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Influx of travellers at Vancouver International Airport as vaccine mandate ends

Vancouver, June 21: Vancouver International Airport is making preparations for an influx of travellers as industry experts warn more delays, not fewer, will be the result of the suspended vaccine mandate requirement for air travel.

On Monday, the federal government’s vaccination requirement ended and Canadian airports didn’t immediately see any alleviation nor worsening of wait times as a result of suspending vaccination verification – but they are bracing for a surge in demand.

With staff laid off or walking away from scant hours when air travel was heavily restricted, industry insiders warn it’ll take time to get the right people in the right jobs – while demand is likely to spike much sooner.

“That’s going to put tremendous pressure on the infrastructure that we’re already seeing without these five million potential (unvaccinated Canadian) travellers, which is already causing clogs and traffic issues galore,” said Martin Firestone of Travel Secure. “I don’t see anything other than chaos at this point — and it’s not limited to Canada, this is going around the entire world.”

While Canadian airports have largely managed lineups with messaging to arrive early, as well as pouring every available resource at staffing various aspects of their operations, their American counterparts were plagued with problems all weekend and other international destinations experienced similar backlogs and luggage snafus.

The ArriveCan app is still required for travellers entering Canada, whether they’re citizens or not, and that means leaving the airport may become the next bottleneck.

With COVID-19 hotspots flaring around the world and the federal government warning the vaccine mandate could be reinstated, coupled with the national labour shortage, Firestone suggested that the days of easy, carefree travel may be behind us.

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