Charters See COVID Uptick

The somewhat chaotic state of airline travel is opening new opportunities for Canada’s charter companies as businesses and some private travellers look for safer alternatives. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in inquiries, bookings haven’t increased that much as of yet,” Stephanie Ste. Marie, head of business jets for Air Charter Service Canada told CTV. “I think that’s still mostly because of all the restrictions that are still in place. There’s still a lot of quarantines that are in effect or self isolations… so a lot of people have been holding back.” She said family trip enquiries are on the increase but traditional charter users are also increasing their use of the services for unavoidable travel.

“On the corporate side, we’ve seen some existing clients looking to potentially ramp up their spending on private travel just for employees so that they have sort of peace of mind,” she said, noting that employees are hesitant to risk illness for a business trip. She said charter flying has far fewer contact points than airline travel and companies are stepping up their cleaning and passenger processing procedures. Jet Charter Canada spokesman Adam LeRoy told CTV that his company has removed pillows and blankets in their aircraft and is invoking contact tracing of passengers. “We have also asked clients to submit a health declaration form regarding recent travel and contact prior to their flights, and have worked with government agencies to submit accredited laboratory results when required for entry,” LeRoy said.