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7 Things To Know If You’re A Canadian Travelling Internationally This Week

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If you’ve got an international flight coming up or you’re planning a trip, there are several travel updates affecting international airports and destinations that you’ll want to know about.

From new travel advisories issued by the Canadian government to how winter weather is affecting international flights, here’s what to know before travelling abroad.

Canada travel advisories

If you’re travelling abroad, you’ll want to keep in mind these travel advisories issued by the Canadian government.

  • Peru declares state of emergency: A recently updated travel advisory for the country warns Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution in Peru due to high levels of crime as well as social conflicts and strikes that may occur across the country. On January 10, 2024, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the northern regions bordering Ecuador following the Government of Ecuador’s declaration of a nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” a day earlier. The state of emergency is in effect in the regions of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, Piura and Tumbes. If you are in these regions, you should carry identification with you at all times, says the Government of Canada.
  • Ecuador declares nationwide state of “internal armed conflict”: On January 9, 2024, the Government of Ecuador declared a nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” to allow security forces to better respond to a sharp increase in gang violence across the country, including in Guayaquil and Quito, according to a travel advisory by the Government of Canada. There are reports of small explosions, attacks on businesses, and car burnings. A nationwide curfew is also in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. While the curfew is in effect, you must stay indoors, but an exception is in place to allow travellers to go to and from the airport for scheduled flights. Those travelling to or from the airport after the curfew is in effect should ensure that they have ID and their flight information on hand to show authorities.
  • Mexico still dealing with violence in Guerrero state: In 2023, Canada updated its travel advisory for Mexico to warn tourists to avoid all travel to Guerrero state, home to the Mexican city of Acapulco, a popular vacation spot. The warning came due to the precarious security situation in Guerrero following damage by Hurricane Otis, with the government warning that there is a threat of armed violence, banditry, and looting in cities and on roads. According to ABC News, violence in the region hasn’t ceased, with Acapulco’s main business chamber reporting that gang threats and attacks have caused around 90% of the city’s passenger vans to stop running and forced businesses to close early last week.
  • Iceland volcano erupts: On January 14, 2024, a volcanic eruption occurred in Iceland near the town of Grindavik, according to Canada’s travel advisory for the country. Authorities are assessing the situation and have evacuated the area, including the town of Grindavik and the popular Blue Lagoon. Clouds of volcanic gas could move towards Reykjavik in the following days, which could bring potentially dangerous pollution levels to the city. While Keflavik International Airport (the country’s main airport) has not been affected, those travelling to the country are advised to avoid areas close to mountains and steep slopes on the Reykjanes peninsula due to danger of falling rocks and landslides, monitor local media, and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

WestJet flight delays and cancellations

More than 500 WestJet flights were cancelled in recent days as the airline dealt with issues brought on by extremely cold temperatures affecting Western Canada.

The airline said on Monday that it had “made significant progress in stabilizing [its] operation,” and expected regular operations to resume on January 16.

“To assist guests impacted by weather-related disruptions, WestJet is adding capacity and segments where possible,” WestJet said in a statement posted online.

A number of WestJet flights departing from Calgary International Airport were delayed on January 16, including international flights, though weather conditions have improved vastly across Western Canada, with temperatures rising from the deep freeze experienced last week.

However, the west coast is not quite out of trouble, with freezing rain forecast to target B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. In light of the bad weather, WestJet says that flexible change/cancel guidelines have been announced for guests travelling to or from the West Coast region between January 16 and 17.

Powerful US storm disrupts air travel

More than 2,000 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were cancelled on Tuesday, according to FlightAware, as a powerful storm affects the country.

Storms in the U.S. Northeast also contributed to more than 5,000 delays and ended snowless streaks in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.

More than 100 flights have been cancelled on January 16 at La Guardia Airport in New York and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, DC. U.S. airlines including Southwest and United saw hundreds of their flights cancelled on the same day.

United is reminding travellers to check current travel waivers if they have a trip that’s impacted and want to reschedule.

According to CNN, nearly 80% of the U.S. will see below-freezing temperatures over the next week as another shot of cold air spreads across the country, which may further impact travel operations.

Major US airport says to expect delays amid runway closure

Canadians travelling through San Franciso International Airport this year will want to brace for delays as a planned runway closure goes into effect.

Starting on January 16, the airport, which is one of the busiest in the U.S. according to Afar, will close Runway 28 Left for five months as part of a taxiway improvement project, the airport says.

The closure is expected to be in effect until summer 2024. Since the closure will reduce the airport’s overall runway capacity, SFO is advising travellers that delays are possible during the closure period.

From January to April, the airport anticipates that about one-third of flights may experience delays from 30-60 minutes, particularly during peak travel periods, with both domestic and international flights expected to be affected.

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