Halifax International Airport Authority reducing staff by 25 per cent: CEO

News from Global News – link to story

BY GRAEME BENJAMIN GLOBAL NEWS |Posted June 2, 2020

An Air Canada jet takes off from Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Thursday, March 8, 2012.
 An Air Canada jet takes off from Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Thursday, March 8, 2012. Andrew Vaughan/CP

The president and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) has let stakeholders know that the number of staff members will be reduced by 25 per cent.

“In my 20 years at HIAA, I never thought I would be dealing with such an extreme situation that has so dramatically shifted our business in a short period of time,” Joyce Carter said in a statement dated Tuesday.

Carter said the reduction in staff is needed to match expected airport operations and service delivery requirements over the next few years.

She said the company doesn’t expect flight volumes to return to 2019 levels for many years, which will “drastically reduce the available revenue that is required for the safe and efficient operation of the airport.”

“We sincerely regret having to do layoffs,” she said.

“We’ve been fortunate to build on a strong foundation over the past 20 years that HIAA has been managing and operating the airport.”

“Our people are a big part of the reason we are consistently recognized among the best airports of our size in the world, and therefore, taking this step is heartbreaking.”

Carter said notices have been issued to a number of union and non-union employees, which followed earlier steps taken such as freezing hiring, not filling several vacant positions, ending term, seasonal and student contracts, and asking for voluntary leaves.

It’s currently unclear how many employees will be impacted by the layoffs.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesperson Tiffany Chase 225 people are usually employed, including terms and students.

Carter added that the airport served fewer passengers in the entire month of April than on an average day in 2019.

“This is a really tough time for our team — those individuals who are personally affected, their colleagues, and all employees who will be facing big changes with this announcement,” she said.

“It will take time, but we’re confident that we’ll recover with the right-sized organization focused on safely and efficiently operating the airport post-pandemic and be ready to welcome you once again.”

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

Halifax motorcade to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey on Sunday

News from CBC News – link to story

Public affairs officer died in crash of Canadian Forces Snowbirds plane last week in B.C.

CBC News · Posted: May 24, 2020 6:00 AM AT | Last Updated: 4 hours ago

Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer with the Snowbirds, died on May 17. (Royal Canadian Air Force)

Capt. Jennifer Casey is returning to her home city of Halifax today and there will be a motorcade in her honour from the airport to the funeral home.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds public affairs officer and former journalist died on May 17 when the aircraft she was in crashed after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C.

That final flight was part of the Snowbirds’ cross-country tour to recognize the efforts of Canadians in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBC News will carry a live stream of the procession, which starts at 5 p.m. AT.

At the request of Casey’s family, spectators are asked to respect physical distancing measures in relation to COVID-19. They’re also encouraging people to wear the colours of the Snowbirds — red and white — in Casey’s honour.

Governor General Julie Payette will also attend the homecoming ceremony at the Halifax airport on Sunday, according to a release from her office.

The planned motorcade route is:

  • From the Park & Fly parking lot to Highway 102.
  • Highway 102 to Bayers Road.
  • Bayers Road to Connaught Avenue.
  • Right onto Connaught Avenue to Almon Street.
  • Left onto Almon Street to Agricola Street.
  • Left onto Agricola Street to Highland Avenue.
  • Slight right onto Highland Avenue to Woodbine Avenue.
  • Left onto Woodbine Avenue to Rosemeade Avenue.
  • Left onto Rosemeade Avenue to Hillside Avenue.
  • Right onto Hillside Avenue to Robie Street.
  • Right onto Robie Street to Normandy Drive.
  • Left onto Normandy Drive to High Street.
  • Left onto High Street to Lady Hammond Road.
  • Left onto Lady Hammond Road to Robie Street.
  • Right onto Robie Street to Young Street.
  • Right onto Young Street to the Windsor Street intersection; continue straight onto Bayers Road.
  • Continue on Bayers Road to Atlantic Funeral Home.

Halifax airport operating at 2 per cent capacity

News from CBC News – link to story

‘Right now our predictions are to get back to 2019 passenger levels by 2024’

CBC News · Posted: May 13, 2020

Halifax Stanfield International Airport does not anticipate the number of passengers will return to 2019 levels until at least 2024. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Halifax’s airport is operating at two per cent capacity due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic — and staff do not expect to see passenger numbers return to last year’s levels until at least 2024.

On a typical day in May, there are usually 11,000 travellers flying in and out of Halifax Stanfield International Airport. That number is now at roughly 200 to 300 passengers on just a handful of flights — down 98 per cent.

“It’s actually really quite sad. Things are empty and things are very quiet and we certainly miss our passengers,” said Joyce Carter, president and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority.

The federal government has restricted all non-essential traffic during the pandemic. Canadian airports are non-profit organizations that depend on passengers and airlines to pay the bills.

On average, the Halifax airport makes $100 million in annual revenue. Carter said she expects that number to be about half this year.

“When you come to the airport if you do buy a coffee or a burger, those agreements are with tenants and we do get a portion of that revenue,” she said. “So certainly no passengers at the terminal building, very few flights, mean very little revenue.”

Most food and beverage operators at the airport are closed, Carter said. Public seating is gone from the food courts, there are decals on the floor to promote physical distancing, and sections of the terminal are closed and lights are off to save money.

‘Dramatic dip’

On Wednesday, there were just six flights on the board. Carter said that is down from an average of about 100. A flight last week to Toronto had just 14 people on it, she said.

“When we look at 2021, we expect to have passenger numbers equivalent to what we saw approximately in 1995. So that’s a pretty dramatic dip,” Carter said.

“The situation is very fluid so it changes quickly, but right now our predictions are to get back to 2019 passenger levels by 2024.”

In 2019, the Halifax airport had over 4.2 million travellers.

It won’t be until restrictions are lifted that Carter expects to see revenue to slowly start to climb again, likely starting with domestic traffic.

“People have to feel safe to travel, there’s no question about that,” she said.

The enhanced sanitization and physical distancing won’t end any time soon and she expects to also see a move toward a touchless environment.

“I was here for 9/11. When you look at post-9/11 there was dramatic changes from a security perspective. When I think about how it might look post-pandemic and I think about passenger screening and how screenings may change for health, I can see changes coming.”

She said the federal government’s rent relief for airports and the emergency wage subsidy program have been helpful, but they still need more.

She also said it’s hard to imagine that fees won’t go up for travellers.

“We certainly wouldn’t take a step like that lightly. It would be the absolutely last thing we would want to do. From our point of view, we will look at all other measures before that,” she said.

Skytrax Canadian Winners

From World Airport Awards – 11 May 2020

Vancouver International Airport YVR (Top 100 Ranking – 13 | 17 in 2019)
– Best Airport: 20-30 million passengers
Best Airport in North America

Toronto Pearson YYZ (Top 100 Ranking – 42 | 50 in 2019)
-Best Airport: 50-60 million passengers

Montréal-Trudeau International Airport YUL (Top 100 Ranking – 57 | 62 in 2019)
– Best Airport Staff in North America

Best Airports 2020: up to 5 million passengers
7. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
8. Halifax Stanfield International Airport


Fairmont Vancouver Airport
– Best Airport Hotel in North America

WestJet Update: 10 May • Schedule to 4 July 2020

From Westjet – 10 May 2020

WESTJET UPDATES SCHEDULE FROM JUNE 5 THROUGH JULY 4, 2020 

WestJet has updated its schedule from June 5 through to July 4, 2020 to address significantly reduced guest demand for air travel while continuing to keep critical economic lifelines open for essential travel and cargo. At this time, WestJet is also extending its temporary transborder and international route suspensions through June 25, 2020. Guests with travel booked after June 5 through July 4, will be proactively notified of their options. Full schedule details are available on westjet.com

It is through the hard work and dedication of teams across WestJet that we continue to provide safe, on-time air travel throughout Canada. We thank all WestJetters and our airport partners for their support during this time. For information on WestJet’s COVID-19 response including health, safety and cleaning protocols, visit the WestJet COVID-19 site here

Domestic route suspensions from June 5 through July 4, 2020 

Market Previous frequency 
Vancouver – Nanaimo 2x daily 
Vancouver – Comox 1x daily 
Vancouver – Regina 4x weekly 
Vancouver – Saskatoon 1x daily 
Vancouver – Winnipeg 3x daily 
Vancouver – Fort St. John 1x daily 
Vancouver – Cranbrook 1x daily 
Vancouver – Ottawa 2x daily 
Vancouver – Montreal 6 to 13x weekly 
Vancouver – Halifax 6x weekly 
Kelowna – Victoria 12x weekly 
Calgary – Prince George 1x daily 
Calgary – Ottawa 2x daily 
Calgary – Montreal 2x daily 
Calgary – London, ON 1 to 2x daily 
Calgary – Halifax 3x daily 
Calgary – St. John’s 1x daily 
Edmonton – Comox 8x weekly 
Edmonton – Victoria 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Kelowna 7x daily 
Edmonton – Grande Prairie 13x weekly 
Edmonton – Yellowknife 1x daily 
Edmonton – Saskatoon 3x daily 
Edmonton – Regina 3x daily 
Edmonton – Winnipeg 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Ottawa 4x weekly 
Edmonton – Montreal 3x weekly 
Edmonton – Halifax 10x weekly 
Edmonton – St. John’s 4x weekly 
Winnipeg – Ottawa 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Regina 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Halifax 1x daily 
Toronto – Victoria 4x weekly 
Toronto – Regina 10x weekly 
Toronto – Saskatoon 12x weekly 
Halifax – Montreal 2x daily 

The following domestic markets will have a new seasonal start date: 

Market New start date 
Calgary – Quebec City 6-Jul-20 
Calgary – Charlottetown 5-Jul-20 
Winnipeg – Montreal 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Kelowna 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Sydney, NS 5-Jul-20 

WESTJET CARGO DELIVERS FLOWERS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

While we may be physically distancing, we know moms will still be feeling the love today. Over the last three weeks, WestJet Cargo has helped deliver 15 tonnes of flowers across Canada — just in time for Mother’s Day.

WestJet Update: 29 April – Domestic Schedule Changes to June 4

From WestJet

WESTJET MAKES FREQUENCY UPDATES TO ITS DOMESTIC FLIGHT SCHEDULE FROM MAY 5 THROUGH JUNE 4  

WestJet is making additional changes to its domestic flight schedule, from May 5 through June 4, 2020. These changes are required to address significantly reduced guest demand during the COVID-19 crisis.   

The following are frequency reductions from May 5-June 4, 2020:  

Market  Previous frequency  Updated frequency 
Calgary-Lethbridge 6x weekly 3x weekly 
Calgary-Medicine Hat 6x weekly 3x weekly 
Calgary-Cranbrook 6x weekly 3x weekly 
Winnipeg-Saskatoon 3x weekly 2x weekly 
Winnipeg-Thunder Bay 3x weekly 2x weekly 

The following city pairs have been temporarily removed from May 5-June 4, 2020:  

Market Previous frequency 
Halifax-Montreal 1x weekly 

These changes are in addition to the network updates announced on Monday, April 22, when the airline announced removing approximately 4,000 weekly flights or 600 daily flights. 

While some city pairings have been temporarily removed, we continue to serve the 38 Canadian airports to which we currently operate, ensuring that those with essential travel requirements can get where they need to be and that cargo goods like blood, medical products and food supplies can continue to flow.   

The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions. Bookings and full schedule details are available at westjet.com. All transborder and international routes remain suspended at this time through June 4, 2020.  

REPATRIATION FLIGHTS 

In collaboration with Government of Canada, WestJet has added flights to repatriate Canadians from Costa Rica to Toronto today and on May 2, along with a flight from Belize to Toronto on May 6. Seats are available for booking on westjet.com.  

Next scheduled repatriation flights: 

  • Today, April 29, 2020 from San José, Costa Rica (SJO) to Toronto 
  • May 2, 2020 from San José, Costa Rica (SJO) to Toronto 
  • May 6, 2020 from Belize (BZE) to Toronto  

WestJet Update: 20 April – Updates Domestic Flight Schedule

From WestJet

WESTJET UPDATES DOMESTIC FLIGHT SCHEDULE FROM MAY 5 THROUGH JUNE 4  

WestJet is making changes to its domestic flight schedule, removing approximately 4,000 weekly flights or 600 daily flights from May 5 through June 4, 2020. These changes are required to address significantly reduced guest demand during the COVID-19 crisis.   

While some city pairings have been temporarily removed, we continue to serve the 38 Canadian airports to which we currently operate, ensuring that those with essential travel requirements can get where they need to be and that cargo goods like blood, medical products and food supplies can continue to flow.   

The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions. Bookings and full schedule details are available at westjet.com. All transborder and international routes remain suspended at this time through June 4, 2020.   

For guests with travel booked after May 5 through June 4, we are proactively notifying them of their options.  

The following city pairs have been temporarily removed from May 5-June 4, 2020:  

Market  Previous frequency  
Vancouver – Nanaimo  2x daily  
Vancouver – Comox  1x daily  
Vancouver – Regina  4x weekly  
Vancouver – Saskatoon  5x weekly  
Vancouver – Winnipeg  3x daily  
Vancouver – Fort St. John  1x daily  
Vancouver – Cranbrook  1x daily  
Vancouver – Ottawa  1x daily  
Vancouver – Montreal  6x weekly  
Kelowna – Victoria  12x weekly  
Calgary – Prince George  1x daily  
Calgary – Ottawa  2x daily  
Calgary – Montreal  13x weekly  
Calgary – London, ON  1x daily  
Calgary – Halifax  17x weekly  
Edmonton – Comox  6x weekly  
Edmonton – Victoria  20x weekly  
Edmonton – Kelowna  7x daily  
Edmonton – Grande Prairie  13x weekly  
Edmonton – Yellowknife  1x daily  
Edmonton – Saskatoon  3x daily  
Edmonton – Regina  3x daily  
Edmonton – Winnipeg  20x weekly  
Edmonton – Ottawa  2x weekly  
Edmonton – Halifax  5x weekly  
Winnipeg – Ottawa  1x daily  
Winnipeg – Regina  1x daily  
Winnipeg – Halifax  1x daily  
Toronto – Victoria  4x weekly  
Toronto – Edmonton  5 to 7x daily  
Toronto – Regina  10x weekly  
Toronto – Saskatoon  12x weekly  

REPATRIATION FLIGHT SCHEDULE 

WestJet has the following international repatriation flights scheduled: 

  • April 20, 2020 from Georgetown (GEO), Guyana to Toronto (YYZ)  
    Departs 3:30 p.m. (local) arrives 9:54 p.m.  
  • April 20, 2020 from Grand Cayman (GCM) to Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) to Toronto (YYZ) 
    Departs 12:00 p.m., 3:13 p.m. (local), arrives 6:16 p.m. 
  • April 23, 2020 from Guatemala City, Guatamala (GUA) to Toronto (YYZ) 

FLEXIBLE CHANGE/CANCEL POLICY   

  • More details on our policies are available here

AFFECTED FLIGHTS – visit the blog (updated) 

Air Canada suspends all flights to and from Sydney, N.S.

News provided by CBC News – link to story and updates

Daily flights between Sydney and Halifax suspended from April 2 until at least April 30

Wendy Martin · CBC News · Posted: Apr 01, 2020

Air Canada is suspending its two daily flights from Sydney to Halifax, and has already suspended its daily Sydney-Toronto flight. (CBC)

Air Canada is suspending all its flights to and from Sydney, N.S., starting Thursday.

J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport in Sydney made the announcement Wednesday morning on social media.

Air Canada has two flights a day between Sydney and Halifax. They’re suspended until the end of April, and the airline said that may be extended.

View image on Twitter
Sydney Airport@flyYQY

Air Canada cancelled its daily flight from Sydney to Toronto March 23.

WestJet flies into Sydney once a day, and that flight is still available for booking on the airline’s website.

Halifax airport sees big jump in planes coming for refuelling, crew swapping

News provided by CBC News – link to story and updates

18 planes have used Halifax for technical stops in the past 3 weeks

Haley Ryan · CBC News · Posted: Mar 31, 2020

As regular flights have dropped off at the Halifax airport, its runways have seen four times the amount of technical stops for this time of year. (NS Government)

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a “dramatic” reduction in domestic and international flights through the Halifax airport, but also brought about an increase in planes needing support on long journeys “around the world.”

On Tuesday, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport had its final flight from the United States for the foreseeable future. The round-trip flight was scheduled to come from Newark, N.J.

In light of the federal government’s restriction on non-essential international air travel and as border restrictions with the United States have tightened, all international passenger flights coming to Canada have been redirected to four airports in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

But essential travel to the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico and the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is exempt from those restrictions, said Tiffany Chase, spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority.

This is why some Nova Scotians might have noticed planes from Cancun, Mexico, and other southern destinations still appearing on the Halifax flight board over the last couple of weeks.

However, Chase said given the restrictions on leisure and non-essential travel, several airlines have now suspended service. Typically, Chase said the Halifax airport serves 14 international destinations, including the U.S.

Nova Scotians may notice planes from Cancun, Mexico, and other southern destinations still appearing on the Halifax flight board. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

“We are obviously seeing a dramatic reduction … as fewer people are choosing to travel,” she said.

She said the airport authority has not needed to lay off any staff at this point.

Some airlines have also flown “a number” of repatriation flights out of Halifax for Canadians abroad looking to get home in the past few weeks, Chase said.

She said it was hard to quantify how many people had returned home on those flights through Halifax, since many returned on regularly scheduled flights, as well as on planes that left empty and came back with passengers.

Tech stops

But as regular flights drop off and the airport itself gets quieter, Chase said the runways have seen four times the amount of technical stops for this time of year.

These stops don’t appear on the regular arrivals board and passengers don’t get off the plane, Chase said. Instead, crews are swapped out if needed, or the plane is refuelled on a longer trip in or out of Canada.

In the past three weeks, twelve round-trip flights have used the Halifax airport as a tech stop, while six more used it one-way.

She did not have information on the final destinations and countries involved in these tech stops since the airport was only a facilitator, but said they involved points “around the world.”

These flights do use larger “wide-bodied aircraft” that don’t often come into Halifax anymore, Chase said, so people might have noticed larger planes coming in on flight radars.

If it had been a normal year, Chase said it might have been challenging to handle the increase in tech stops, but with such a reduction in flights they’ve been able to accommodate all technical requests.

Everyone who boards a plane to or from Canada now has to go through a health check based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Air operators are required to ask certain health questions and look for visible signs of illness.

Anyone presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be refused boarding in aircraft with 10 seats or more. That denial will last for 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19.

Support to Canada’s Air Transportation Sector

From: Department of Finance Canada ~ 30 March 2020

Backgrounder

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.