TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of Canada’s two biggest airlines fell on Tuesday after they warned U.S.-bound travelers to expect more flight delays and cancellations as security is beefed up in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. passenger plane.
Shares of Air Canada, the country’s No. 1 airline, were down 3.1 percent at C$1.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly after the market opened. Shares of WestJet Airlines Ltd fell 2.4 percent to C$12.16. The TSX was closed on Monday for the Boxing Day holiday.
Over the weekend, which was one of the busiest of the year for air travel, the new security measures led to massive lineups and missed flights. At Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest, one in 10 U.S.-bound aircraft were canceled on Sunday.
Air Canada said in a statement that passengers bound for the United States will now be subject to full searches both at airport screening points and before boarding at the aircraft gate area as a result of new rules enacted by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
Passengers flying to the United States are also being limited to one small piece of carry-on baggage. During the final hour in the air, they must remain seated and will not be allowed access to carry-on baggage, or to have personal belongings or other items on their laps.
“Passengers should also expect flight delays, cancellations and missed connections,” the airline said.
WestJet issued a similar statement on Tuesday, and said the new procedures are scheduled to be in effect until at least December 30.
The airline advised Canadians traveling abroad to be at the airport three hours before scheduled flight times.
The moves follow an attempt by a Nigerian man on Friday to set off an explosive device on a Delta Air Lines flight from Europe as it approached Detroit. The man was overpowered by passengers and crew and the aircraft landed safely.
A regional wing of al Qaeda in Yemen said it was behind the bombing attempt.
Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway