Canadians Crossing US Border Via Helicopter Despite Travel Ban

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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A helicopter company is charging over $900 to transport Canadians into the U.S. despite a ban on non-essential travel between the countries, Vertical Magazine reported in December.

Great Lakes Helicopter Corp is based out of Waterloo, Ontario, and offers 35 minute cross-border flights for $1,2oo Canadian, just over $900 USD, according to Vertical. The helicopter seats three people and flies between the St. Catharine’s airport in Canada and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York.

Canada does not allow foreign nationals to enter the country by any means of travel if the trip is non-essential, though Canadian citizens are permitted to cross the border, according to Air Canada.

“We’re up around a few hundred bookings to the end of January, even into early February,” General Manager at Great Lakes Helicopter Dwayne Henderson said, Vertical reported. “It’s not confirmed, but we’re even talking about doing Windsor/Detroit in January with one helicopter for a limited time, maybe three days a week.”

The company currently offers five daily flights from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. between its two helicopters Thursday through Monday, according to their website. People can opt to have their vehicle shipped into the U.S. by a trucking company for an additional $550 USD, or a truck and trailer or motorhome for around $1,300 USD.

“Customers go from the FBO in Hamilton, with no security or customs, to Buffalo, where Customs comes out to meet the helicopter. They’ve been very friendly; there have been no issues at all,” Henderson said, according to Vertical.

“It’s an easy process other than the wait times—there could be a bit of waiting in terms of how fast the truck gets across the border with their car. Passengers are very happy with the service. They think we have a great [business] model,” Henderson added.

The company was required to register with customs services, Vertical reported. (RELATED: Trudeau Defends Restricting US-Canada Border, Extends Regulations Into 2021)

Canadians may still enter the U.S. via commercial flight, though several of them are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, according to Vertical. Henderson said that most of his customers include retirees who own property in southern states. The company had completed 90 trips across the border as of Dec. 10, 2020.

The Great Lakes Helicopter Corp did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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