Pearson airport seeing most COVID-infected international flights, data shows

From Toronto Sun – link to story

Bryan Passifiume •  Sep 15, 2020 

Passengers arrive at Pearson International Airport on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. PHOTO BY VERONICA HENRI /Toronto Sun

Of the four Canadian airports permitted to accept international flights, Toronto is still seeing the most arrivals with cases of COVID-19.

According to Health Canada’s transportation case tracking database, 21 flights from a variety of international destinations that landed at Pearson International Airport since Aug. 31 have had passengers who tested positive for coronavirus.

Four of the flights were from Delhi — three Air Canada and one by HiFly, a wet-lease charter airline operating repatriation flights for Canadian citizens from India.

Jamaica, Frankfurt and Istanbul had three flights with infections each, two infected flights arrived from Chicago, and the others departed from Mexico City, Zurich, Munich, Cairo, Ethiopia, and Warsaw.

The bulk of the carriers were operated by Air Canada, while the two U.S. flights were operated by United Airlines/United Express.{%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

Foreign airlines made up the rest, with all three Istanbul flights arriving via Turkish Airlines.

Three of the flights — Air Canada 1255 from Kingston, Jamaica, Air Canada 43 from Delhi, and Egypt Air 995 from Cairo involved infected passengers from two separate sections of the airplane.

In four of the flights, the location of the infected passenger(s) aren’t known — Air Canada 879 from Zurich, Air Canada 873 from Frankfurt, Air Canada 43 from Delhi, and Ethiopian Airlines 552 from Addis Ababa.

Health Canada only displays infected flight information for 14 days, and not all of the flights were direct.

Toronto received more than twice as many infected flights than Vancouver, which saw nine over the past two weeks.

Montreal saw six infected flights, while Calgary received two — both from the United States arriving on Aug. 31.

Domestically, 11 in-Canada flights containing at least one confirmed COVID-19 case landed in Toronto over the past two weeks — five Air Canada, four WestJet, one Air Transat and one Flair Airlines.

That was followed by Vancouver which saw 10 domestic flights with a case, along with five landing in Edmonton, four in Calgary, two in Montreal, two in Regina, and one each in Victoria, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Hamilton, Ottawa and Halifax.

After weeks of mounting pressure, the federal government finally mandated in mid-March that international flights were only permitted to land at four airports in Canada in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

That rule, however, did not apply to flights arriving from the United States, Mexico or the Caribbean.

Anyone entering Canada is required to quarantine for 14 days. Essential workers such as airline pilots, flight crews and transport truck drivers are exempt from the mandatory quarantine rules.

While those in violation are subject to fines up to $750,000 and six months in jail, data from Health Canada reports no arrests in the 87,338 people investigated for potentially disregarding quarantine.


Air Canada 879 from Zurich, Switzerland (Aug. 31)
Air Canada 1255 from Kingston, Jamaica (Aug. 31)
Air Canada 43 from Delhi, India (Sept. 1)
Ethiopian Airlines 552 from Addis Ababa, Ethopia (Sept. 2)
GoJet/United Express 4552 from Chicago (Sept. 2)
United 3458 from Chicago (Sept. 2)
Turkish Airlines 17 from Istanbul, Turkey (Sept. 2)
Air Canada 1255 from Kingston, Jamaica (Sept. 2)
Air Canada 847 from Munich, Germany (Sept. 2)
Egypt Air 995 from Cairo, Egypt (Sept. 3)
Hi Fly 531 from Delhi, India (Sept. 3)
Air Canada 873 from Frankfurt, Germany (Sept. 4)
Turkish Airlines 17 from Istanbul (Sept. 4)
Air Canada 1255 from Kingston, Jamaica (Sept. 4)
LOT 45 from Warsaw, Poland (Sept. 4)
Air Canada 43 from Delhi, India (Sept. 5)
Air Canada 873 from Frankfurt, Germany (Sept. 5)
Lufthansa 470 from Frankfurt, Germany (Sept. 6)
AeroMexico616 from Mexico City (Sept. 6)
Air Canada 43 from Delhi, India (Sept. 7)
Turkish Airlines 17 from Istanbul, Turkey (Sept. 8)

(Source: Health Canada)