on March 21, 2020, and the restrictions were renewed each month since.

When the border opens in August, unvaccinated American children under the age of 12 and unvaccinated dependent children will be able to accompany a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, or legal guardian and forgo the 14-day quarantine but must follow relevant public health guidelines in the region they’re visiting.

Flyers will need to provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours old before boarding.

"From the airport's perspective, safety remains our critical priority so we demonstrated to the government that we can continue to serve our passengers and our staff safely with those easing of restrictions," Bednard commented.

The U.S. has not announced similar plans to lift restrictions for Canadians seeking entry into the country for discretionary purposes.

Other fully vaccinated foreign nationals will have to wait until Sept. 7 to travel to Canada for discretionary purposes and only if the domestic COVID-19 situation continues to remain “favourable.”

All travellers will be required to upload proof of vaccination to the ArriveCAN app or website before they board their flight to Canada and carry their vaccine certificate with them to present to border officials.

Edmonton will not be the only city to see its airport welcome back international travelers; Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and Halifax Stanfield International Airport will also accommodate U.S. flights starting August and international routes in September.

But already, Bednard has noted an uptick in bookings and foot traffic through EIA.

"It's starting to look more like the old airport."

With files from CTVNews.ca and The Canadian Press