PAL Airlines steps in to fill flight gap in N.L. after Air Canada’s departure

From CBC News – link to source story

Carrier adding 12 new routes, promising fares as low as $69

CBC News ·  Jun 17, 2021

Newfoundland and Labrador carrier PAL Airlines will fly as far as Ottawa starting this summer. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

A Newfoundland and Labrador regional airline is stepping up to fill the void left by Air Canada’s departure from the majority of its routes in the province.

PAL Airlines, which flies small aircraft out of airports across the province, is on the brink of the largest expansion in the company’s history, adding 12 new routes to its schedule. The airline will unveil service to Halifax, Fredericton, Saint John, Charlottetown, Ottawa and several Quebec destinations.

They’ll be rolling out the new routes over the course of the summer as pandemic restrictions lift, says Janine Browne, the airline’s sales director.

Those routes had previously been serviced by Air Canada, which slashed flights to smaller communities across the country over the last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson told CBC News in January that the airline’s overall capacity was down 80 per cent from the previous year at the time.

The pandemic has been “devastating” for the industry, Browne said, noting PAL managed to “weather the storm.”

“We were able … to continue serving all of our regions,” Browne said. “This is an essential service for many of the communities and towns and cities that we serve.”

While Air Canada announced Tuesday it will be reestablishing some routes in the province, PAL’s expansion breathes life into airports still grappling with the pandemic.

“Air access is absolutely essential to economic recovery,” she said.

The expansion also offers customers an easier travel experience, Browne suggests, with more connecting destinations and partnerships with both WestJet and Air Canada — allowing passengers to buy one ticket and check their luggage only once during their trip.

Ottawa eyeing steep fares

But even as provinces set their reopening plans in motion for this summer, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians face significantly fewer travel options, with remaining flights to major domestic destinations costing more than usual.

The price hike prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tell local business owners earlier this month that Ottawa believed fares would fall as demand rises.

“We’re watching very closely on connections, we’re watching very closely on reopening, we’re watching the prices, we’re watching tourism,” Trudeau told the St. John’s Board of Trade.

“We’re watching all these different factors to make sure that if there are gaps or challenges that are going to slow our recovery that we address them.”

Browne said she expects passengers to see significantly lower fares as the new routes launch, with some tickets setting passengers back as little as $69.

There’s a catch, though. Despite the partnership with Air Canada, anyone booking a PAL flight can’t avail of Aeroplan points.

That may change in the coming months, however.

“Who knows what the future holds,” Browne said.

UPDATED: Cape Breton debut of PAL Airlines may be facing another delay

From Saltwire – link to source story

Low booking reason for changing start date once more

Ian Nathanson · Updated: June 16, 2021

A PAL Airlines Dash 8-100 aircraft, the plane to be used when the carrier starts offering Sydney-Halifax flights. Service was expecting to start June 28, but now looks like it will launch the end of July. -- CONTRIBUTED
A PAL Airlines Dash 8-100 aircraft, the plane to be used when the carrier starts offering Sydney-Halifax flights. Service was expecting to start June 28, but now looks like it will launch the end of July. — CONTRIBUTED

SYDNEY, N.S. — The newest airline set to fly out of Sydney airport is expressing concern over the low number of bookings in place for its Sydney-Halifax route, and says it will be delaying its start date once again.

Janine Browne, PAL Airlines' director of business development and sales, says the airline has been watching Nova Scotia's plans to perhaps open up for domestic air travel. — CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
Janine Browne, PAL Airlines’ director of business development and sales, says the airline has been watching Nova Scotia’s plans to perhaps open up for domestic air travel. — CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

PAL Airlines announced during a presentation to Cape Breton Regional Municipality council that the June 28 scheduled launch of the airline at J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport will now be moved toward the end of July.

“It is a likely change — it has not been confirmed in our system just yet,” said Janine Browne, director of business development and sales for the St. John’s, N.L.-based airline. “We have not seen the bookings that we would like to have seen. We hope that that does change, and that bookings will pick up in the next month.”

Expanding outside the Newfoundland and Labrador area, PAL Airlines initially planned to launch at Sydney airport on May 31. Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases at the time and the ensuing “circuit-breaker” lockdown put into effect in Nova Scotia, that launch date was then pushed back to June 28.

With Nova Scotia just announcing its second phase of easing pandemic restrictions and its participation in the Atlantic bubble for June 23, Browne said she would like to see the Sydney-Halifax route “meet a demand that exists in the market, and that we’re able to launch a sustainable, long-term flight” for that route.

Browne told the Cape Breton Post that so far the date change appears to apply only to the Sydney-Halifax flight, “but we’re monitoring the demand in all the regions we’re deploying. It’s looking very strong in some regions, and it’s not in others.” 

BASED ON DEMAND

Sydney airport CEO Mike MacKinnon, who confirmed July 30 as PAL’s newest restart date, said the airline is taking these date adjustments seriously.

Mike MacKinnon - Contributed
Mike MacKinnon – Contributed

“Their business decisions are based on the demand out there,” he said. “And because of the uncertainty of the restrictions in our province, that has curtailed consumer demand up until this point.

“Now we, or the airline, might start to see bookings gather some steam with the news about the Atlantic bubble coming back and hopefully more good news will come in the conversations between the premiers to talk about reopening our region to the rest of Canada.”

PAL’s three-times-a-week departure schedule from Sydney and three-times-a-week arrival schedule from Halifax on alternate days will remain the same, Browne said.

Browne and PAL’s sales director Steve Short also told council of its pricing scale for the eventual launch: starting with an introductory price of $69 one-way — one of four different pricing levels offered.

More information is available at PAL Airlines’ website.

Air Transat unveils its winter 2021-22 program

Nearly 50 destinations on three continents will be offered, including two new ones: Miami and Fort Myers

MONTREAL, June 16, 2021 /CNW/ – Air Transat is proud to present its winter 2021-22 flight program. Starting November 1, it will offer flights to nearly 50 destinations throughout the CaribbeanMexicoCentral and South Americathe United States and Europe.

This program also features two new destinations in Florida—Miami and Fort Myers, with direct flights from Montreal—in addition to flights already scheduled for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

“We know that our clients are eager to travel, whether it’s to visit loved ones or for a change of scenery,” says Annick Guérard, President and CEO of Transat. “And we are sure to meet this strong, pent-up demand with the rich variety of destinations we are offering this winter. Plus, by adding Miami and Fort Myers to our program, we are consolidating our position in the United States, a popular sun destination for Canadian travellers.”

Starting December 2021, Air Transat will fly to Miami four times a week, and to Fort Myers twice a week.

Flights to three continents this winter

To quench Canadians’ wanderlust, direct flights will be offered from eight Canadian cities: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Halifax and Moncton.

In addition to flights to the South, Air Transat will also offer vacationers a selection of South packages, featuring 290 properties and four collections: LuxuryOut of OfficeFamily and Solo.

From Montreal, Air Transat will operate direct flights to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Martinique, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, El Salvador and the United States.

Travellers from Toronto will be able to fly direct to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, St. Maarten and the United States.

From Quebec City, seven sunny destinations will be accessible by direct flight to Cuba, the United States, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

And lastly, to allow Canadians to travel across their country and to increase connecting opportunities to international destinations, Air Transat will also operate domestic flights between Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver.

As for Europe, Air Transat will gradually offer direct flights from Montreal to France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. There will also be direct flights from Toronto to the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, and from Quebec City to France.

It is important to note that, should the situation change and force the company to alter its flight schedule, clients affected by cancellations would be eligible for a refund.

For travel inspiration and details on routes offered, travellers are invited to visit the dedicated page on the Air Transat website.

About Air Transat

Air Transat is Canada’s number one leisure airline. It flies to some 60 international destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada, and carries some 5 million passengers every year. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel and offering vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel. Transat was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development. Its head office is located in Montreal.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

Air Canada Supports Economic Recovery as the Country’s Leading Carrier, Serving 50 Cities Across Canada to Enable Canadians to Conveniently Connect

  • Most extensive domestic schedule supports Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector
  • Includes three new routes, re-established routes plus Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class cabins on select transcontinental routes
  • New refund policy gives additional peace of mind

MONTREAL, June 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada’s domestic peak summer schedule beginning at the end of June has been developed to advance the country’s economic recovery and support Canada’s tourism and hospitality businesses during the important summer period.  Three new domestic Canada routes, service to 50 Canadian airports, the re-establishment of select regional routes, and wide-body aircraft featuring Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class on select transcontinental routes are included. Seats with attractive pricing in all cabins are available for purchase now at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

“We are especially proud that our new state-of-the-art, Canadian-manufactured Airbus A220 aircraft will be operating across Canada. With our industry-leading CleanCare+ bio-safety protocols, promotional fares including for our premium cabins, compelling Aeroplan opportunities, and our new refund policy offering additional peace of mind, customers can book Air Canada with confidence.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard when you’re ready to fly,” concluded Mr. Galardo.

Air Canada’s new refund policy provides customers an option for a refund to the original form of payment in instances where Air Canada cancels their flight or reschedules the departure time by more than three hours, irrespective of the reason. Air Canada customers will also have the option of accepting an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.  Normal fare rules will apply when customers make voluntary changes to non-affected flights.

New route details:

RouteFrequencyAircraftEffective
Montreal-Deer LakeDailyCRJ900Jul 1, 2021
Montreal-Kelowna3x Weekly July4x Weekly AugAirbus A220June 26, 2021
Montreal-Saskatoon-ReginaDailyCRJ900Aug 1, 2021

Resumption of services:

Airport StationRouteEffectiveFrequency
Gander Gander – HalifaxJun 293x Weekly
 Gander – TorontoJul 25x Weekly
St. John’s St. John’s – TorontoJun 19Daily
Goose Bay Goose Bay – St. John’sJun 293x Weekly
Deer Lake Deer Lake – HalifaxAug 15x Weekly
Halifax Halifax – CalgaryAug 15x Weekly
Sydney Sydney – TorontoJun 263x Weekly
 Sydney – MontrealAug 1Daily
Charlottetown Charlottetown – TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Saint John Saint John – MontrealJun 303x Weekly
 Saint John – TorontoJul 24x Weekly
Fredericton Fredericton – MontrealJun 29Daily
 Fredericton – TorontoJul 15x Weekly
Bathurst Bathurst – MontrealJun 273x Weekly
Quebec City Quebec City – TorontoJun 191x Daily
Ottawa Ottawa – CalgaryJul 2Daily
 Ottawa – EdmontonAug 12x Weekly
North Bay North Bay – TorontoJun 283x Weekly
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray – TorontoJuly 12x Weekly
Winnipeg Winnipeg – CalgaryJun 206x weekly
 Winnipeg – MontrealAug 1Daily
Regina Regina – CalgaryJul 15x Weekly
Saskatoon Saskatoon – CalgaryJul 25x Weekly
Kamloops Kamloops – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
 Kamloops – CalgaryJun 284x Weekly
Comox Comox – VancouverJun 303x Weekly
Nanaimo Nanaimo – TorontoJul 41x Weekly
 Nanaimo – CalgaryJul 25x weekly
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert – VancouverJun 253x Weekly
Penticton Penticton – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
Sandspit Sandspit – VancouverJun 233x Weekly
Victoria Montreal – VictoriaJun 193x Weekly
 Toronto – VictoriaJun 194x Weekly
 Calgary – VictoriaJun 214x Weekly
Castlegar Castlegar – VancouverJun 283x Weekly
Kelowna Kelowna TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Yellowknife Yellowknife – CalgaryJun 303x Weekly

Air Canada is also providing connectivity to five additional regional communities through interline agreements with third party regional carriers: Wabush, Baie Comeau, Gaspe, Mont Joli, and Val d’Or.

Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2020 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Air Canada Cargo Announces Launch Routes For its Newly Converted Freighter Aircraft Arriving This Fall

MONTREAL, June 14, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo today announced the initial list of planned routes for the Boeing 767-300ER freighters scheduled to enter service this fall. Air Canada is in the process of fully converting several of its Boeing 767 aircraft into dedicated freighters in order to fully participate in global cargo commercial opportunities.

When the first converted 767 freighters enters service in October, they will fly primarily out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, and will operate on routes linking Toronto to Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara, the first time Air Canada Cargo will serve this destination. Additional destinations to be served in early 2022, include Halifax, St. John’s, Madrid and Frankfurt as more freighters enter service.

“These freighters will provide long-term stability and growth for our cargo customers, in particular the freight forwarding community who require reliable air freight capacity year-round. They will allow us to continue building on the success of our cargo-only flights and are an important part of our future growth. I am excited to have these aircraft enter service, a milestone for Air Canada Cargo that also opens up a world of opportunities for us and our customers,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo at Air Canada.

Air Canada has begun the process of converting certain of its Boeing 767s that have been retired from its passenger fleet into fully dedicated freighters. As part of that process, all seats are removed from the aircraft, a large door is cut into the fuselage to allow for loading of palletized cargo, and the floor is reinforced to carry additional weight. Air Canada Cargo plans to have two freighters in service by the end of 2021, with more to join the fleet in 2022.

The addition of dedicated freighter aircraft to Air Canada’s fleet will allow Air Canada Cargo to provide consistent capacity on key air cargo routes, which will facilitate the movement of goods globally. With these freighters, Air Canada Cargo will enhance its capabilities to transport goods such as automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, pharmaceuticals, perishables, as well as handling the growing demand for fast, reliable shipment of e-commerce goods.

In the fall of 2020, Air Canada successfully concluded a collective agreement amendment with its pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association for contractual changes to enable Air Canada to competitively operate dedicated cargo aircraft in the cargo marketplace.

Since March 2020, Air Canada has operated more than 9,000 all-cargo flights using its wide-body passenger aircraft as well as certain temporarily modified Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft, which have additional available cargo space due to the removal of seats from the passenger cabin.

Swoop Responds to Growing Demand for Ultra-Low-Cost Travel

Airline announces fleet expansion and winter flying as new daily bookings return to pre-pandemic levels

CALGARY, AB, June 10, 2021 /CNW/ – Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier, today released its expanded winter schedule including increased non-stop domestic service and the re-introduction of flights to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Following a sustained pattern of new daily bookings on par with pre-pandemic levels, the airline also announced it will proceed with planned fleet growth, inducting its tenth Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft into service this winter.  

The first Canadian airline to fully re-enter its entire fleet into service, Swoop will operate all nine of its aircraft domestically during peak summer. The airline’s winter schedule will provide travellers with ultra-low-cost flights across Canada, as well as to sun and fun destinations including Montego Bay in Jamaica, Las Vegas and Mesa/Phoenix in the U.S., and Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán in Mexico.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for travel this summer, most especially in provinces where vaccination and re-opening plans are on track and clearly outlined,” said Charles Duncan, President of Swoop. “With the release of our winter schedule, those who are planning further ahead or dreaming of a vacation abroad can find our always affordable flights and Getaway packages available for booking through April 2022.”

As the airline that always has deals on already affordable flights, Swoop will offer scheduled winter service to 14 destinations, with ultra-low fares starting from just $40 CAD † total price in the example of a one-way Abbotsford to Edmonton flight. The addition of a tenth aircraft in time for the winter flying season will allow Canada’s leading ULCC to add new routes, destinations, and frequencies in pace with demand.

“Consumer confidence is coming back, and the message is clear, Canadians are ready to start planning that long overdue trip,” continued Duncan. “When travellers are ready, we look forward to safely welcoming them back onboard our aircraft.”

Details of Swoop’s Winter 2021 Schedule and flights currently for sale:

Domestic RoutesPeak Season
Frequency
Days of WeekService start dates
Toronto – Edmonton14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Toronto – Abbotsford7x weeklyDailyJun 20
Toronto – Halifax7x weeklyDailyJul 16
Toronto – Kelowna7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Toronto – Victoria6x weeklyDaily, except
Saturday
Jun 24
Hamilton – Edmonton7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Hamilton – Abbotsford14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Hamilton – Halifax4x weeklyMon, Thu, Fri, SunJun 24
Hamilton – Winnipeg4x weeklyTue, Thu, Fri, SatAlready in Service
Hamilton – Kelowna6x weeklyDaily, except
Saturday
Jun 20
Edmonton – Abbotsford14x weekly2x DailyAlready in Service
Edmonton – Winnipeg2x weeklyMon, FriNov 1
Edmonton – Victoria7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Winnipeg – Abbotsford7x weeklyDailyAlready in Service
Winnipeg – Kelowna3x weeklyTue, Thu, FriJun 24
Transborder RoutesPeak Season
Frequency
Days of WeekService start dates
Edmonton – Mesa/Phoenix4x weeklyMon, Wed, Fri, SatSept 17
Edmonton – Las Vegas5x weeklyMon, Tue, Thu, Fri,
Sun
Sept 23
Toronto – Mesa2x weeklyTue, ThuNov 2
Winnipeg – Mesa/Phoenix2x weeklyMon, FriNov 1
International RoutesPeak Season
Frequency
Days of WeekService start dates
Toronto – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyWed, SunNov 3
Toronto – Cancun4x weeklyMon, Wed, Fri, SunSept 18
Toronto – Montego Bay3x weeklyTue, Thu, SatSept 11
Hamilton – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyTue, FriOct 5
Hamilton- Cancun3x weeklyMon, Wed, SatOct 2
Hamilton – Montego Bay 1x weeklyFridayOct 15
Edmonton – Cancun3x weeklyMon, Wed, SatOct 2
Edmonton-Puerto Vallarta3x weeklyTue, Fri, SunOct 5
Edmonton – Mazatlán2x weeklyWed, SatOct 23
Winnipeg – Cancun3x weeklyTue, Thu, SunNov 7
Winnipeg – Puerto Vallarta2x weeklyMon, ThuNov 4
Abbotsford – Puerto
Vallarta
2x weeklyWed, SatNov 3

†One-way flight from Abbotsford (YXX) to Edmonton (YEG) when you book by June 20, for travel between October 31 – November 10, 2021.  Restrictions may apply, for full details see FlySwoop.com/deals.

To learn more about Swoop and find ultra-low fare flights, please visit FlySwoop.com.

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 nine 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.

Flair Airlines Extends Domestic Schedule into 2022

The growing ULCC has released its Winter 2021/22 schedule for sale with fares starting from as low as $19

Edmonton, Alberta, May 27, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), has expanded its schedule with flights to domestic destinations now on sale until March 2022.  With 24 routes and over 650,000 seats on sale, Winter 2021/22 will be Flair’s biggest ever winter schedule.

The winter schedule is part of Flair’s expansion of service to bring low fare air travel to more Canadians. The airline has 13 new aircraft on order joining the fleet in 2021 and 2022.

“We understand how keen Canadians are to travel again and our winter schedule will provide affordable air travel options to help connect the many families and friends who have been apart for the past year,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “With fares available from as low as $19 and new aircraft joining the fleet, Flair will continue its expansion into the winter season.”

Bookings are now available for travel through March 26, 2022.

https://flyflair.com/where-we-fly

Flight restart date for Saint John Airport pushed back, more airlines added

From CBC News – link to source story

Air Canada flights now scheduled to return on June 30, with a total of five airlines set to hit the runway

Marie Sutherland · CBC News · May 25, 2021

An Air Canada flight from Montreal arrives at the Saint John Airport in the pre-pandemic days. The restart dates for many airlines have been tweaked ahead of the province’s reopening plan announcements, with flights now scheduled to resume on July 2. (Roger Cosman/CBC file photo)

The restart date for flights out of Saint John Airport has been pushed back again ahead of New Brunswick’s reopening-plan announcements, with flights out of YSJ now scheduled to resume on June 30.  

The restart date, which was previously set at June 1, has always been a bit of a moving target because of the shifting COVID-19 landscape, acting CEO Greg Hierlihy said in an interview Tuesday.

“All the airlines, as are we, are looking for and monitoring the reopening plans,” Hierlihy said. “New Brunswick and Atlantic provinces are announcing their reopening plans in the near future, so they’re all going to watch to see what those look like.”

But once they do get going, there will be quite the buffet of options to choose from.

“We have several airlines lined up to fly Saint John, so we’re thrilled about that,” Hierlihy said.

The latest restart dates for Saint John Airport flights are as follows:

  • Air Canada plans to restart flights to YSJ as of June 30 
  • Flair Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier, plans to begin flights July 2 
  • PAL Airlines has also joined the roster, with daily flights to Halifax five days a week to start on Aug. 2 
  • Porter Airlines has delayed its network-wide restart to July 21
  • And by wintertime, when you’re really ready for an escape, Sunwing Airlines plans to resume flights down south on Feb. 5
Acting CEO Greg Hierlihy says that a total of at least five airlines will fly into and out of Saint John once things start moving again, hopefully by the end of June. (Credit: Brian Comeau)

Reopening plans key to flights resuming

Could these dates change again?

It’s possible, Hierlihy said, noting it all revolves around travel restrictions and the amount of demand airlines anticipate.

“If the restrictions aren’t loosened on non-essential travel and 14-day [quarantines], the chances of them launching the service are quite low,” he said.

“They have to see in these reopening plans what the path is to loosening those restrictions. That would be the key criteria.”

Airlines have been buffeted by constantly changing pandemic developments, including the postponement of the planned April 19 reopening of the Atlantic bubble and variant outbreaks popping up in provinces across the country.

But a steadily widening vaccine rollout is starting to bite into those numbers, fuelling hope and reopening plans. 

Higgs suggests reopening plans are imminent

At Tuesday’s COVID-19 update, Premier Blaine Higgs said the province has made “incredible progress” in the vaccine rollout, noting he expects that 60 per cent of New Brunswickers will be vaccinated by the end of this week.

He also suggested preliminary discussions for a New Brunswick reopening are underway.

“The rollout plan that we will jointly put together and release will reflect us reaching those targeted levels of 75 per cent”  of the population receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

“Hopefully over coming few days to a week we’ll be able to outline a path, monitoring closely what we see right now … how well we are able to contain [the outbreak] in the Fredericton area and understand exactly where the issues are arising.”

Hierlihy said he’ll be watching for any news of reopening plans closely.

“We’re optimistic that once we get going there’ll be demand, and we’ve got a variety of airlines that are going to fly out” of Saint John, Hierlihy said.

Once they do, what’s the first getaway on his list?

“Probably Kelowna,” he said. “I love it there. … And probably for sure March break I’ll be going somewhere south.”

Sydney airport CEO encouraged by entry of new regional airline

From CBC News – link to source story

Mike MacKinnon says new flights from PAL Airlines will add jobs, boost confidence among travellers

Tom Ayers · CBC News · May 26, 2021

The CEO of the airport in Sydney, N.S., is looking forward to the return of air travel at the end of June, especially with the addition of new flights from regional carrier PAL Airlines. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

The CEO of the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport is looking forward to the resumption of air travel in the Atlantic region, and he’s especially excited about the new arrival of an airline from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mike MacKinnon said having PAL Airlines come into the Maritimes will create jobs and add options for travellers.

“Pre-pandemic, the airport itself had about 140 direct jobs at the airport … with the different entities that work here and we’re below 30 now, so anything is going to be an improvement over where we’ve been for the last year to 14, 15 months,” he said.

Commercial flights have been shut down at Atlantic airports since January. They were set to restart at the end of May, but the pandemic’s third wave put that on hold.

PAL Airlines has announced it will be flying out of Halifax, Charlottetown and Fredericton starting at the end of June and its inaugural flight out of Sydney, N.S., is on June 28.

WestJet plans to restart Sydney-to-Halifax flights on June 28, while Air Canada has said it is resuming flights from Sydney to Toronto and Montreal on June 26 and from Sydney to Halifax on July 1.

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales with PAL Airlines, says the company identified gaps in the regional marketplace and has the equipment and staff to fill them. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

MacKinnon said adding flight choices in Sydney will boost confidence among travellers.

“It’s the road to recovery,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see that we’ve got a new carrier who are going to be operating interregional routes around Atlantic Canada and that’s great for our airport.”

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales with PAL Airlines, said the company identified gaps in the regional marketplace and already has the equipment and staff to fill them.

“It’s a huge expansion,” she said.

“Our team is very excited that, during this challenging time, that we are able to do this.”

The airline is starting from Sydney with a 37-seat Dash 8 that can also carry cargo.

‘People are really, really eager to travel,’ says PAL spokesperson

Browne said the company is prepared to operate in a new environment, given differing health restrictions in each province.

“We’re obviously keeping a close eye on government restrictions and respecting that, but we think it’s going to be the right time and we think that people are really, really eager to travel,” she said.

“People are looking to get on that plane. People are looking to get in the air and fly.”

PAL announced its plans to fly out of Sydney on Tuesday morning and by midday, had already taken some bookings, Browne said.

Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group Launches its Prestige Concierge Service

MONTREAL, May 17, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group (“IEAG”) announced today that it has expanded the Concierge services capability of both of its Aircraft Management and Charter operating units for the benefit of its clients via the introduction of its Prestige Concierge Service by IEAG.

With aircraft based across Canada including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, the Prestige Concierge Service will help IEAG engage its customers by opening doors to high-touch personalized service, a wealth of special offers, as well as access to extraordinary experiences. This service expansion speaks to IEAG’s unwavering commitment to improving the customer experience and establishing a true travel support capability for our valued clients.

This Prestige Concierge Service is a true testament to our customer service philosophy and our efforts to consistently and continuously improve the travel experience for our clients, said Michael Fedele, President, Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group.

Since 1967, corporate aircraft owners have trusted IEAG to manage their aircraft with a fully-integrated service offering and unique capability that supports its customers throughout their aircraft life-cycle.

This new Service will allow IEAG clients to benefit from offers and privileges worldwide across a wide range of lifestyle services, including hotels and villas, VIP experiences, culinary adventures, exquisite vacation packages and more.

We have been providing dedicated Concierge services to our client for years, however we are extremely excited to be launching this service enhancement in response to our clients’ growing full-service travel needs. This is an important milestone in our services evolution and reinforces our 100% commitment to providing a true lifestyles support experience for our customers, said Michael Fedele, President, Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group.

About Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group

IEAG is a leading full-service provider of aviation and technical support services to business aircraft OEMs, owners, operators, and commercial airlines. Based in Montreal, Quebec, IEAG offers a full range of aircraft interior/exterior refurbishment and technical services, including non-destructive testing, and has maintenance capabilities and FBO services at airports across Canada including a long history supporting Cessna aircraft from our Authorized Service Facility at Toronto Pearson for over 40 years. With a comprehensive fleet of business aircraft under management, IEAG has complete flight operations capabilities, as well as a large portion of its business jet fleet available for charter under the Execaire and Image Air brands.

IEAG is a business unit of IMP Group, a Halifax-based company focused on global sustainable growth, and with over 3,500 experienced people delivering service, quality and value to customers across diverse sectors, such as aerospace, aviation, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, and property development.