By Ban Zhang
An online petition crying for more regular passenger flights between Canada and China has reached 13,700 signatories since it started on October 4, 2023, on Change.org.
With the headline Restore Regular Air Travel between Canada and China, the petition was addressed directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Members of Parliament, and Representatives of the Canadian Government to express the petition starters’ deep concern regarding the significant reduction of air flights between Canada and China.
“We strongly urge the government to engage in diplomatic dialogues and negotiations with the Chinese government to resolve the prevailing challenges and work towards restoring regular air travel between the two countries as soon as possible,” written in the petition.
Air travel between the two countries has become a mission inaccessible since the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, both countries’ airlines operate passenger direct flights at 10 flights a week, including four flights by Air Canada, one flight each by Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines from both Vancouver’s YVR and Toronto’s YYZ airports.
In summer 2019, the number of flights between the two countries was operated at over 100 flights a week. This means the current flight numbers are only at one-tenth of the regular level in a normal situation.
“The reduction of flights makes fewer seats available to travellers, and makes it more expensive for the tickets,” says Tony Yin, a tourism operator for over 20 years in Vancouver.
He says economy-class flights to China are costing his clients three times the price they paid in 2019. “Many people are very frustrated,” he continued, “and have to postpone their travels or reduce the frequency of travels between the two countries. This makes it hard for travellers, and even harder for our tourism business operators.”
Ally Wang recently travelled back to China after nearly four years of putting the family visit on hold. To get a cheaper air ticket, she chose a non-direct flight. She had to make two stops before getting to the final destination. “I have to spend over 24 hours to get there one way. In the past, it was normally 12 hours of direct flight. I was so tired.”
The online petition was started by J. Li based in Richmond Hill, Canada, who writes that “re-establishing flight connectivity will not only alleviate the hardships faced by Canadians of Chinese descent but also contribute positively to the multicultural fabric of Canada, enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation between our two nations.”
Finally, the petition concludes that “we humbly request the prompt attention and action of the Canadian federal government in this matter, advocating for the human rights of family reunion, cultural connection, and international collaboration.”
- Ban Zhang is a Vancouver-based writer.
- Change.org is a website that allows public users to create and sign petitions to advance various social causes by raising awareness and influencing decision-makers.
- The site is operated by a San Francisco-based for-profit technology company. It claims to have nearly 526 million users and to achieve 93,373 victories in 196 countries as of January 2024.
Voices & Bridges publishes opinions like this from the community to encourage constructive discussion and debate on important issues. Views represented in the articles are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the V&B.