Category: Hamilton YHM

Swoop Paints the Skies Pink in Celebration of Pink Shirt Day

Provided by Swoop/CNW

The ultra-low-cost carrier encourages Canadians to#LiftEachOtherUp

CALGARY, Feb. 26, 2020 /CNW/ – Today on Pink Shirt Day, Swoop is calling on Canadians to #LiftEachOtherUp through an exciting social media campaign in support of anti-bullying initiatives. Canada’s ultra-low fare airline is partnering with CKNW Kids’ Fund’s Pink Shirt Day and donating $20,000 to programs supporting children’s healthy self-esteem across Canada.

#LiftEachOtherUp (CNW Group/Swoop)
#LiftEachOtherUp (CNW Group/Swoop)

“We are thrilled to be the official social media sponsor of Pink Shirt Day, helping to create positive spaces where people can say ‘no’ to bullying behaviour and say ‘yes’ to encouraging and supporting each other,” says Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “Pink Shirt Day is a powerful day to highlight the importance of compassion and how kind words and small actions can have meaningful impacts in our communities.”

Today, on Pink Shirt Day, social media posts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be posted by FlySwoop and Pink Shirt Day that will encourage viewers to like, comment, share and retweet. For every cumulative engagement on the posts, Swoop will donate $1 to anti-bullying initiatives, up to $20,000. Canadians are asked to share these posts using the #LiftEachOtherUp hashtag.

“Since 2008, Pink Shirt Day has raised more than $2.3 million to support youth anti-bullying programs throughout Western Canada, sending a strong message that we care,” says Sara Dubois-Phillips, Executive Director of the CKNW Kids’ Fund. “Often, this one day can start conversations and raise awareness which can be a big step towards healing and helping. We are excited for Swoop to be joining us, demonstrating the power of positive and encouraging behavior.”

Pink Shirt Day has grown from a small group of Canadians to an internationally recognized movement, seeing global partners come together, wearing pink to affirm that we, as a society, will not tolerate bullying anywhere. Canadians are encouraged to join Swoop in practicing kindness and wearing pink to symbolize that bullying doesn’t belong in our communities. 

Today, all Swoop employees will wear custom pink shirts to go along with their already pink wardrobes to show their support for this initiative. Also participating in Pink Shirt Day are Swoop’s airport partners at the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, St.  John’s International Airport, Charlottetown Airport, London International Airport, John C.  Munro Hamilton International Airport and Abbotsford International Airport.

For more information about Pink Shirt Day, visit: https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/.

Hamilton International celebrates three years of unprecedented growth

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport Press Release – with a hint from Richard

Hamilton, ON (January 23, 2020) – John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is excited to share its 2019 passenger and cargo traffic results as well as updates on investments at the Airport.  Last year, 955,373 passengers travelled through Hamilton International representing a 32% growth over 2018, 60% over 2017 and a remarkable 187% over 2016, representing almost triple the passenger activity from three years ago. The Airport expects to see this growth trajectory continue in 2020 due in part to new seasonal routes from Swoop beginning this summer from June through October 2020 between Hamilton, Ontario and St. John’s (Newfoundland), Moncton (New Brunswick) and Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island).

These new services are a fantastic complement to the current Swoop schedule in Hamilton which includes year-round destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. WestJet continues its six weekly flights between Hamilton and Calgary and will add additional frequencies during the peak summer season. Seasonal carriers Air Transat and Sunwing also continue to offer additional vacation options for customers in the Hamilton region during the winter season.

Along with continued growth in the passenger segment, the Airport remains Canada’s largest overnight express cargo airport and in 2019, cargo activity steadily has grown to represent an increase of 21% over the same three-year period since 2016.   Steady growth in the cargo segment has created the demand for additional cargo facilities and jobs in Hamilton. In 2019, DHL Canada broke ground on its new 200,000 square foot facility that will be four times the size of the current DHL facility at the Airport and will feature a fully automated sort system with a capacity of processing 15,000 packages per hour. This will be DHL’s largest facility in Canada and represents a $100 million dollar investment by DHL in Hamilton.

In 2019, KF Aerospace commenced construction of its $30 million expansion of its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Hamilton International.  It’s first of two facilities, the new 75,000 square foot hangar introduces wide-body aircraft capability and generates additional steady, full-time jobs to the region over the next four years. It will also allow KF Aerospace to provide state-of-the-art shops, classroom and hangar space for Mohawk College’s Aviation Technician programs.

“Within the last three years Hamilton International Airport has been one of the fastest growing airports in North America,” said Cathie Puckering, President & CEO, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. “The opportunities and potential in Hamilton are being recognized by companies who have invested millions to build and expand at the Airport.  Hamilton International is well positioned to continue to be an economic engine for the city, region and province.”

In 2019, Hamilton International also began an Airfield Rehabilitation and Modernization Project to fully restore its two main runways, supporting taxiways and lighting systems over the next four years. These projects will improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of airport operations, accelerate investment to accommodate the increasing use of larger wide-body aircraft for domestic and long-haul traffic to support current and future growth through Hamilton International. The total project cost is $38.89 million and gained support from Transport Canada and its National Trade Corridor Fund that will contribute $18.54 million, with the balance funded by airport operator TradePort International Corporation, as part of its capital investment plan.

More than 100 Swoop passengers stranded in Mexico after flight attendant injured

News provided by CTV News – link to full story and updates

Ben Cousins CTVNews.ca Writer Published Thursday, January 16, 2020

Swoop Airlines

Swoop Airlines Boeing 737 on display during their media event, Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

TORONTO — A flight attendant injury onboard a Swoop airlines flight heading to Cancun left more than 100 passengers scheduled for the return flight stranded in Mexico for days.

Ann Marie Tulett, who was supposed to be on the flight back to Hamilton after a vacation with her husband, said Swoop employees did not inform them of the situation until much later and gave passengers two nights’ accommodation in hotels that were less than desired.

“They were shipping everybody into the downtown core of Cancun, which is not a safe area at all,” Tulett told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.

Tulett called the hotel that Swoop had directed her and her husband to an “absolute dump,” to the point where she opted to sleep on the patio furniture outside instead of the room.

“Our beds were on concrete slabs, there were cockroaches running around the hotel,” she said. “It was just disgusting.”

Tulett is scheduled to return back to Hamilton on Thursday evening, but said other passengers were told they would not be able to fly back using Swoop until as late as Jan. 23, more than a week after they were scheduled to land back in Hamilton. Tulett added that some passengers — including some of her travel companions — chose to pay out of pocket for a flight home on another airline.

Tulett said the biggest issue she has with the Swoop’s handling of the situation is the lack of communication on their behalf, including when it comes to informing passengers how they can apply for their expenses to be reimbursed.

“It’s just awful,” she said.

“You can’t get a hold of anybody at Swoop. I’ve messaged them. I’ve emailed them. I’ve called them (and) sat on the phone for an hour and a half on hold. I finally gave up.”

Swoop Airlines said flight WO651 scheduled for Jan. 14 was cancelled after a flight attendant on the inbound flight was injured.

“Industry regulations stipulate that we cannot operate a flight without a full complement of crew,” the company said in a statement. “All impacted travellers were offered several reaccommodation options to get them where they need to go in accordance to our Flight Interruption Policies. Travellers were also offered hotel and meal vouchers.”

Swoop added when a cancellation like this occurs “call centre wait times do increase.”

“We understand how frustrating it is when travel doesn’t go as planned and apologize for the inconvenience,” she said.

Swoop grows its East Coast network

Provided by Swoop/CNW

The ultra-low-fare airline’s 10 aircraft allows for flights between Hamilton and St. John’s, Moncton and Charlottetown

CALGARY, Jan. 9, 2020 /CNW/ – As part of it’s 2020 summer schedule, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., announced its East Coast network expansion, with flights between Hamilton, Ontario and St. John’s, NL; Moncton, NB; and Charlottetown, PEI. The new service will begin in June as Swoop receives its tenth aircraft.

“The growth of our fleet means more opportunities for Canadians as we continue our mission of making air travel simple, affordable and accessible for every traveller,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “Our growth in Eastern Canada is an exciting milestone for Swoop, proving our ability to develop our network domestically, while also adding to our U.S. and international destinations,”

The tenth aircraft means greater opportunities for Canadians to travel throughout North America, increasing the airline’s weekly frequencies to popular domestic, U.S. and international destinations.

The new service between John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and St. John’s, Moncton and Charlottetown will run from June through October 2020, serving those travellers looking to experience Canada’s exceptional East Coast.

“This announcement by Swoop is very exciting as these new routes into the Maritimes will allow customers from Hamilton to explore even more destinations from coast to coast within Canada,” said Cathie Puckering, President & CEO, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. “These new services will offer a wonderful opportunity to experience the beauty of Atlantic Canada and are a fantastic complement to the current Swoop schedule in Hamilton which includes destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.”

Details of Swoop’s new service to Atlantic Canada:

Service BetweenService OfferedWeekly FrequencyService Run-time
Hamilton, ON to St. John’s, NLDaily7 x per weekJune 22, 2020 – October 23, 2020
Hamilton, ON to Moncton, NBMonday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday4 x per weekJune 24, 2020 – October 23, 2020
Hamilton, ON to Charlottetown, PEITuesday, Thursday and Saturday3 x per weekJune 27, 2020 – October 22, 2020

The ultra-low-cost carrier’s Summer 2020 network serves 12 domestic, five transborder and three international destinations, offering the unbundled model to travellers across North America. Ensuring fares remain low, Swoop’s model offers a base fare that starts with just a seat, giving travellers the power to add the things they want, and nothing they don’t, fulfilling a need in the Canadian marketplace.

“We’re delighted to welcome Swoop as our newest airline partner, providing service to our community at competitive fares,” said Peter Avery, CEO at St. John’s International Airport. “This new link to Hamilton will increase accessibility to Ontario, our largest market, and will facilitate the already strong connections between Newfoundland and the Hamilton region.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Swoop to Charlottetown,” said Doug Newson, CEO for Charlottetown Airport. “With Swoop’s non-stop flight between Charlottetown and Hamilton, Swoop is making it easier for visitors to travel to our beautiful Island in the summer months while also providing Islanders with a direct, low-cost travel option to Ontario.”

“We are absolutely delighted to have Swoop serve our market and that they have selected the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport as their New Brunswick destination partner,” said Bernard LeBlanc, President and CEO of Greater Moncton International Airport Authority. “A low-cost carrier like Swoop will offer new travel opportunities for our community and this will ultimately benefit not only this region, but the Province of New Brunswick as a whole.”

Family kicked off plane because daughter threw up before take off forced to cancel vacation

News provided by CTV News – link to full story and video

Sean Davidson, Multi-Platform Writer, CTV News Toronto, 2 January 2020

TORONTO — An Ontario family who said they were kicked off a plane because one of their daughters threw up before take off is furious with the airline who then demanded they pay thousands of dollars to rebook their trip.

Newmarket father Patrick Gerard, his wife Ashli Gerard and their three-year-old twin daughters had booked a trip to British Columbia to visit family and friends over Christmas and New Year’s. They were supposed to fly with Swoop Airlines from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport to Abbotsford on Dec. 22 at 7 a.m.

The family-of-four spent the night in a Hamilton hotel before their flight and drove to the airport early in the morning.

Swoop

“We got to the airport and everything was normal. As soon as we got on the plane, one of my twin daughters threw up,” Gerard told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “A flight attendant saw it, came over and said ‘Don’t worry about it’ and he helped us clean up.”

“She was fine again, smiling, laughing – it was the twins first time flying. Then another flight attendant came up and told us the flight was being held because of us.”

Gerard said he was told the flight attendants were deciding whether it was safe for his daughter to fly. 

Plane

“The flight attendant talked to the pilot and then came back and said ‘I’m sorry but all four of you have to get off the plane.'”

“I didn’t want to be one of those people who put up a fight on a plane, so we agreed. They escorted us to the door of the plane. The girls were freaking out. It’s dark, cold and the engines are incredibly loud.”

Gerard said when they got off the plane a baggage handler told him to follow the white line on the pavement back into the terminal. 

“We were left to figure it out on our own,” Gerard said. “The ticket agent had no clue what to do next. They gave us a phone number to call because they couldn’t rebook us at the gate.”

Swoop

Gerard said the phone number they were given was an Alberta number and because it was so early the office was not yet open. They were left waiting in the terminal until the phone lines opened a couple hours later.

“They said they would refund my one daughter who was sick and my wife one-way. They said me and my other daughter didn’t have to get off the plane.”

Gerard said after he argued with staff, they agreed to fully refund all four tickets but only if they rebooked for the next morning and paid the fare difference – which came out to $2,500.

“That’s a lot of money for us. Part of me just wanted get there but the practical side knew we couldn’t afford this. So we said no.”

But when Gerard told the airline they couldn’t afford to rebook, he said the agent told them they could now only refund his daughter’s one-way ticket.

“How did it go from two people, to all four, and now to one? We put up a stink. My daughter is a minor, legally she can’t get off the plane by herself.”

After another hour of arguing over the phone, Gerard said the airline agreed to refund two tickets but only one-way. 

“We were pretty bummed coming home,” Gerard said. “Our whole Christmas was screwed. We are still supposed to be out there.”

After returning home, Gerard and his wife took their frustration online and posted a video to Facebook detailing their experience.

Family

On Christmas Eve, the airline contacted them and said they would refund two round trip tickets and two one-way tickets. 

Exhausted by the ordeal, they agreed but are still angry to be out nearly $1,000 in costs for the other two tickets and baggage fees. 

“I’m angry and disappointed. The fact Swoop did next to nothing to help us out, especially this time of year when generosity is more flowing. We were abandoned and they did nothing to help us.”

“My daughter was completely fine, I think she was just nervous. She is three years old. She was excited and nervous about flying.”

Swoop

“It’s not so much the money, even if they have a right to take us off the flight, the handling of the situation afterwards was poor. The experience was awful,” Gerard said.

Gerard said the family missed out on visiting relatives and friends but is hoping to book a trip out west during March break.

CTV News Toronto has contacted Swoop Airlines but has not yet received a response. 

Airline passengers furious after diverted Halifax-Hamilton flight strands them in Montreal

News provided by Global News – link to full story and updates

BY DAN SPECTOR GLOBAL NEWS Posted December 30, 2019

 A Hamilton-bound flight from Halifax was rerouted to Montreal as a cocktail of winter weather pelted Quebec and Ontario. As Global’s Dan Spector reports, the situation went from bad to worse as passengers tried to get to their final destinations and many are now seeking compensation.

WATCH: Link to Video

Dozens of flights at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport have been delayed or cancelled because of the weather, but one group of passengers was particularly angry.

Their Swoop flight was from Halifax to Hamilton, but they ended up having a long, anxiety-filled surprise visit to Montreal.

“It’s very frustrating. It’s a feeling of being abandoned and like they didn’t really care,” said Linda Withers, who was on the plane.

The flight left Halifax just after midnight Atlantic time, destined for Hamilton, before bad weather forced a diversion to Montreal. The plane landed at Trudeau airport just after 2:30 a.m.

“Basically, they gave us a number to call but it didn’t open till 8 o’clock Mountain Time when we were getting off the plan at around 3:00 a.m.,” Withers recounted.

The passengers say they were left guessing just how they’d get to Hamilton.

At about 5:30 a.m., Swoop sent an email to the passengers, saying transportation was scheduled for them at 7:00 a.m. Then, at 6:30 a.m, another email came in saying two buses would arrive to pick them up at 9:30 a.m. to drive them to Hamilton, but there wasn’t going to be enough room for everyone.

“They did the women-and-children-first thing; there was a pregnant lady who got on, which I totally agree with,” said Brad Durant, another passenger who had been visiting the Maritimes for the holidays.

Seeing she likely wouldn’t get on the buses, Withers decided to book another flight to London, Ontario.

“It got cancelled. So, my luggage is somewhere here in this airport and it’s probably going to go to London,” she told Global News.

Many of the passengers stood in the same airport hallway for hours while waiting, and some said airport staff were not welcoming to them.

“People were snapping,” said Durant. “There was a woman and a man at the information booth and they were mad that we were standing around, which was kind of insulting because at the point that happened we were there for about six hours.”

“They probably saw us as a bunch of squatters.”

A spokesperson for the airport said passengers were given water bottles by airport staff.

Finally, two more buses left for Hamilton around 12:30 p.m, 10 hours after the flight landed in Montreal.

“Now we have this seven-hour drive to go on and it’s very unpleasant,” said Durant, just before the bus left.

The passengers are demanding a refund.

In a statement, Swoop cited the bad weather and said “travelers were re-accommodated in accordance with our flight interruption policy,” and apologized for the frustration and inconvenience.

Withers says she may cancel her New Year’s Eve plans.

“I was supposed to go to Niagara Falls for the Bryan Adams concert,” she said. “I don’t know if I feel up to that right about now.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Swoop Continues North American Expansion with Release of 2020 Summer Schedule

Provided by Swoop/CNW

The ultra-low fare airline adds increased service and three new destinations to its network

CALGARY, Dec. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., released its 2020 summer schedule, announcing increased service and three new destinations. Starting in April 2020, Swoop’s newest routes will take travellers to two new domestic destinations including Victoria, Kamloops, and one U.S. destination, San Diego.

With summer being a busy travel season for Canadians, Swoop is also increasing its weekly frequency service between many markets including Hamilton to Winnipeg, Edmonton to Abbotsford, and Abbotsford to Winnipeg.

“In only 18 months, Swoop has experienced significant growth, and we are excited to continue this momentum with the release of our 2020 summer schedule,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “By introducing Swoop to more markets, we are achieving our mission of providing Canadians with accessible summer travel opportunities throughout North America.”

Highlights of Swoop’s 2020 summer schedule includes service between:

  • Edmonton-Kamloops up to four times weekly
  • Winnipeg-London up to four times weekly
  • Winnipeg-Victoria up to five times weekly
  • Edmonton-San Diego up to three times weekly
  • Edmonton-Abbotsford from 16 times weekly, to 24 times weekly
  • Hamilton-Winnipeg, from six times weekly, to 10 times weekly
  • Abbotsford to Winnipeg, from four times weekly, to daily

Since its June 2018 launch, Swoop’s summer network has grown to serve 14 domestic, 10 transborder and four international markets, rapidly expanding the airline’s network across North America. Fulfilling a need in the Canadian marketplace, Swoop continues to make a positive impact on the aviation industry, becoming Canada’s leading domestic, transborder and international ultra-low-cost carrier, with the new schedule set to increase Swoop’s frequency to 328 ultra-low fare weekly flights.

“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Victoria International Airport with new service to Winnipeg,” said Geoff Dickson, President and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority.  “We are one of the lowest cost airports in Canada and that makes us a natural fit with the low-cost business model of Swoop. We look forward to a growing partnership and welcome the new destination and travel options for our local community and visitors to our region.” 

“We’re glad to see Swoop’s growth plan includes increased service for Edmonton International Airport,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport. “We look forward to more flights both for the Edmonton Metro Region and for other communities to come here and experience our great area.”

“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport travellers will have more options this summer thanks to two new direct routes from Swoop,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority. “We are pleased to grow our partnership with Swoop as they continue to expand our community’s connectivity, giving travellers new places to discover and bringing more people to Winnipeg to explore everything our city has to offer.”

“Expanding flight services and destinations continues to be a priority for us at San Diego International Airport,” said Kim Becker, President and CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “We are proud and excited to welcome Swoop with service to Edmonton as our newest travel destination, bringing even more offerings to our passengers in San Diego and Canada.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Kamloops Airport this coming summer season,” said Ed Ratuski, Managing Director, Kamloops Airport. “The return of service between Kamloops and Edmonton will be welcomed by our community and offer great opportunities for adventures on both ends of the route.”

Swoop’s unbundled model ensures fares remain ultra-low, with a base fare that starts with just the seat, giving travellers the power to add the things they want, and nothing they don’t.

Flights are now available for booking through until October 24, 2020. To learn more about Swoop’s destinations, schedule and ultra-low-cost model visit FlySwoop.com or connect with Swoop on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Hamilton International Airport's remediation runway work provides bumpy ride to passengers

News provided by The Hamilton Spectator – link to full story, with a hint from P.N.

Nov 28, 2019 by Kevin Werner, Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton International Airport
Hamilton International Airport is undergoing a four-year rehabilitation project on both its runways along with improving lighting. The airport received $18 million in June from the federal government for the work. – Kevin Werner/Torstar/file

Hamilton resident Robert Cooper, an experienced passenger on many airplane trips, had been flying in and out of Hamilton International Airport for a few months.

So, as his Swoop airplane — Flight 2010, on Oct. 3, in the late afternoon — was making an approach to land at Hamilton International Airport, an announcement was made informing the estimated 100 passengers that it would be an “abrupt” landing. He said the plane landed, and the pilot “slammed the brakes on, and everyone was thrown forward in their seats.

“I have never landed so abruptly in all my years of flying,” said Cooper. “I felt very unsafe.”

The announcement by the pilot on the plane, passengers bracing themselves for a bone-rattling landing and the subsequent sudden stop were an experience he doesn’t want to repeat again.

He said the reason for the shortened landing, he was told, was because the runway the airplane was using was too short.

“This is absolutely ridiculous that the airport runways are not being adequately maintained,” he said.

Cathie Puckering, president and chief executive officer of the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, said in an email that the facility started its airfield rehabilitation and modernization project in August to “fully restore” its two main runways. The airport has one runway that is 10,000-feet long while the other is 6,000-feet long.

The four-year project also includes improving the taxiways and lighting systems.

In June, the airport received $18.5 million from the federal government for its airfield rehabilitation and a modernization project to “support continued cargo and passenger traffic growth.”

The money was for “strengthening” the airport’s primary runway, which is one of southern Ontario’s longest, and improving the airport’s secondary and shorter runway.

Puckering said the airport has discussed the rehabilitation project with all its airlines and government agencies.

“Construction planning determined specific dates and times where the runway landing distance is reduced from its maximum length and continued consultation with the airlines and their chief pilots,” she said.

Alexandre Desjardins, senior communications adviser for Transport Canada said the department has not received any complaints regarding the runways at Hamilton Airport.

“The department does not have any immediate concerns regarding its runways,” he said.

A request for comment from Swoop Airlines was not returned.

Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins, who has been a frequent critic of the airport agreement with the city over the years, said the “biggest” outstanding issue with the airport has been its failure to extend the shorter of the two runways. He said extending the runway was supposed to have happened in the first 20 years of TradePort’s 40-year lease, which it signed with the city in 1996 to operate the facility.

“They won’t do that,” said Collins in a recent interview.

The city spent more than $17 million buying about 308 acres of land around the airport from 2004 to 2014, about half devoted to a long-promised runway extension.

About $10 million was invested in land at the southwest end of the airport for a 914-metre runway expansion that was supposed to have been finished by 2016. But the airport’s operator has yet to make the necessary investment, said Collins.

Franck Scremin, the former CEO for Hamilton International Airport, who moved on to LaGuardia Airport in New Jersey, operated by Vantage Airports, told councillors in 2016 that the north/south runway isn’t in the company’s plans.

“We don’t have the demand to justify the investment,” he told councillors. “It’s not on for the near term.”

Since the incident, Cooper has been flying into Toronto’s Pearson Airport and then battling the traffic to get to his Hamilton home. He refuses to fly into Hamilton International Airport after the incident.

“Let’s hope the political leadership addresses this before an unnecessary tragedy unfolds,” he said.

Kevin Werner is a Regional Reporter for Hamilton Community News (Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Mountain News and Stoney Creek News).

Hamilton mother in ‘shock’ after her and son with disabilities kicked off Swoop airlines flight

News provided by Global News – link to full story, updates & video

BY KAMIL KARAMALI GLOBAL NEWS Posted November 6, 2019

 A Hamilton woman said she was booted from a Swoop airlines flight because her son with autism had an outburst. Kamil Karamali reports.

WATCH: Link to Video

A Hamilton mother says she’s still in shock after she and her 21-year-old son with disabilities were booted off a Swoop flight on Friday because on-board staff claimed her son was too “violent.”

“He’s 21 but he’s mentally like a small child,” said Nicco Iavarone’s mother, Andrea Iavarone.

“So if a small child were on an airplane and had a little temper tantrum and hit and pulled their mother’s hair, would they kick that mother off the airplane? Because it was exactly like that.”

Andrea said Nicco is autistic and has a rare disorder called chromosome 12Q deletion.

The mother-son duo and one of Andrea’s friends were on a morning flight on Nov. 1 from Hamilton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Andrea said she had booked a hotel room for that night in the Sunshine State, so she was eager to make it there that same day.

She told Global News that Swoop staff were aware that Nicco was special needs because they let them pre-board under those circumstances.

Andrea said Nicco had taken the window seat, she took the middle seat and her friend settled into the aisle seat — before the flight took off.

That’s when Nicco started acting out, Andrea said, hitting and pulling her hair, while yelling.

“He’s special needs. He’s non-verbal, so he doesn’t really have a way to voice what frustrates him —  so sometimes you get moments of agitation where he gets a little bit frustrated,” said Andrea.

She said she and Nicco have flown dozens of times, including with Swoop, and staff are usually very accommodating to the outbursts that sometimes take place.

“Sometimes my son hits himself on the head, but he’s not like that continuously,” she said.

One of the flight attendants saw the outburst, she said, and went to speak to another attendant.

The two staff members then approached her and told her that “Nicco’s not going to be flying with them today,” Andrea continued.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

“They said, ‘He’s violent’ and ‘We’re worried for the safety of our passengers.’ I said, ‘How can you be that worried about the safety of other passengers?’” added Iavarone, who said she was in disbelief.

She said she tried to explain to the staff that the unruly behaviour was temporary, that he would only harm her and was not a threat to anyone around them.

“Then [the flight attendant] said, ‘We’re worried about your safety’ and I said, ‘I deal with this everyday and he’s fine once he gets up in the air. We’re going to be just fine,’” said Andrea.

She said she asked to speak to a supervisor to which the attendant replied, “Not, it’s already been decided.”

Andrea said they were then handed their luggage and were escorted off the plane, where she was only then able to speak to someone she was told was a manager.

She said they were only offered a Swoop credit for her flight but not for the cost of Nicco’s ticket.

She said she refused the offer and demanded a full refund and a flight that same day to Florida. However, she said her request was denied.

In a statement to Global News, Swoop said it “… Is entrusted to ensure the safety and security of all its travellers and employees, and has established policies to meet this obligation.”

Global News followed up with multiple questions regarding the circumstances around the incident and asked for more details regarding Swoop’s policy on traveller safety, but did not receive a response from the airline company.

“At best, from the airlines, this was a misunderstanding. At worst, this was a discrimination of a person with disabilities,” said Gabor Lukacs with Air Passenger Rights.

“The least they should’ve done once it was clear that this is not an unruly passenger but someone with mental disabilities, is make it as good as possible by putting them on the next available flight on whatever airline is available,” he added.

Andrea said she posted her story to social media with a video of Nicco at the airport. The post has since been viewed thousands of times.

She added that Swoop has now refunded both tickets, but she’s hoping the airline company will also be able to pay for the last minute tickets she had to book with Air Canada at an exorbitant cost.

Andrea said she also hopes that this sparks change within the airline industry.

“He’s special needs. He doesn’t have a voice so I need to speak up and make people aware how they’re being treated,” she said. “Instead of making accommodations or trying to find ways to try and make the flight easier, they’re just deciding that they would rather not deal with him and have him off the plane.”

“They made a very snap decision which I feel was unfair,” she continued.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

DHL to invest $100M in Hamilton airport facility expansion

News provided by Global News – link to full story and updates

BY DON MITCHELL GLOBAL NEWS Posted October 29, 2019

German-based logistics giant DHL will expand its gateway into Canada with a new $100-million facility at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

A DHL Boeing 767 cargo airplane at the Hamilton airport on Oct. 17, 2014.
A DHL Boeing 767 cargo airplane at the Hamilton airport on Oct. 17, 2014. 
THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

The international courier plans to replace its existing depot at John C. Munro with a bigger, more modern facility.

“Hamilton International Airport offers us the benefits that we need to meet our growing demands in handling capacity,” said Andrew Williams, CEO of DHL Express Canada, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“With 24-hour landing capability, dedicated onsite Canada Border Services Agency representation and the ability to grow in the future with a partner positioned to become the cargo hub of Ontario, we know this is the best decision to continue leading the market.”

The new facility — expected to be completed in 2021 — will be about four times the size of DHL’s current 200,000-square-foot facility and will feature a fully automated sorting system with a capacity for processing 15,000 packages per hour.

The company is also expected to add more front-line workers to its existing complement of 225 employees to meet higher demand.

Currently, DHL has two daily flights from Hamilton to its international network in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The news was welcomed by both provincial and municipal governments on Tuesday, with Premier Doug Ford using the announcement as an opportunity to promote his Progressive Conservative slogan that “government doesn’t create jobs, businesses do.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger — who made a trip to Germany two years ago to make a pitch for DHL’s expansion — said the move is “further evidence that our airport is an economic driver.”

DHL moved to its current Hamilton International Airport facility in 2008 and made it the largest gateway for the express company in Canada. Other DHL gateways are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Brampton, Montreal and Mirabel, Que.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.