From: Department of Finance Canada ~ 30 March 2020
The Government of Canada recognizes the unprecedented disruption to the air transportation sector resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, air passenger traffic has declined significantly as governments around the world impose border restrictions and advise their citizens to avoid unnecessary travel as a measure to slow the progression of the disease.
Support to Airports
Airports rely on fees paid by airlines and passengers to sustain their operations. As passenger traffic declines, airports are seeing their revenues fall, while at the same time they need to ensure safe operations.
To help airports reduce cost pressures and preserve cash flow as they deal with the effects of COVID-19 on their revenue, the government is waiving rents paid on ground leases for the 21 airport authorities that form part of the National Airport System and that pay rent to the government. The government will waive rent payments for March 2020 through December 2020. The government is also providing comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, by waiving payments made to the federal government on revenues generated by the airport. This will provide relief up to $331.4 million, reflecting payments in the same period of 2018.
By waiving ground lease payments, the government is helping these airport authorities to preserve cash flow during the disruption. This will allow them to redeploy cash to help maintain their operations and to support recovery strategies. This approach is consistent with actions taken to support the sector during previous major disruptions, such as the SARS outbreak in 2003.
The 21 National Airport System airport authorities covered by this measure are not-for-profit, non-share capital corporations that pay rents to operate airports in Canada under long-term leases with Transport Canada. Rents are based on revenues earned from operating the airports and related lands, which are owned by the government.
The 21 airport authorities that will receive relief are:
St. John’s International Airport Authority
Gander International Airport Authority Inc.
Halifax International Airport Authority
Charlottetown Airport Authority Inc.
Saint John Airport Inc.
Greater Moncton International Airport Authority Inc.
Fredericton International Airport Authority
Aéroport de Québec Inc.
Aéroports de Montréal
Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority
Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Greater London International Airports Authority
Thunder Bay International Airports Inc.
Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.
Regina Airport Authority
Saskatoon Airport Authority
Edmonton Regional Airports Authority
Calgary Airport Authority
Prince George Airport Authority Inc.
Vancouver International Airport Authority
Victoria Airport Authority.
PortsToronto operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and pays an annual charge to Transport Canada based on the revenues it earns under the terms of its letters patent. PortsToronto revenues include those generated from operating Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
NETWORK AND SCHEDULE CHANGES – WestJet announces schedule updates through May 4 and select seasonal route start dates
On Thursday, March 26 WestJet marked the last day of our planned transborder (U.S.) and international (Europe, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean) flying due to the COVID-19 crisis and the closing of international borders.
This is a difficult time as we temporarily say goodbye to these airports that have helped WestJet grow beyond our domestic borders and brought the pleasure and ease of worldwide travel to millions of Canadians.
We thank all of our airport partners, our contractors and our guests for their support and we look forward to resuming flights when we emerge from these turbulent times.
INTERNATIONAL AND TRANSBORDER
As the crisis continues, we have now updated our international and transborder schedule to temporarily remove flying through May 4, 2020. For our guests who have booked their travel after April 22 through May 4, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.
Seasonal international route starts dates have been updated as follows:
Toronto – Barcelona starts June 5, 2020
Calgary – Rome starts June 4, 2020
Halifax – Manchester has been cancelled for summer 2020. WestJet will be reaccomodating guests on Halifax – London (Gatwick)
Our domestic schedule has also now been updated through May 4. Details remain the same as communicated earlier this week (see schedule below) with the exception of Grande Prairie. Due to newly reduced airport operating hours, we have reduced the daily Calgary – Grand Prairie schedule by two flights. WestJet will continue to fly once daily. In addition, Edmonton – Grande Prairie has been suspended until further notice.
Select seasonal domestic routes will start July 3, 2020 including:
Calgary – Whitehorse
Calgary – Dawson Creek
Calgary – Windsor
Toronto – Deer Lake
Halifax – Gander
For our guests who have booked their travel prior to July 3, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.
We understand the uncertainty our guests, WestJetters and partners face, and we thank them for their continued patience.
Affected employees are located in Yellowknife, Edmonton and Calgary
CBC News · Posted: Mar 27, 2020
Yellowknife-headquartered airline Summit Air has announced it will be laying off over a quarter of its workforce due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a news release Friday, the airline announced that 45 of its 170 employees will be leaving on “temporary involuntary leaves.” The layoffs impact all aspects of the business, including management, flight crews, administration, and mechanics.
The affected employees are located in Yellowknife, Edmonton and Calgary, the company said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the temporary closure or reduced operation of many of our customers’ businesses and operations, resulting in significant reductions in Summit Air’s revenue and flying hours,” Chief operating officer Lane Zirnhelt said in the release.
“To preserve our business for the future we made the difficult decision to cut operating costs in the short term.”
The release notes that operations of Summit Air’s sister company, Summit Helicopters, are not impacted by the announcement.
Summit Air is the second northern airline to announce major layoffs in the last two days, with Whitehorse-based Air North announcing Thursday that it would lay off more than half its employees.
Last week, Yellowknife-based Air Tindi announced it would lay off approximately 45 of its employees.
In the release, Zirnhelt noted that the company’s business model remains strong, and that Summit Air hopes “to be fully operational again once our clients resume their work.”
Provided directly from WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership
WESTJET DAILY MEDIA BRIEF – March 25, 2020
COVID-19 AIRCRAFT FOGGING
WestJet is now fogging all 737 and Q400 aircraft in YYC with disinfection spray as part of our enhanced overnight cleaning and sanitization regimen for COVID-19.
We expect to bring this process to Edmonton (end of week) and Toronto (early next week).
This process consists of fogging an entire aircraft (inside) to provide a complete disinfection using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleaner.
The process takes 15 minutes to complete and product dissipates within 20 minutes.
Fogging enables us to thoroughly disinfect an aircraft due to a possible COVID-19 case and allows us to load guests and continue flying with little disruption.
CHANGES TO INFLIGHT SERVICE
As of yesterday (March 24), we have made changes to our inflight service:
Hot drinks, hot meals and fresh food service has been suspended – mini buy-on-board are now available on demand only.
Guests in Economy will receive water service and complimentary snack.
Crews will continue to serve drinks and cold food in Premium using single-use cutlery and cups.
AIRCRAFT PARKING BY THE NUMBERS (please note this list is inclusive of the MAX)
Calgary, YYC: 56
Toronto, YYZ: 25
Vancouver, YVR: 14
Edmonton, YEG: 11
Arizona, MZJ: 10 (Boeing MAX)
Kelowna, YLW: 5
Winnipeg, YWG: 2
Northwest Regional Airport, YXT: 1
Sault Ste. Marie, YAM: 1
Halifax, YHZ: 1
AFFECTED FLIGHTS – visit the blog
The safety of our guests and crews is our top priority. It is our goal to be open and transparent throughout this rapidly evolving situation. This page will be updated regularly with information on COVID-19 impacted flights in our network.
Guests in affected rows of the below flights are considered close contacts and may be at risk for exposure. Public health officials recommend that affected individuals self-isolate for 14 days after arrival and monitor symptoms. Guests are advised to contact their primary care provider, or their local public health unit if they are concerned that they may have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
All guests who were on the listed flights, but not in the affected rows are advised to self-monitor for signs of cough, fever or respiratory issues and to call their local health authorities if symptoms arise within the next 14 days.
WestJet Flight 10 (WS10) Calgary (YYC) to Paris (CDG) Affected rows: N/A
WestJet Flight 9 (WS9) Paris (CDG) to Calgary (YYC) Affected rows: 2-6
WestJet Flight 2311 (WS2311) Cancun (CUN) to Calgary (YYC) Affected rows: ALL
WestJet Flight 3456 (WS3456) Toronto (YYZ) to Moncton (YQM) Affected rows: ALL
WestJet Flight 3016 (WS3016) Calgary (YYC) to Medicine Hat (YXH) Affected rows: 8-14
WestJet Flight 1571 (WS1571) Denver (DEN) to Calgary (YYC) Affected rows: ALL
WestJet Flight 3300 (WS3300) Calgary (YYC) to Regina (YQR) Affected rows: ALL
WestJet has repatriated more than 1800 Canadians on extra flights this week.
During this continued time of uncertainty, WestJet continues to repatriate Canadians from around the world.
Today, the airline announced that between Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25 WestJet will operate 34 repatriation flights to international and transborder destinations to ensure the safe return of WestJet guests and Canadians who remain abroad. Flights will operate empty as positioning flights from Canada.
These new flights are in addition to the 10 flights that WestJet has operated this week after the Prime Minister announced it was time to come home. WestJet will continue to add flights as the need is identified.
“In the face of this global crisis, WestJetters are dedicated to bringing Canadians home,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “WestJet is known for its caring spirit and will do the right thing for our country, for our guests and for our people.”
WestJet and WestJet Vacations guests with current reservations on or after March 23 will receive, if they have not already, an email notification of their schedule change. All guests are urged to check the status of their flight and their emails for the most up-to-date information pertaining to their revised departure.
Any remaining seats on these flights are now also available for booking to the Canadian public and are capped at our lowest economy fare for Canadians who require transportation home. We encourage guests to make reservations through westjet.com before contacting the contact centre for assistance.
Canadians abroad are also encouraged to register with Global Affairs Canada online at travel.gc.ca. We are working with the Government of Canada to facilitate additional flights to global destinations should they be required. WestJet will provide details as they become available.
For the safety of our guests, crew and all Canadian citizens, current public health measures will apply for all guests boarding a WestJet flight home.
Extra flights scheduled between March 23-25, 2020
Liberia, Costa Rica
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Puerto Plata, Dominican
San José, Costa Rica
Liberia, Costa Rica
Extra flights also operating between March 23-25, 2020 that are currently full
Flights between Yellowknife and Edmonton do not appear to be affected
Sidney Cohen · CBC News · Posted: Mar 19, 2020
Air Canada will soon suspend flights between Yellowknife and Calgary, and Yellowknife and Vancouver as part of major cuts to service in response to the novel coronavirus.
The Calgary-Yellowknife route will be suspended from March 23 to April 30, and the Vancouver-Yellowknife route will be put on hold between April 1 and April 30.
Flights between Yellowknife and Edmonton do not appear to be affected.
Susan Rintoul and her family are hoping to get back to Yellowknife on one of Air Canada’s Calgary-Yellowknife flights this weekend, right before the suspension goes into effect.
We just want to get back home.- Susan Rintoul
The family is in Deep River, Ont., near Ottawa, for a funeral. Yesterday they learned their return flight home with Air North was cancelled, but they were able to secure seats with Air Canada.
In the current climate, however, nothing is certain.
“We’ve been following Facebook all the time and we’ve been watching flights closing down, everybody declaring an emergency state in the provinces,” said Rintoul.
Rintoul is nervous about travelling through large airports in Ottawa and Calgary, but says the family is taking precautions: washing their hands and carrying Lysol wipes. They say they’ll self-monitor for symptoms when they get back to Yellowknife.
“We just want to get back home back to our dog and our cat and our life.”
The Calgary and Vancouver routes are among 42 domestic routes the airline plans to suspend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Air Canada has slashed its domestic network from 62 airports to 40 for the month of April. It could cut more airports if passenger demand drops further, or upon direction from the federal government.
Still, the airline says it intends to keep serving all provinces and territories.
“Our immediate focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive of Air Canada, in a statement on the airline’s website.
We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers.- Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada president
“At the same time, we are exploring with the government of Canada possibilities to maintain essential operations,” Rovinescu said.
“We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers and our business of the various travel restrictions that are being made by governments at unprecedented speed without advance warning.”
As of 1 p.m. Thursday, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories.
WestJet to cut domestic service by about 50 per cent
WestJet has not posted any changes to Yellowknife flights on its website, but a spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the airline plans to cut its domestic service by about 50 per cent. It hasn’t yet revealed which routes will be affected.
The airline says it will maintain “minimum passenger service levels” for every community in its network.
“We are confident that the steps we are taking will ensure the viability of our business, for the benefit of everyone who depends on us,” said Canadian North President and CEO Chris Avery, in a statement on its website.
Low-cost carrier takes on Swoop in battle for best deals
ZEBA KHAN – February 5, 2020
Flair Airlines is offering a three-month unlimited travel pass as competition in the discount air space heats up.
Flair’s Go Travel Pass, which runs from Feb. 13 to May 13, offers two options. The basic pass for $499 allows unlimited travel for three months with Fridays and Sundays excluded and some blackout days. The unlimited pass offers unlimited travel for all days of the week at $699 with no blackout dates.
The airline travels to Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto. It does not fly to Quebec.
“We are thrilled to offer our passengers the freedom and flexibility to travel with our unlimited pass. Whether you are a student who needs to visit home, a small business owner on a budget, a family needing to connect or an adventure seeker looking for your next thrill; all Canadians deserve to travel without hesitation,” Sarah Riches, director of commercial for Flair Airlines said in a press release Wednesday.
Flair is one of only two ultra-low cost airlines in Canada. WestJet affiliate Swoop Airlines is the second.
And competition has been fierce. Earlier this month Swoop held a loonie seat sale where the base cost for a seat was only a dollar before taxes, fees and extras.
Last year the Competition Bureau launched an investigation into Swoop over allegations that “predatory pricing” was used to try to crowd Flair out of some routes.
Flair last year sold a stake of its company to a U.S. private investment firm in a bid to boost its fleet to compete against its rival.
In less than two years, Canada’s ultra-low-cost carrier embraced a milestone achievement
CALGARY, Jan. 6, 2020 /CNW/ – Over the weekend, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., proudly announced that it has carried two million travellers since its first flight took off in June 2018. To commemorate this milestone achievement, Swoop presented an unsuspecting guest with a round-trip flight to anywhere Swoop flies. The lucky traveller, Travis Pickering, was surprised by Swoop on-board a flight from Edmonton International Airport (EIA) to McCarran International Airport with his wife and two children.
“Reaching this milestone of having flown two million travellers in this short timeframe affirms the need for Canadians to have affordable air travel options,” said Shane Workman, Head of Flight Operations, Swoop. “Swoop is humbled for the opportunity to be part of so many Canadians’ travel plans. Whether they were travelling to visit family, take a vacation or for business, we are honoured that Swoop has been the airline of choice for two million travellers.”
Since its launch, Swoop’s network has grown to serve 14 domestic, 10 transborder and four international markets, rapidly expanding the airline’s network across North America. Fulfilling a need in the Canadian marketplace, Swoop continues to make a positive impact in the aviation industry, becoming Canada’s leading domestic, transborder and international ultra-low-cost carrier, with the new 2020 summer schedule set to increase Swoop’s frequency to 328 ultra-low fare weekly flights.
The low-cost, unbundled model that Swoop has introduced to the Canadian air travel landscape, ensures fares remain ultra-low, with a base fare that starts with just the seat, giving travellers the power to add the things they want, and nothing they don’t.
In addition to the round-trip flight giveaway, Swoop also provided all travellers on the flight from Edmonton to Las Vegas with cookies, champagne and some fun Swoop swag. You can watch the surprise and celebration here: https://youtu.be/vbet2z1-xag
“Congratulations to Swoop on its great milestone. We’re happy that Edmonton International Airport can share in this achievement,” said Tom Ruth, president & CEO for EIA. “We look forward to Swoop’s continued success offering more flights to more places for our passengers.”
“Since launching Las Vegas routes in 2018, Swoop has been an incredible partner in expanding affordable opportunities for Canadians to experience our world-class destination,” said Chris Jones, chief marketing officer for McCarran International Airport. “In 2019, we celebrated serving 50 million passengers for the first time in a single year thanks in part to Swoop passengers. We are honored to return the favor by helping to welcome its 2 millionth passenger.”
“Swoop has been a welcome addition to the Las Vegas market and we are proud to celebrate this milestone with them,” said H. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Canada is our number one source for international visitors and it’s important to have convenient and affordable service to Las Vegas through airlines like Swoop to further encourage Canadians to visit. With nearly $17 billion in new development including new resorts, convention and meeting space, sports and entertainment venues and more, there’s no better time to visit Las Vegas. The airline has been a great partner for us, and we’re excited to continue working with them to increase connectivity to showcase all the new amenities the destination has to offer.”
The past 18 months has seen Swoop grow tremendously. From an initial fleet of three aircraft and a network of five Canadian cities, the airline now boasts nine aircraft and service to 20 destinations throughout Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Swoop also has plans for additional fleet and service to more destinations in 2020.