Business taking off at London International Airport as coronavirus restrictions begin loosening

News from Global News – link to story

ByJacquelyn LeBel 980 CFPL | Posted June 30, 2020

The entrance and sign to London International Airport on July 19, 2017.
The entrance and sign to London International Airport on July 19, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

The airline industry has been hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but the London International Airport is starting to see a bit of a turnaround.

Gary Vanderhoek, manager of commercial services and passenger experience, says the airport had four flights scheduled on Tuesday.

“After the last 100 days of basically no flying at the airport, it’s amazing to see a bit of a comeback,” he said on London Live with Mike Stubbs.

“It’s about a quarter of what we used to see — we were up to 30 flights a day at one time.”

Vanderhoek says the airport started a new program on June 22 to “regain some of that passenger confidence.” The program, Flight Path to Recovery, outlines all of the policies and procedures implemented in response to the pandemic.

Airplanes have been operating at about half capacity for physical-distancing purposes but as of July 1, those restrictions will be eased. Some health experts have highlighted the risks of spreading COVID-19 in crowded airports and packed cabins, but director of the Harvard public health school’s Healthy Buildings program Joseph Allen said the HEPA air filters used on most planes effectively control airborne bacteria and viruses.

“One piece of confidence (passengers) can definitely take into account,” he added, “is aircraft have very strong air filters. There’s a HEPA air filter on most of them. Yes, there’s some movement of air on the aircraft but it does filter the air better than what it would, say, normally in a confined space that you’d see anywhere, that you’d see in a restaurant, let’s say.”

In line with federal directives, Air Canada and WestJet also conduct pre-boarding temperature checks and require masks on board. They have also implemented enhanced aircraft cleaning and scaled back their in-flight service in late March, cutting out hot drinks, hot meals and fresh food.

Vanderhoek says the airport has been pretty lucky in June with about three flights a day and four additional flights a week.

“Again, a far cry from where we used to be but nice story is that the bookings are solid enough that people are starting to come back.”

While Vanderhoek notes volume is generally increasing, Air Canada announced on Tuesday that it’s discontinuing service on 30 domestic routes — including its London to Ottawa route — and closing eight stations at airports across the country amid weakened demand for travel due to the novel coronavirus and measures put in place to limit its spread.

— with files from The Canadian Press’ Christopher Reynolds and Global News’ Andrew Russell.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Airlines need aid or ability to fly to escape ‘catastrophic territory,’ Air Canada CEO warns

News from Vancouver Sun – link to story

Barbara Shecter  •  Publishing date:Jun 30, 2020

Air Canada aircraft sit on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said the airline is operating at just five per cent, a lower level than any prior crisis. COLE BURSTON/BLOOMBERG
Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu ZACH GIBSON/BLOOMBERG

The chief executive of Canada’s largest air carrier says it’s time for the federal government to either relax pandemic-related restrictions on travel or provide more aid to a beleaguered airline industry that has been left “basically … in shutdown mode” due to measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Airlines need aid or ability to fly to escape ‘catastrophic territory,’ Air Canada CEO warns

“This is catastrophic territory,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu told the Financial Post in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “This is hundreds of times worse than 9/11, SARS, or the global financial crisis — quite frankly combined…. We never got to the level when we were only operating at five per cent in any of those circumstances, you know, other than the three days of shut-down post 9/11.”

Rovinescu said “broad brush” blanket travel advisories were appropriate in March and April when little was understood about the virus and how COVID-19 was transmitted, but that jurisdictions such as the European Union have since moved to create “safe corridors” or “travel bubbles” based on science and virus tracking, with “bio-safety” measures put in place in airports and on flights.

“In my opinion, that’s the way to go,” he said, adding that there has been “dialogue” with government officials, but no significant movement to ease global or domestic restrictions for Canadian airlines. Those include mandatory 14-day quarantines that Rovinescu described as putting “the cold shower” on business travel. He said the blanket approach has persisted even as Canada’s virus reproduction rate has been contained below a key threshold that was understood to be the key to easing some restrictions.

Right now, we’re closed to business by government decree


“Right now, we’re closed to business by government decree,” he said.

Meanwhile, while Canadian air carriers such as Air Canada have had to raise funds to offset their high fixed costs and cash burn, their global counterparts including American Airlines, United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Air France and KLM in the Netherlands are receiving billions of dollars and euros in government aid and rescue packages, he said.

That aid “is something of a recognition that airlines are a key driver of economic activity,” Rovinescu said, adding that while Air Canada generated nearly $20 billion in revenue last year, it is estimated to have enabled spin-off revenue at other companies — from food service to aircraft maintenance — of around $50 billion.

We’ve gone from a health crisis to a very serious economic crisis


Since the pandemic began to take a toll on its business in the first quarter, Air Canada has raised about $5.5 billion to offset fixed costs and cash burn. Nevertheless, in mid-May the company announced it would have to lay off 20,000 workers.

“We’ve gone from a health crisis to a very serious economic crisis,” Rovinescu said, adding that the business sector and governments should be working collaboratively to reopen the economy in a safe way.

For the airline industry, which competes internationally, there has to be movement soon, either in the form of government aid or eased travel restrictions, he said.

“Either one or the other or both. But it can’t be neither.”

By the third quarter, Air Canada had hoped to be operating at about 25 per cent of capacity, Rovinescu said, adding that he believes public safety and a sustainable airline industry should not be viewed as a “zero sum game” or mutually exclusive.

“We can absolutely achieve both,” he said.

Such efforts have not been entirely smooth so far. A recent relaxation by the airline industry enabling carriers to fill seats on planes rather than leave empty seats between passengers has prompted some blowback on social media, particularly in the United States where mask-wearing has not been universal.

But Rovinescu said there is a “chicken and egg” argument to be made, suggesting that allowing customers to travel to geographies that have had the virus under control for a period of time would increase confidence levels, in part because increased sanitation measures, mask-wearing and temperature checks have already been put in place.

Thank you, Craig from YVR

From Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR)

June 30, 2020 · Annalisa King

On behalf of Vancouver Airport Authority’s Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize our very own Craig Richmond, who retired from his position as President & CEO today, June 30.

Craig demonstrated exceptional leadership over the last seven years. Shortly after rejoining YVR in 2013, he made his mark, with how the airport was going to do things, and courageously lead the Airport Authority team through a period of rapid growth that saw passenger traffic increase by 46 per cent. Under his leadership, YVR saw so many new things—expanding our destinations all over the world, working with Air Canada to become their transpacific hub, embarking on some ambitious expansion projects and championing innovation, such as our award-winning BorderXpress kiosks. And of course, winning the Skytrax award for Best Airport in North America for a record 11 years!

Much of the how was that Craig always made sure to focus on people. He believes that everyone who wants to fly should be able to fly and championed YVR’s push for greater accessibility, recognized in our gold certification status from the Rick Hansen Foundation. He was a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion, having worked closely with our team to ensure our workforce strives to reflect the communities we serve. And he took sustainability seriously, pushing our team to make sure we benefit the region by being a good neighbor, a community contributor, a thriving business and an environmental steward.

He also saw the power in being a community-based, not-for-profit. Our sense of profit for purpose thrived and grew under his leadership, fostering tremendous progress. But Perhaps the pinnacle illustration of this was when Craig and his team worked closely with Musqueam to create the historic Musqueam Indian Band – YVR Airport Sustainability & Friendship Agreement, a monumental effort that Craig has always said is one of his proudest achievements, and I certainly agree.

There are many more highlights that demonstrate Craig’s excellence, but, above all, the most powerful example is the simple fact that he is genuine. He could keep the hard pace that his position demanded, all while enjoying a laugh at his own expense and engaging with his team on a daily basis. It definitely made YVR a fun and amazing place! I have said, on several occasions recently, as we celebrate Craig that his heart will live on at YVR forever, and though we will miss him we will always celebrate his memory.

Craig, there’s so much for you to be proud of. You have led the YVR team through bright and challenging times and we are a better airport for it.

Thank you so much and enjoy your retirement.

Annalisa King
Chair, Board of Directors
Vancouver Airport Authority

France has reopened its borders to Canadian travellers

From Atout France Canada | 30 June 2020

On June 30, France and the other Member States of the European Union adopted a recommendation on the reopening of Europe’s external borders from July 1, 2020, to a first list of fourteen countries, including Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, as well as China, subject to reciprocity. This list will be reviewed every two weeks.

In view of the satisfactory epidemiological evolution on European territory, new measures have been adopted following the decisions taken on June 15 with regards to the reopening of European borders (Schengen area) and the opening of borders to international visitors after July 1.


The first countries eligible for this reopening are: Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Uruguay, three North African States (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), two Eastern European States (Montenegro, Serbia) and Georgia.

The United States, Russia, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are, at this stage, excluded from this list, as the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic is considered to be more serious there than in Europe. The reopening of borders with China is moreover suspended on the principle of reciprocity (China has not yet reopened its borders to European travellers).

As a reminder, the internal borders of the European Union – Schengen area reopened June 15 (and Spain’s on June 21). All health and security measures are being taken on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the border restrictions are lifted in the best possible conditions.

However, the British government (the United Kingdom being, in the post-Brexit transition period, still considered as an EU Member State) has decided to impose since June 8 a 2-week period quarantine on foreign travellers, therefore France is applying the rule of reciprocity until further notice. However, the 2-week period quarantine measure should evolve in the near-future.  

France was visited by 1.2 million Canadians in 2018.

More information on reopening and sanitary precaution’s in France can be found on

FLYHT Announces Receipt of Statement of Claim

From FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd.

CALGARY, Alberta, June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd. (TSX-V: FLY) (OTCQX: FLYLF) (the “Company” or “FLYHT”) has received a statement of claim from Thomas R. Schmutz (former Chief Executive Officer of FLYHT) in the amount of $525,000 CAD in relation to the termination of his employment with the Company (previously announced June 8, 2020). More details will be announced by the Company in due course including further actions from FLYHT in relation to these matters.

The matters raised in the lawsuit are considered by the Company to be unfounded and unproven allegations that will be vigorously defended. Although no assurances can be given with respect to the outcome of such proceedings, the Company believes it has valid defenses to this claim and accordingly has not recorded any related liability at this time. 

Bombardier Global 7500 Jet Receives Business Aviation’s First-ever Environmental Product Declaration

From Bombardier Business Aircraft

  • Third-party audited Global 7500 Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) published by the International EPD® System provides detailed information about the aircraft’s life cycle environmental footprint
  • The multiple award-winning Global 7500 aircraft is the largest and longest-range business jet in the industry, offering Bombardier’s signature smooth ride and an unrivalled cabin experience

MONTREAL, June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bombardier Aviation and the International EPD® System, an environmental declaration program based in Sweden, announced today a first in business aviation with the publication of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Bombardier’s Global 7500 jet.

The Global 7500 aircraft EPD is third-party verified to the highest international ISO standards1. It discloses fully transparent environmental information about the product’s life cycle, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption and other key environmental impact indicators. Bombardier has committed to communicating the environmental performance of all new aircraft programs through EPDs.

The publication of the Global 7500 aircraft EPD is an important milestone in the advancement of Bombardier Aviation’s overarching environmental sustainability strategy, which encompasses increasing the adoption of Sustainable Alternative Fuels (SAF), reducing CO2 footprint, enhancing aircraft recyclability, and sustainably sourcing, all as a part of its Eco-Design approach and in support of industry-wide carbon reduction goals.

“We are proud to collaborate with Bombardier in its effort to provide full transparency about the environmental performance of its Global 7500 jet from a life cycle perspective. With the publication of the first business jet EPD in our system, Bombardier is striving to provide customers and stakeholders with the full environmental picture. The EPD is third-party verified and complies with the globally accepted ISO standards – ISO 14025 and related – for type III environmental declarations,” said Sebastiaan Stiller, Director Business, The International EPD® System.

The Bombardier Eco-Design team applied its product innovation life cycle process throughout the development of the Global 7500 aircraft to minimize the jet’s impact on the environment, from the design and manufacture of the aircraft to end-of-life. The Global 7500 aircraft is the first business jet conceived with this approach. The Global 7500 aircraft EPD is also the outcome of years of collaboration with Bombardier’s supply chain, a rigorous analysis from the program’s outset and robust certification process completed throughout 2019.

“The EPD for the Global 7500 business jet embodies Bombardier’s commitment both to the environment and to the sustainable advancement of the aviation industry,” said David Coleal, President, Bombardier Aviation. “We are thrilled to offer a comprehensive environmental footprint and performance overview of the Global 7500 aircraft throughout its life cycle. By making this information available to our stakeholders, including operators, this EPD supports the business aviation industry’s broader approach to fight climate change through clear, transparent goals and associated multipronged plans that encompass technology and sustainable fuels.”

Bombardier designed the state-of-the-art Global 7500 business jet using best-in-class technologies. The Global 7500 aircraft is powered by the all-new GE Passport engine, incorporating advanced technologies and materials to improve durability, deliver a lower noise output and improved fuel consumption. Additionally, its new high-speed transonic wing cuts down on drag, reduces fuel burn, and lowers emissions, offering a smooth ride, as well as excellent short-field and high-speed performance.

Since its entry-into-service, the Global 7500 business jet has proven itself to be the highest-performing aircraft in the industry. With unmatched speed and range capabilities, the Global 7500 aircraft continues to blaze the trail in this new market segment, setting the bar for unprecedented excellence and performance in the world of business aviation. Winner of the 2019 Aviation Week Grand Laureate Award, and recipient of the 2019 Robb Report Best of the Best Business Jet of the Year Award and the 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design, the Global 7500 aircraft offers Bombardier’s signature smooth ride and a spaciousness that is unique among business jets, setting the benchmark for the most exceptional cabin interior.

About the International EPD® System
The International EPD® System is a program for voluntary and transparent communication of the life cycle environmental impact of goods and services. With more than 15 years of experience, and a library consisting of certified environmental product declarations from 31 countries, EPD serves as a credible choice for B2B and B2C communication based on ISO 14025 and other international standards. The program operator of the International EPD® System is EPD International AB, registered in Sweden.

Chorus Aviation Comments on Air Canada’s Discontinuation of Service to Certain Regional Markets

From Chorus Aviation Inc

HALIFAX, NS, June 30, 2020 /CNW/ – Chorus Aviation Inc. (TSX: CHR) (‘Chorus’) provides the following comment on Air Canada’s announcement earlier today regarding the discontinuation of service to certain regional markets.

Air Canada has announced the discontinuation of 30 regional routes, 21 of which are operated by Jazz Aviation LP (‘Jazz’), and the closure of eight stations at regional airports, all of which are managed by Jazz. Details of the route suspensions and station closures are provided in Air Canada’s news release.

“The COVID-19 crisis and provincial and federal government-imposed travel restrictions and border closures are having a significant negative effect on passenger demand for Canadian air travel,” commented Joe Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus.  “I am saddened by the impact today’s announcement will have on our employees, suppliers and the affected communities, but respect and understand the difficult choice our partner, Air Canada, has had to make.”

Jazz and Air Canada are parties to a capacity purchase agreement (the ‘CPA’) with a term extending through the end of 2035. Under the CPA, Air Canada purchases substantially all of Jazz’s fleet capacity and pays certain fixed margin fees, performance incentives and compensation for operating costs (including aircraft lease rents) and makes all decisions with respect to marketing that capacity. Jazz’s compensation does not vary with flight activity and remains unchanged with this announcement.

Workers at Jazz Aviation and Exploits Valley Air Services oppose service reduction announcement

From Unifor

TORONTO, June 30, 2020 /CNW/ – Jazz Aviation and EVAS represented by Unifor Local 2002 are disappointed with Air Canada’s major reduction in services announcement.

 “Airline workers should not have to continue to bear the burden of this global pandemic’s economic effects due to ongoing travel restrictions,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “What workers need is for the federal government to take immediate action to develop an effective airlines strategy that preserves Canadian jobs.” 

The reduction in service was announced because of ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions as part of the government’s pandemic response. Air Canada announced today that approximately thirty routes have been cancelled and eight airport stations will be closed indefinitely.  

“We fully understand the difficult situation the pandemic has created for the global industry, but our airline workers are counting on the Prime Minister to take leadership to support and preserve Canada’s airline industry,said Euila Leonard, President of Unifor Local 2002.

On March 28, 2020, Unifor joined with other Canadian airline unions in sharing concerns and providing solutions to help bring stability and prosperity back to the industry. Unifor has specifically called on the government to ensure that any aid package delivered to any sector, including air travel, must be accompanied by strong, enforceable conditions that ensure funds are dedicated to maintaining current workers’ income and creating new opportunities for employment.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at

Air Canada Discontinues Service on 30 Domestic Regional Routes and Closes Eight Stations in Canada

From Air Canada

Regional flying rationalized due to COVID-19 and government travel restrictions, part of airline’s Cost Reduction Program to reduce cash burn

MONTREAL, June 30, 2020  /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada said today that it is indefinitely suspending service on 30 domestic regional routes and closing eight stations at regional airports in Canada. 

These structural changes to Air Canada’s domestic regional network are being made as a result of continuing weak demand for both business and leisure travel due to COVID-19 and provincial and federal government-imposed travel restrictions and border closures, which are diminishing prospects for a near-to-mid-term recovery.

As the company has previously reported, Air Canada expects the industry’s recovery will take a minimum of three years. As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks as the airline takes steps to decisively reduce its overall cost structure and cash burn rate.

A full list of route suspensions and station closures is below.

As a result of COVID-19, Air Canada reported a net loss of $1.05 billion in the first quarter of 2020, including a net cash-burn in March of $688 million. The carrier has undertaken a range of structural changes including significant cost savings and liquidity measures, of which today’s announced service suspensions form part. Other measures include:

  • A workforce reduction of approximately 20,000 employees, representing more than 50 per cent of its staff, achieved through layoffs, severances, early retirements and special leaves;
  • A company-wide Cost Reduction and Capital Deferral Program, that has to date identified around $1.1 billion in savings;
  • A reduction of its system-wide capacity by approximately 85 per cent in the second quarter compared to last year’s second quarter and an expected third quarter capacity reduction of at least 75% from the third quarter of 2019;
  • The permanent removal of 79 aircraft from its mainline and Rouge fleets;
  • And raising approximatively $5.5 billion in liquidity since March 13, 2020, through a series of debt, aircraft and equity financings.

Further initiatives are being considered.

Route Suspensions

The following routes will be suspended indefinitely as per applicable regulatory notice requirements. Affected customers will be contacted by Air Canada and offered options, including alternative routings where available.

Maritimes/Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Deer Lake-Goose Bay;
  • Deer Lake-St. John’s;
  • Fredericton-Halifax;
  • Fredericton-Ottawa;
  • Moncton-Halifax;
  • Saint John-Halifax;
  • Charlottetown-Halifax;
  • Moncton-Ottawa;
  • Gander-Goose Bay;
  • Gander-St. John’s;
  • Bathurst-Montreal;
  • Wabush-Goose Bay;
  • Wabush-Sept-Iles;
  • Goose Bay-St. John’s.


  • Baie Comeau-Montreal;
  • Baie Comeau-Mont Joli;
  • Gaspé-Iles de la Madeleine;
  • Gaspé-Quebec City;
  • Sept-Iles-Quebec City;
  • Val d’Or-Montreal;
  • Mont Joli-Montreal;
  • Rouyn-Noranda-Val d’Or;
  • Kingston-Toronto;
  • London-Ottawa;
  • North Bay-Toronto
  • Windsor-Montreal

Western Canada: 

  • Regina-Winnipeg;
  • Regina-Saskatoon;
  • Regina-Ottawa;
  • Saskatoon-Ottawa.

Station Closures

The following are the Regional Airports where Air Canada is closing its stations:

  • Bathurst (New Brunswick)
  • Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Gaspé (Quebec)
  • Baie Comeau (Quebec)
  • Mont Joli (Quebec)
  • Val d’Or (Quebec)
  • Kingston (Ontario)
  • North Bay (Ontario)

Air Canada racks up more refund complaints than any foreign airline in U.S.

News from City News 1130 – link to story

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS | Posted Jun 29, 2020

An Air Canada ticketing station is shown at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Air Canada has more customer complaints about refunds to the U.S. Department of Transportation than any foreign airline. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Air Canada has more customer complaints about refunds to the U.S. Department of Transportation than any foreign airline.

The department says Air Canada racked up 969 refund complaints out of about 7,500 in April, outpacing more than 80 non-U.S. carriers in the category.

The Montreal-based airline has the third-most refund complaints of any carrier, after United Airlines and American Airlines.

Air Canada and other Canadian airlines have refused to reimburse most customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S., like the European Union, requires airlines to refund passengers, meaning a complaint to the U.S. transportation department offers a potential path to reimbursement for some Air Canada customers who have been turned down north of the border.

Despite the high complaint numbers, Air Canada carries fewer passengers on flights with a U.S. segment than British Air and Lufthansa as well as four U.S. airlines.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. ranks right below Air Canada in cross-border passenger numbers but garnered the 10th-most refund complaints at 217, tying with Air France. WestJet has said customers on U.S. or U.K. flights are entitled to refunds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

The Canadian Press