Wow: Half Of WestJet’s Europe Routes See The Boeing 737 MAX

From Simple Flying – link to source story – Thanks to CW

by James Pearson | November 19, 2021

Canada’s WestJet has 14 bookable routes to Europe next summer, exactly half by the B737 MAX 8 and the other half by the B787-9. However, that will change when a 15th route – Calgary to London Heathrow – takes off in the spring using the B787.

WestJet MAX 8
The UK and Ireland have three-quarters of WestJet’s Europe flights next summer, helped by new routes by the B737 MAX. Photo: Acefitt via Wikimedia.

WestJet to Europe next summer

The carrier’s 14 bookable routes include five from Toronto, four from Calgary, four from Halifax, and one from Vancouver, based on schedules from Cirium. Calgary to Heathrow will mean that Alberta’s main airport – WestJet’s ‘spiritual’ home and busiest airport – will have the most European links from the airline.

Following two washout summers because of entry restrictions, WestJet’s Europe offering will be significantly stronger next summer than S19. It expects 3,558 round-trip flights (before Heathrow is included), up by nearly half (46%).

Part of this is from new routes. After Calgary to Amsterdam took off three months ago, Toronto to Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are all coming along with Calgary to Rome Fiumicino. And most incumbent routes have more flights than previously.

WestJet's Europe network in summer 2022
When writing, the MAX 8 (shown in blue) and the B787-9 (yellow) have seven routes each to Europe next summer. The widebody will take the lead when Calgary-Heathrow begins. Image: GCMap.

WestJet is coming to Heathrow

The airline’s intention to serve Heathrow was made public when it applied for and received slots. According to Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) ‘s summer 2022 Initial Coordination Report, it has received 248 slot-pairs for next summer.

If split over each summer week and two directions, that’s good for a four-weekly service, although we don’t yet know when it’ll begin. It has intended to serve Heathrow for a while – it received slots for S21 but understandably didn’t use them – and it appears that Heathrow-Calgary will supplement its existing Calgary-Gatwick.

When writing, Heathrow doesn’t appear in the schedules and isn’t bookable, but expect that to change in the coming days or weeks. However, WestJet has confirmed Heathrow, with its CEO, John Weatherill, commenting that:

“As the airline with the most flights from Alberta, this is an important recovery milestone as we forge new connections between Canada and one of the world’s most sought-after global hubs.”

WestJet Heathrow ACL screenshot
In its application, WestJet put ‘ZZF’, meaning it didn’t want to disclose the Canadian city. Image: ACL.

Calgary to London

Calgary to London is a large point-to-point (P2P) market, with approximately 253,000 round-trip passengers in 2019, booking data indicates. It’s the third-largest Canada-UK city-pair after Toronto-London and Vancouver-London.

WestJet B787
Unless Air Canada ups capacity or British Airways reenters, WestJet will be the largest airline between Calgary and London in S22. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Two airlines have exited the market

After Air Transat ceased Calgary-Gatwick in September 2019 and British Airways ended it from Heathrow in March 2020, Calgary-London is now in the hands of Air Canada and WestJet. WestJet has capitalized on the exit of the two carriers, which in 2019 had 126,000 seats between them and a one-quarter share of the market, Cirium indicates.

Next summer, Air Canada will have a daily Heathrow service using 298-seat B787-9s, while WestJet will have a daily offer to Gatwick using 320-seat B787-9s, along with coming Heathrow. However, might BA be returning? Slot filings suggest that it might be, but it may simply use them for other routes.

Swoop Announces Major Expansion and Investment in Edmonton and Brings Nine New Routes to Alberta Capital

  • Ultra-low fare airline announces its largest expansion ever with eight new domestic routes as part of summer schedule and new non-stop service to Palm Springs
  • Brings enhanced connectivity to Atlantic Canada with first ever non-stop flights from Edmonton to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and new non-stops to Nova Scotia
  • Reaffirms commitment to city by naming its newest aircraft #Edmonton
Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport welcomes Swoop's newest aircraft #Edmonton (CNW Group/Swoop)
Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport welcomes Swoop’s newest aircraft #Edmonton (CNW Group/Swoop)

EDMONTON, AB, Nov. 15, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, reaffirmed its commitment to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region with the announcement of new service to one U.S. and eight domestic destinations from its Western Canadian base. The airline’s significant new investments were celebrated this morning alongside the unveiling of Swoop’s newest aircraft, which will fly with the name #Edmonton.

The airline’s growth will see Swoop’s flight capacity in Alberta’s capital increase 76% compared to pre-pandemic levels, supporting the creation of 140 additional direct and spin-off jobs and an anticipated $120M of economic output activityi in 2022.

From left to right (Juanita Marois, CEO, Métis Crossing, Tom Ruth, President & CEO, Edmonton International Airport, Charles Duncan, President of Swoop, Rajan Sawhney, Alberta Minister of Transportation, Rick Smith, Deputy Mayor of Leduc County, Tim Cartmell, City Councillor, City of Edmonton) (CNW Group/Swoop)
From left to right (Juanita Marois, CEO, Métis Crossing, Tom Ruth, President & CEO, Edmonton International Airport, Charles Duncan, President of Swoop, Rajan Sawhney, Alberta Minister of Transportation, Rick Smith, Deputy Mayor of Leduc County, Tim Cartmell, City Councillor, City of Edmonton) (CNW Group/Swoop)

“This is a major milestone for Swoop as we underscore our commitment to leading the way for ultra-low fare air travel in Canada and reaffirm our position as the airline with the most destinations from Edmonton,” said Charles Duncan, President of Swoop. “With a strong focus on growth and Edmonton as our partner, we will continue to provide our travellers with more non-stop flights and ultra-low fares while supporting the recovery of Canada’s travel and tourism economy.”

New non-stop flights to eight Canadian cities 

The addition of eight new Canadian destinations to Swoop’s summer schedule will see non-stop service from Edmonton to Charlottetown, Comox, Halifax, Kelowna, Moncton, Ottawa, Regina and Saskatoon. Swoop will be the first carrier to bring non-stop connectivity from Edmonton International Airport to Charlottetown and Moncton and the airline’s summer schedule will also see the restoration of service to London, Ont. 

Hello, Palm Springs!

Beginning December 16, Swoop’s transborder presence is growing from Edmonton with the addition of new service to Palm Springs. The scheduled non-stop service to Palm Springs will operate twice weekly.

#Edmonton

To commemorate its history and commitment to Edmonton, Swoop celebrated the naming of its newest aircraft #Edmonton alongside key government leaders and business stakeholders at Edmonton International Airport.

Following the event, the Boeing 737-800 aircraft entered service for the operation of flight WO 770 departing Edmonton at 12:00 local time, en route to Phoenix (Mesa), Arizona with a scheduled arrival of 3:30 PM local time. Edmontonians can expect to see #Edmonton operating several of Swoop’s newly announced routes.

Full schedule details of Swoop’s service from Edmonton can be found below.

 Domestic Routes

RoutePeak Weekly
Frequency
Start DateTotal one-
way fare
(CAD)
 †
Base Fare
(CAD)
Taxes and
Fees (CAD)
 
Edmonton – Halifax*5x weeklyMay 1, 2022$159$104.35$54.65
Edmonton – Charlottetown*2x weeklyJune 16, 2022$159$104.35$54.65
Edmonton – Kelowna*7x weeklyMay 5, 2022$49$1.59$47.41
Edmonton – Ottawa*4x weeklyApril 25, 2022$59$9.12$49.88
Edmonton – Comox*3x weeklyJune 9, 2022$49$1.59$47.41
Edmonton – Regina*2x weeklyJune 16. 2022$49$1.59$47.41
Edmonton – Saskatoon*2x weeklyJune 14, 2022$49$1.59$47.41
Edmonton – Moncton*2x weeklyJune 17, 2022$159$104.35$54.65
Edmonton – London3x weeklyJune 2, 2022$59$9.11$49.88
Edmonton – Winnipeg4x weeklyContinuing$160$105.30$54.69
Edmonton – Toronto14x weeklyContinuing$59$9.12$49.88
Edmonton – Hamilton7x weeklyContinuing$60$10.06$49.94
Edmonton – Abbotsford7x weeklyContinuing$49$1.59$47.41
Edmonton – Victoria7x weeklyContinuing$60$12.06$47.94
†Special introductory fares are limited quantity. Book by November 29, 2021 for travel between May 2 and June 22, 2022.

Transborder Routes

RoutePeak Weekly
Frequency
Start DateTotal one-
way fare
(CAD)
 †
Base Fare
(CAD)
Taxes and
Fees (CAD)
 
Edmonton – Las Vegas7x weeklyContinuing$99$8.84$90.16
Edmonton – Phoenix (Mesa)1x weeklyContinuing$110$18.36$91.63
† Book by November 29, 2021 for travel between May 2 and June 22, 2022.

New Service to Palm Springs

RoutePeak Weekly
Frequency
Start DateTotal one-
way fare
(CAD)
 †
Base Fare
(CAD)
Taxes and
Fees (CAD)
Edmonton – Palm Springs*2x WeeklyDecember 16, 2021$99$7.89$91.11
†Special introductory fares are limited quantity. Book by November 29, 2021 for travel between January 10 and February 19, 2022.

Supporting Quotes

“Swoop’s commitment to Edmonton is a clear sign that there is confidence in Alberta’s Recovery Plan. The new routes across Canada and to Palm Springs open up exciting opportunities for tourism and business.”

  • Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation

“I want to thank Swoop for supporting the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Having increased connections across Canada and beyond through Edmonton International Airport is vital for our region. As a major city contributing to Alberta’s recovery, strong air service will help us create jobs and grow our economy.”

  • Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton

“Next time you hear a plane passing over, look up, look way up, and you just might see #Edmonton flying by. Thank you Swoop for naming one of your fleet after our great community, we’re honoured you will help carry the name Edmonton across Canada and North America. Your dedication to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is helping bring more low-cost travel options for our passengers and we can’t wait for these new destinations to start.”

  • Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport

To learn more about Swoop please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity has safely carried more than 3 million travellers in three years of operation. FlySwoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.     

Source: Swoop 2022 Edmonton International Airport Economic Impacts performed by the Chris Lowe Group

Passengers scramble after PAL Airlines suspends flights from Halifax to Charlottetown

From CBC News – link to source story

‘I booked quite some time ago and was almost ready to start packing’

CBC News · Posted: Nov 03, 2021

Frances Taggart of Dartmouth says she was hoping to visit her her son over Christmas. (Robert Short/CBC News)

Some PAL Airlines passengers have been left scrambling to make alternate arrangements after the company suspended its scheduled flight service into the Charlottetown Airport.

“I’m older now and I have back problems and I have leg problems and so driving isn’t as easy as it used to be, so I heard about PAL Airlines and thought, ‘well, let’s try this,'” said 80-year-old Frances Taggart of Dartmouth, N.S.

“I booked quite some time ago and was almost ready to start packing.”

Taggart had reserved a seat on a direct flight between Halifax and Charlottetown. She was hoping to visit her son over Christmas. 

“It’s been difficult with COVID, haven’t seen him as much as I used to,” she said. 

Her packing is on hold as Taggart said she learned earlier this week that her flight had been cancelled. 

“I did phone the airline and they told me that, no, they weren’t flying into P.E.I. anymore.” 

Hoping for return

In fact, it’s not just P.E.I.

PAL Airlines has also suspended all flights between New Brunswick and Halifax.

“We are encouraged by our initial experience in the Charlottetown market and will look for opportunities to return in the future,” the company said in a statement to CBC News. 

“PAL Airlines has the ability to add capacity as we see demand developing.”

Airport officials say they are are optimistic about next year. Airlines are already talking about adding extra flights next summer. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC News)

The airline had just begun flying into the province two months ago, and the CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority said he is keeping his fingers crossed that it will be back next summer. 

“We had hoped to see PAL Airlines operate year-round,” said Doug Newson. 

“I think the flight did reasonably well in the summer months, but I think they looked at advance booking going into fall and winter and just decided … that they would suspend those services.”

It’s been a challenging 19 months for the airport, whose traffic dropped more than 90 per cent at the peak of the pandemic. Fortunately, Newson said the loss of PAL Airlines should have a minimal impact on the airport’s bottom line.

“We are starting to see recovery,” said Newson. “I can tell you there’s a lot of optimism for spring, summer of 2022.” 

‘I’ll take the bus’

As for Taggart, she said she looked at other flights but, unfortunately, she would have to fly through Toronto or Montreal to get to P.E.I. and it would cost her upwards of $2,000.  

“My only other option was to drive, which I’d rather not do, or to take the bus,” she said.

And although Taggart is no stranger to that bus trip she said it’s not ideal.

“It’s crowded. There’s very little legroom. As I said, I have back problems and I am currently on the list for a hip replacement and getting on and off buses and being cramped for that long is difficult.”

But, she said she’ll take the bus “and hope for the best.” 

With files from Wayne Thibodeau

‘Long way to go’: Traffic up at Halifax airport, but rebound will be slow

From CBC News – link to source story

‘It will take some time. We expect it’ll be several years,’ says spokesperson

Feleshia Chandler · CBC Life · Posted: Oct 12, 2021

Airport staff inform passengers about new policies. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

Halifax Stanfield International Airport has seen more flights depart as of late, but staff there say this year’s revenue will likely be the same as last year, if not worse.

“We did see a slight increase in activity over the summer as border restrictions were lifted and people were permitted to travel again,” said Leah Batstone, the airport authority’s communications and marketing adviser.

“While it felt like there was a lot happening here, and it was a significant increase from where we were at the beginning of the pandemic, in perspective of where we were, we still have quite a long way to go.”

Batstone said the airport has seen far fewer passengers this year than normal.

It would normally offer 46 destinations, but right now that number is 15. It was four at the low point of the pandemic.

Batstone said it might be years before service levels from prior to the pandemic are restored.

“A lot of the air service that we had here took years to bring here,” said Batstone. “We have to work closely with the airlines to bring that service back, which we’re doing.”

Leah Batstone is a spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority. (Patrick Callahan/CBC)

The airport welcomed more than four million people in 2019, but it saw barely a million last year. Total revenue in 2020 was $41.3 million, down from $114.4 million in 2019.

“We’re still working through what to expect for this year, but it’s expected that it’ll be another year similar to last year,” said Batstone.

Flights and passenger numbers are increasing at JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport in Sydney, N.S., said CEO Mike MacKinnon.

MacKinnon said air traffic improved in August and the airport saw 39 per cent of its typical revenue for that month.

Revenue also improved in September, but MacKinnon said the overall numbers remain low despite the improvements.

“Unfortunately due to the fact we had no flights at all from Jan 11 through June 25, 2021, year-to-date our passenger traffic is only at 16 per cent of what we had through the same period before COVID-19,” MacKinnon said in an email. 

Mike MacKinnon, CEO of the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, says airport business will be slow to recover in Nova Scotia. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

Kelli MacDonald, director of communications for Tourism Nova Scotia, said in an email that rebuilding air links to other parts of the world is an important aspect of the province’s tourism recovery.

She said the work is just getting started.

“Nova Scotia welcomed more visitors in July than we did in the first six months of 2021, and we’re optimistic this positive trend will continue,” said MacDonald.

In terms of whether people will have to show proof of vaccination in order to travel, Batstone said it’s not required for now when entering the airport or when boarding. But it will be required to eat at dine-in restaurants within the airport. 

Masks will be required both inside the airport and while on its flights. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday unveiled his government’s mandatory vaccine policy. It states that as of Oct. 30, all travellers aged 12 and older taking flights leaving Canadian airports, travelling on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, and marine passengers must be fully vaccinated before boarding. 

Air, rail and marine operators will be establishing processes to verify vaccine status.

Masks are required upon entrance into the airport. (Patrick Callahan/CBC)

Batstone also reminds people to be aware of other airport protocols.

“It’s important that people check the requirements for the place that they’re going and to ensure that they have their vaccination record if required,” she said. “Also, if they require a COVID test to ensure they have that ready to go before they travel at the airport here.”

Batstone said the airport authority supports vaccination and even hosted an on-site vaccination clinic several weeks ago.

There are take-home test kits in the arrivals area. The kits, supplied by Public Health, are available at no cost to travellers and airport workers.

Dr. Lisa Barrett is an infectious disease researcher and clinician at Dalhousie University. (CBC)

Now that people are getting back to air travel, Dr. Lisa Barrett, clinician investigator at Dalhousie University, said there are things people can do to travel safely.

“Your first and foremost protection for yourself and everyone around you is to be vaccinated and fully vaccinated. We do know this delta variant spreads very easily in short distances and can stay in the air,” said Barrett.

Barrett also advises to have a durable mask that fits properly.

She said it is important to keep on-flight conversation to a minimum.

“When you turn to talk to people, keep that communication a little bit lower because we know that talking and generating more droplets is a way of spreading viruses, even with a mask on.”

Batstone said the airport authority is optimistic that travel will increase, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

“We are seeing things moving in the right direction, and we’re very optimistic that we’re going to begin seeing additional travel…,” said Batstone. “It will take some time. We expect it’ll be several years.” 

Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear Air Canada crash case

From CBC News – link to source story

Group of passengers want the Transportation Safety Board to release cockpit voice recordings and transcripts

Blair Rhodes · CBC News · Posted: Oct 14, 2021

The plane’s nose broke off, as did one of the engines when it crashed on March 29, 2015. (Reuters)

Canada’s highest court has agreed to hear an appeal in the case of an Air Canada jet that crashed at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport in March 2015.

More than two dozen people were injured when Air Canada flight 624 crashed at the airport in the midst of a snowstorm.

Some of the passengers have launched a class-action lawsuit against several parties, including the airline, Air Canada; the two pilots flying the Airbus 320 that night; its manufacturer, Airbus; the Halifax International Airport Authority; and Nav Canada, the corporation that operates Canada’s civil air navigation system.

The respondents and passengers all want the release of the cockpit voice recordings that were recovered from the crash. Those recordings are held by the Transportation Safety Board, the government agency that investigated the crash. 

The TSB is opposed to releasing the recordings and their transcripts, asserting its statutory right to keep such materials confidential. It took the matter to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, where it lost.

It appealed that decision to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, and ultimately lost there as well. The courts found that the public interest in the administration of justice outweighed the statutory rights of the TSB.

Now the agency has persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its arguments as to why the recordings should not be released to the parties in this lawsuit.

No date for a hearing has been set, but in announcing that it was willing to hear the case, the Supreme Court of Canada said it should be dealt with on an expedited basis.

Three New Air Cargo Warehouses in Canada

On 1 October, Swissport opened a new air cargo warehouse at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the third new cargo location in Canada in under half a year. With cargo volumes on the rise, the company is anticipating continuing growth in the segment. Just recently, new facilities have also opened at Montréal–Mirabel International Airport and Edmonton International Airport.

On 1 October, Swissport opened a new air cargo warehouse at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, its sixth cargo location in Canada and the third new Canadian warehouse in under half a year. With the new 370 sqm facility, Swissport complements its local offering in Passenger Services with Air Cargo Handling and continues to deliver on its ambitions in the Canadian air cargo market. In comparison with 2019, the company’s volumes in Canada are up 35%, underlining the need for increased warehousing and logistics capacity.

“With the opening of new warehouses across Canada, we are leveraging Swissport‘s global expertise to deliver world-class air cargo handling at more Canadian airports,” says Charles Roberge, CEO of Swissport in Canada. “We are adding more services in more places making sure we meet the growing needs of our customers and changes in the industry. With its comprehensive service portfolio Swissport in Canada aspires to be the partner of choice for global and local customer airlines alike and we will continue to invest in our service delivery.”

Just recently, new air cargo warehouses were opened at Montréal–Mirabel International Airport and Edmonton International Airport. The 500 sqm Montréal-Mirabel location again represents an extension of Swissport’s local service offering, adding Air Cargo Handling to the established Fueling activities. At Edmonton International, the existing full range of Passenger Services is supplemented by a new 1,000 sqm air cargo warehouse with options for a further expansion. The additional capacity contributes to Swissport’s focus on cargo growth in the region.

“Enabling continued growth in our cargo and logistics sector is a major priority and this expansion by Swissport is a great example of business leadership.” says Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport. “Swissport is one of the largest air cargo handling companies in the world and a long-time member of our airport community. With the growth in cargo business at EIA, Swissport is seizing the opportunity to expand its services and create more jobs and opportunities for our community. 2020 saw tremendous growth in cargo demand and that has continued this year. As the only Canadian airport community with the global IATA CEIV Pharma certification, we look forward to more developments supporting EIA’s position as a major logistics centre.”

Flair Airlines Extends Schedule Through Summer 2022

Canada’s favorite ULCC is confident in travel demand growth over the coming year and expands schedule in core Canadian and US markets

Edmonton, Alberta, September 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its surge to bring low fares to Canadians and has extended its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets.

“As we grow our fleet and expand our service, we see the demand for Flair’s low fare travel continuing to explode across Canada. We are absolutely focused on rescuing Canadians from the bloated prices they have long suffered in flying,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Flair is committed to helping reunite families and make travel accessible for everyone, and our schedule extension will help passengers prepare for 2022 by knowing they can explore and connect without breaking the bank.”

The schedule expansion extends the booking period into Summer 2022. Many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including flights departing from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

Flair’s confidence in Canadian travel continuing to grow in 2022 is reflected in the ultra-low fares where cost efficiency and demand allow for pricing to start at just $29 CAD one-way on some routes. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com. More low fares and exciting summer route announcements will be coming soon! Be among the first to know by signing up for Flair’s newsletter https://www.flyflair.com/newsletter.

Flair is rapidly growing to serve Canadians with low fare flights, the extended schedule allows for more efficient planning for customers and airline partners. Deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout 2021 and 2022 continue to grow the fleet as Flair achieves its goal of 50 aircraft in five years. Flair continues to bring more jobs to the market and is hiring more staff and flight crew as it meets the growth demands of the airline.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve 26 cities across Canada and North America. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com

Porter Airlines returns to the air

TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

Flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay are the first to restart. Other Canadian destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, and Moncton. U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6, with all routes currently available for booking. The initial flight schedule can be found at www.flyporter.com.

“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “We currently have over 900 team members who have put in countless hours to get everything ready for our return to service, with more being recalled or hired every week. Everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory joins the celebrations at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Porter has strengthened its existing standards with a focus on high levels of sanitization in order to protect the health of its passengers and team members. More information about the Healthy Flights program can be found on Porter’s website.

In addition to Healthy Flights, Porter has also introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for its team members. To support a safe and healthy workplace and travel experience, team members must present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift or be fully vaccinated. The Canadian federal government announced in August its intention to mandate vaccination for federally-regulated workers; once specific details are known, Porter’s policy may evolve.

Bookings made before Sept. 30, will be eligible to change or cancel with no fees. Passengers also have the option to book a flight with the Full Refund Option for $40 plus taxes. The Refund Option entitles customers to receive a refund, including base fare, taxes and fees, for their booking upon advance cancellation of their flight for any reason.

About Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines provides a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L.

Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Details of growth plans to provide North America-wide service are available at flyporter.com. 

Flair Airlines President Apologizes For Delays, Confusion, At Halifax Airport

From Huddle Today – link to source story

Aug 25, 2021by Derek Montague

Jan Vasek. Image: Unsplash.

HALIFAX – The President and CEO of Flair Airlines is apologizing to Halifax passengers who were stranded after flights were cancelled, and the airline struggled to find accommodations. There were two such incidents in less than a week, that left passengers angry, confused, and reaching out to the media to share their stories.

On Monday night, a police officer even helped passengers find hotel rooms late at night.

“We apologize profusely to all of the customers who were disrupted recently, and there’s been quite a number; it’s not acceptable,” said Flair president Stephen Jones in an interview with Huddle. “The way that we have communicated in many cases has left people wondering what’s going on.”

“I also apologize to our staff for not having the right information in their hands to be able to provide customer service.”

Jones said, in the case of Monday’s cancelled flights and confusion, the company will be reaching out and offering $100 vouchers that can be used for Flair services.

Police Are Called to the Airport

If it wasn’t for the help of a Halifax police office, Sarah Dexter may not have found a hotel room for her and her friend Monday night. Dexter was one of many who was stranded at the Halifax Airport, after Flair Airlines, once again, cancelled flights.

According to Dexter and another stranded traveler, Rebecca Goodine, the police were called to the Halifax airport Monday night when at least one person got so upset with Flair that they started yelling and causing a scene.

One of the officers then stayed to help try and find hotels for the passengers, when the airline couldn’t do so.

“People were getting really upset,” recalls Goodine. “There was nothing violent or anything, but a guy was yelling, so a cop did come up and try to deescalate.”

“(A lone Flair employee) was the only one trying to call hotels, trying to get something set up for people. So, the police officer also tried calling hotels, which was very strange.”

Stephen Jones says much of the confusion stems from the fact that there is a shortage of vacancies at Halifax hotels now. He says the airline is still taking responsibility for not being prepared for the lack of available rooms.

“We could have understood ahead of time that there was limited accommodation available and being more prepared for the impact of the cancellation.”

Dexter was supposed to fly from Halifax to Kitchener/Waterloo in Ontario late Monday evening. But an afternoon email from Flair informed her that the flight was cancelled, due to “unforeseen maintenance.”

She and her friend drove to the Halifax airport anyway, because they were unable to get a hold of any Flair representatives on the phone. Once at the airport, the lineup was incredibly long at the Flair counter, with dozens of people looking to rebook their flights and find accommodations.

After waiting in line for roughly two hours, Dexter was told the next available flight to Kitchener/Waterloo wouldn’t be until Friday. Given that she was supposed to go back to work on Tuesday, this was not a good option.

“What happens if we come here Friday and the same thing happens?” Asks Dexter. “I don’t trust (Flair) to get us out of here at this point.”

According to Dexter, a Flair agent told her that a shuttle would take stranded passengers to a hotel for the night, but no email ever came. She also says the agent, who was working by herself through much of the chaos, could only find five available hotel rooms, which went to the elderly and people with small children first.

One of the Halifax police officers found Dexter and her friend at a hotel in Truro. While the cost of the hotel was taken care of (presumably by Flair), Dexter had to pay $120 out-of-pocket for the cab to Truro.  She will have to pay the same to get back to the airport on Tuesday. She will now have to submit her receipt to Flair in the hopes of being reimbursed.

Stephen Jones said customers should not be expected to pay out of pocket for transportation and accommodation.

“It varies from situation to situation but, no, as a standard practice we shouldn’t be asking people to pay $90 taxi fares to go to a different city to find a bed. We should be able to arrange transport and accommodation to meet all of the customers’ needs.”

Dexter and her friend will be able to leave Halifax Tuesday night because they chose to rebook through Air Canada, at a greater expense.

“The only reason we’re leaving is because we paid an arm and a leg for Air Canada tickets,” she said.

When asked if passengers would be reimbursed for buying new tickets on other airlines, Jones said it would depend on each individual situation.

“I want to look at them on a case-by-case basis…but we will do, not only what we’re obliged to do, we’ll do what’s right.”

Rebecca Goodine, however, will be staying with friends in Halifax for a few days. After her flight from Halifax to Montreal was cancelled on Monday. She says Flair told her they could fly her to Montreal next week, or she could accept a flight to Ottawa on Thursday – which she accepted.

“I agreed to the Thursday flight on the premise that I would have a hotel, and they said I would have a food allowance.”

“But then I was told there would be a shuttle to take us to this hotel and they didn’t say what hotel it was. So, a crowd started to gather for the hotel.”

Goodine said there was no shuttle and no hotel, so she ended up staying with friends in Halifax. In total, she spent ten hours at the airport. She also says Flair never gave her a food voucher, but instead got a water bottle, a Rice Krispy, a granola bar, and a pack of goldfish.

Take flight at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum: A little-known gem near the Halifax airport

From Saltwire – link to source story

Helen Earley · August 12, 2021

Visitors can climb inside the flight deck of a BAE 146 when visiting the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, near the Halifax airport.
Visitors can climb inside the flight deck of a BAE 146 when visiting the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, near the Halifax airport. – Helen Earley

I knew it wasn’t “real,” but it felt so good to sit in an aircraft seat again.

I felt my shoulders relax as I shuffled to get comfortable in the narrow space between the armrests. Ensuring my seat was upright, I stowed my handbag underneath, and snapped my seatbelt into place around my hips, tugging firmly to ensure a snug fit.

I imagined the familiar smell of jet fuel, stale upholstery, coffee and chewing gum. I recalled those thrilling pre-take off butterflies; the sense of anticipation that marks the beginning of a new journey. I closed my eyes, then opened them again.

“Ready for takeoff!” I joked.

The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum has a unique combination of civil and military aircrafts and artifacts. - Helen Earley
The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum has a unique combination of civil and military aircrafts and artifacts. – Helen Earley

Our family is still not ready to travel outside Atlantic Canada, but as a former flight attendant and someone who loves everything about air travel, my hunger for all things aviation was satiated at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, located near the Halifax International Airport.about:blank

This volunteer-led museum, which has been operating since 1986 in a former Nova Scotia Tourist Bureau, is the most comprehensive aviation museum east of Ottawa, uniquely dedicated to both civilian and military aviation history. Its location is marked by a cheerful jet, partially tucked away behind the bushes on the side of the 102 Highway.

Board member and volunteer Sean Ryan, who also serves as Director for Air Operations for Nova Scotia’s annual air show, Air Show Atlantic, told us that since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in local visitors to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum.

“We are seeing families who either didn’t know we existed and were out looking for something to do or driving by, wondering what the jet was all about,” he explained.

“We had one family, they had been driving by for 20 years, back and forth to Enfield and thought, ‘we’re going to go have a look,’ and they couldn’t believe what was here.”


If you go

  • Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum
  • 20 Sky Blvd Goffs NS B2T 1K3
  • www.acamuseum.ca
  • Phone: (902) 873-3773

A look inside

Formerly a tourist bureau, the wood-pannelled room now houses the Silver Dart gallery. - Helen Earley
Formerly a tourist bureau, the wood-pannelled room now houses the Silver Dart gallery. – Helen Earley

The first gallery feels very much like the 1970s, with wood-panelled walls, a sloping ceiling, and geometric lines. This was the former tourist bureau which, we were told, also contained large fish tanks in addition to tourist information before it was transformed into a museum.about:blank

Here, we marvelled at a replica of the Silver Dart, the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada. Further treasures included an interesting model of Halifax’s first aerodrome (now Westmount subdivision) and a Michelin tire from the spacecraft Columbia, signed by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

My son’s favourite experience was the mock-up of a British Aerospace 146 cockpit, formerly used for crew training. Although it was never a fully functioning simulator, it was the exact size of a real cockpit, and had all the right dials and instruments in place, including the control column and throttles.

The gift shop at the museum is a unique experience itself. Many enthusiasts buy vintage models to collect, not to build. - Helen Earley
The gift shop at the museum is a unique experience itself. Many enthusiasts buy vintage models to collect, not to build. – Helen Earley

We climbed into the comfortable pilot seats – he as the captain, me as the first officer – and pretended to fly. I tried to remember the lingo from the days when I was invited into the flight deck for landings: the “WHOOP, WHOOP” of the auto-pilot disengaging; the countdown to touchdown. My son was suitably impressed, and we took off again for a new destination.

Next, we followed a ramp leading to a second hangar and discovered that the Atlantic Canadian Aviation Museum is much bigger than it seems.

Amongst over a dozen civil and military aircraft and weaponry, including a genuine Second World War “doodlebug” cruise missile, I was impressed with the sheer glamour of the Lockheed Jetstar, a sleek 14-passenger business jet used to transport prime ministers, including Pierre Trudeau, across the country in the 1970s and 80s.

Inside the cabin, maroon-striped upholstery defined the pièce-de-résistance: a comfortable three-seater sofa, with round ashtrays built into the armrests.

Seven-year-old Michael Barker pretends to be a pilot at the controls of the BAE 146 at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. - Helen Earley
Seven-year-old Michael Barker pretends to be a pilot at the controls of the BAE 146 at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. – Helen Earley

More than just a regular gift shop

Our final destination was the gift shop, which had a collection of model aircraft that would rival any hobby shop. Some of the aircraft models were acquired through the estates of aviation enthusiasts, making them ultra-collectible, Ryan told us, with many enthusiasts buying vintage models to collect, not to build. There were also some quirky finds, such as a set of Canadian Pacific Air dishes.

My son bought a simple model plane, plus a handful of small foam gliders, which brought us more fun at home as we launched them from the deck into the backyard. At 49 cents each, these tiny gliders represented the deal of the day, apart from the museum admission itself, which is free in order to encourage families to visit. A donation of eight dollars per adult is suggested, and can be paid in cash, discreetly slipped into a donation box, or by credit or debit card at the gift shop.

Next time you pass the brightly painted CF-101 Voodoo poking out from behind the bushes at the side of the 102 Highway, consider touching down at The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum – arguably Halifax’s most driven-by attraction, and a veritable hidden gem.

Many people drive by the iconic CF 101 Voodoo on Highway 102 near the Halifax airport without realizing the museum is there, says Helen Earley, pictured with her son, seven-year-old Michael Barker.  - Helen Earley
Many people drive by the iconic CF 101 Voodoo on Highway 102 near the Halifax airport without realizing the museum is there, says Helen Earley, pictured with her son, seven-year-old Michael Barker. – Helen Earley

Other Places to Explore Aviation History in Nova Scotia

Shearwater Aviation Museum, Shearwater

  • Phone: (902) 720-1083

Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, Kingston

  • Phone: (902) 765 1494 Ext 5955

Alexander Graham Bell Museum and National Historic Site, Baddeck

  • Phone: (902) 295-2069
There are also affordable souvenirs, like this 49-cent model airplane. - Helen Earley
There are also affordable souvenirs, like this 49-cent model airplane. – Helen Earley
Visitors can also discover more about the history of space travel at the museum, which includes a Michelin tire from the spacecraft Columbia, signed by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. - Helen Earley
Visitors can also discover more about the history of space travel at the museum, which includes a Michelin tire from the spacecraft Columbia, signed by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. – Helen Earley

Helen Earley is a Halifax-based travel writer and author of a new travel guide, 25 Family Adventures in Nova Scotia. She served as cabin crew for British Airways from 1996-2007.