Kitchener International Airport can resume international flights starting on Monday
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, international travel can resume at Kitchener International Airport from Monday.
The decision to resume transatlantic flights at PHL was made after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control stated that travelers from restricted countries will no longer need to do advanced health screenings and temperature checks at a select number of airports.
In the public health crisis, only 15 airports were allowed to receive international passengers. Kitchener International Airport was not selected and therefore had to suspend all international flights due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“On behalf of the PHL airport community, we would like to thank the CDC, the White House, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Homeland Security for their role in making this decision that will enable PHL to once again accept transatlantic flights and passengers,” said Charlie Cameron , CEO of Kitchener International Airport. “We are grateful for the support of numerous regional members of Congress who served as PHL attorneys in Washington on this matter.”
“We also appreciate the support and advocacy of our local business community, including the Greater Kitchener Chamber of Commerce, Greater Kitchener British American Business Council, Visit Kitchener, the Kitchener Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Kitchener World Trade Center. ”
The end of the months-long restrictions will be a welcome sight for the airport, which said international travel generates around $ 2 billion in annual revenue for the local economy.
Cameron said it will be some time before the region hits that level again. American Airlines is already committed to restoring PHL as an international hub, Cameron said.
“With status restored, we are ready to rebuild and reestablish those critical international connections that are vital economic drivers not only for Kitchener but also for the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.”
The airport and its stakeholders have faced multi-million dollar budget deficits due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel industry, Cameron said.
“Funnel status alone does not solve our financial problems and more airport aid is still a necessity,” said Cameron. “However, if we can accept international flights, we can recover more quickly and possibly save jobs that were about to be eliminated.”
The airport laid off hundreds of unionized workers at the start of the pandemic in March. The dismissed airport workers included aircraft cabin cleaners, wheelchair users, line attendants, baggage handlers and roadside check-in assistants.
Since May, all PHL travelers and employees have had to wear face masks to contain the spread of the virus. The measure will remain in place for the duration of the pandemic.
Passengers and employees who eat or drink or are alone in offices are exempt from the rule. The airport has encouraged travelers to abide by its rules by placing graphics on digital screens and printed signage on the terminals. Digital signage was already in place on advertising screens and PHL security and staff were tasked with enforcing the rules.