More Air Canada flights from Vancouver to China have been temporarily suspended by China due to a growing number of incoming travellers with COVID-19, according to the latest announcement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
On Dec. 25, at least 17 air travellers tested positive for COVID-19 on Air Canada flight AC025 from Vancouver to Shanghai, China. Starting Jan. 17, four more flights operated by Air Canada AC025 will be cancelled, reads CAAC's website.
Richmond travel agents said the airline's temporary suspension is related to CAAC's “circuit breaker” policy, which suspends carriers if they bring in too many COVID-19 infected travellers.
“The policy might seem unusual for most Canadians, but many frequent travellers to China are used to it since the Chinese authorities implemented (it) earlier last year," said David Lin, who has been running GS Travel for more than 10 years in Richmond.
CAAC’s website explains that airlines will have their operations suspended for one week if the number of passengers who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival reaches five. If that number exceeds 10, the airline will be suspended for four weeks.
However, carriers will be allowed to increase the number of international flights to two per week if none of their passengers test positive for the virus for three consecutive weeks, added Lin.
Lin said although his clients aren't much affected since most of them decided to cancel their trips to Asia because of a surge in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant, it will be tough for those who still hope to see their families for Lunar New Year.