The pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions are forcing Air Canada to suspend some of their most popular flights, at least temporarily.
In a memo sent to TravelPulse Canada, Canada’s largest airline outlined the details of the 25% capacity reduction they mentioned in a Wednesday statement. The list contains 44 temporarily suspended flights, including 12 domestic, 10 trans-border (USA) and a full 22 international routes.
Popular flights that are being temporarily discontinued include Toronto-Quebec City, Montreal-Orlando, Toronto-Tampa, Vancouver-Puerto Vallarta, Montreal-Barbados, Calgary-Maui, Toronto-Paris and Toronto-Saint Lucia.
It’s a blow to Air Canada workers and to Canadians, as well as tourism workers in the Caribbean and around the world. It’s also a difficult pill to swallow for beleaguered travel agents, who now have a lot fewer destinations they can sell. But airline officials say they’ve been left with no choice.
Effective Jan 23, this is a list of the stations closed and routes suspended until further notice:
Additional airport stations closed in Canada:
Goose Bay NL
Prince Rupert BC
Additional domestic routes suspended
Transborder routes suspended
Calgary to: Maui
Montreal to: Denver, Houston, Orlando
Toronto to: Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Washington (Dulles)
Vancouver to: Honolulu (until April), Maui (until mid-February)
International flights suspended
Montreal to: Barbados, Casablanca, Cozumel, Samana, San Jose (Costa Rica), Santa Clara, Turks & Caicos, Nassau, Sao Paulo, Puerto Vallarta
Toronto to: Cozumel, Curacao, Ixtapa, Los Cabos, Paris, Saint Lucia, Santa Clara, St. Vincent, Zurich
Vancouver to: Los Cabos, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta
Air Canada on Wednesday said it will have to reduce capacity by 25% and lay off 1,700 workers due to a lack of demand.
Since the implementation by the Federal and Provincial Governments of these increased travel restrictions and other measures, in addition to the existing quarantine requirements, we have seen an immediate impact to our close-in bookings and have made the difficult but necessary decision to further adjust our schedule and rationalize our transborder, Caribbean and domestic routes to better reflect expected demand and to reduce cash burn. We regret the impact these difficult decisions will have on our employees who have worked very hard during the pandemic looking after our customers, as well as on the affected communities,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.
WestJet last week reduced capacity by 30% per cent and announced layoffs and furloughs for 1,000 workers.
December 8, 2020 – Moose Jaw, Sask. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today the Canadian Forces (CF) Snowbirds are releasing their tentative schedule for the 2021 Show Season, which will celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this schedule is subject to change. The CF Snowbirds are committed to the health and safety of their audiences and will adhere to the highest level of COVID-19 precautions. The team will work with each air show and event to ensure COVID-19 measures are in place for both the Snowbirds team and the general public.
As Canada’s iconic air demonstration team, the CF Snowbirds inspire the public by highlighting the extraordinary skill, professionalism, teamwork, and diversity of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“We are looking forward to celebrating our 50th season with Canadians in 2021. We are going to ensure that we follow recommended health measures in order to see our fans again in a safe environment this season.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Bandet, Commanding Officer 431 Air Demonstration Squadron
The CF Snowbirds have been entertaining audiences across North American since 1971 and are excited to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021.
The CF Snowbirds’ show is the result of six months of intensive preparation and training and consists of over fifty different formations and maneuvers.
431 Air Demonstration Squadron consists of approximately 80 personnel, 24 of whom comprise the show team that travels during the show season. The CF Snowbirds’ demanding schedule is met through the dedicated teamwork of not only the Royal Canadian Air Force pilots and technicians, but also the entire home team in 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the squadron’s home base.
Airline suspending all service to and from J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport next month
CBC News · Posted: Dec 08, 2020
A decision by Air Canada to indefinitely suspend its operations in Cape Breton will have an “absolutely catastrophic” effect on the Nova Scotia island, the CEO of the airport in Sydney, N.S., said Tuesday.
Mike MacKinnon called the airline’s move “a massive blow” to the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, which he said was already struggling to survive during a pandemic that has brought air travel to a near standstill.
“Our airport has been repeatedly slashed by air service cuts ever since the pandemic began and now this announcement, on top of the recent WestJet route suspensions, is effectively the final nail in the coffin for air service to/from our community for the foreseeable future,” MacKinnon said in a news release.
Air Canada suspended service between Sydney and Halifax earlier this fall. On Tuesday, the airline said service between Sydney and Toronto, now offered five days a week, would cease as of Jan. 11.
It also announced Tuesday that it was pulling out of Saint John indefinitely, as well as suspending four routes in Deer Lake, N.L., Charlottetown, Fredericton and Halifax beginning Jan. 11.
Those routes include:
Airport using reserve funds
MacKinnon noted that before the pandemic, Sydney was served by both Air Canada and WestJet. The airport had regular service to Halifax and Toronto, and seasonally to Montreal.
Service cutbacks to the region and other parts of the Maritimes began this fall with WestJet; Air Canada suspended some of its services soon after.
Atlantic premiers concerned as WestJet ends most flights in region
In an interview, MacKinnon said the recent service cuts mean the airport is using its reserve funds to stay open.
After the last commercial flight on Jan. 10, he said the airport plans to stay open for private planes, medevac and cargo planes that come a few times a week.
“It will be a very quiet winter and basically we’ll be going into a bit of a hibernation … working hard on recovery strategies.”
3rd major round of cuts to region
The Atlantic Canada Airports Association issued a statement saying the service cuts could lead to the closure of some small regional airports.
“This is the third major round of cuts to air service for our region in the last six months,” said Derrick Stanford, association president and CEO of the Saint John Airport.
“Service has been whittled down to an unsustainable level for our airports. Our industry cannot survive and operate in these conditions, and we are seeing the worst-case scenario playing out here today.
“This will have a huge impact on our region’s economy, on the ability of families to reconnect, on the movement of essential workers, and on airport employees and businesses.”
Vaccine could put travellers at ease
MacKinnon said he’s hopeful COVID-19 vaccines — the first of which are expected to be rolled out on a small scale in Canada this month — will start to restore some public confidence in air travel.
But with widespread distribution of vaccines likely several months away, MacKinnon said he wants the provincial and federal governments to support COVID-19 testing at airports — something that has recently been piloted in Alberta and Ontario, but not administered on a large scale.
He said he was encouraged by Ottawa’s fall economic update, in which Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland mentioned support for regional airports would be coming soon. But he’d also like to see help for airlines.
“An airport is just not successful without airlines operating and without commercial air traffic,” MacKinnon said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Halifax left with six destinations
Tiffany Chase, Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesperson, said Tuesday their Ottawa and Deer Lake routes will be suspended for at least one month, but that suspension could be longer depending on demand in February.
She said they were disappointed to see the Halifax-Sydney route suspended indefinitely, which means it likely won’t be coming back “anytime soon.”
The Halifax airport will be left with service to only six domestic destinations in total during the Ottawa and Deer Lake suspension, Chase said. In 2019, the airport flew to 46 locations within Canada, the United States and other countries.
Chase said their flight network took years to build, and although people might think air services will simply come back when there’s a vaccine in wide-spread use, that might not be the case.
“In some cases these routes may never come back,” she said.
Current environment ‘challenging,’ Air Canada says
In an email to CBC Tuesday, Air Canada said the decision to suspend all routes to Sydney and Saint John was “not taken lightly” and it regrets the impact on customers and community partners.
The airline said it is “increasingly difficult to continue to operate in this challenging environment, without specific financial support from government.” In the statement, the airline said it is waiting for government negotiations to start.
According to the statement, Air Canada is still carrying less than eight per cent of its normal passenger volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic, “with no horizon for recovery.”
Following WestJet’s announcement in October, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil called on the federal government to create a national strategy to protect air travel in the region.
“We believe the national government needs to be at the table to recognize that … our greatest success of recovering economically after COVID, will be with a vibrant air service that will include in our region, both Air Canada, WestJet and others,” McNeil said at the time.
Chris d’Entremont, the Conservative MP for West Nova, said Nova Scotians who depend on the aviation sector have long been calling for a plan from the federal Liberal government.
“As a result of this suspension, airport employees, rotational workers, university students and the tourism industry will be greatly impacted,” d’Entremont said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the Trudeau government continues to leave the thousands of Canadians who rely on the aviation industry in the dark about how or if they will have jobs to return to.”
With files from Brittany Wentzell and Stephanie Tobin
After Jan. 11, only flights remaining will be between Charlottetown and Montreal
Shane Ross · CBC News · Posted: Dec 08, 2020
Air Canada is suspending its flights between Charlottetown and Toronto in the new year, but is adding flights between Charlottetown and Montreal.
Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, said that means there will still be seven Air Canada flights a week at the airport, but they will all be through Montreal with a 50-seat jet.
The changes take effective Jan. 11 until at least Feb. 10, Newson said.
Charlottetown currently has five flights to Toronto and two to Montreal each week. Newson said more flights could be added temporarily leading up to Christmas as demand increases.
That demand is expected to decrease in January, so he said he’s not “totally surprised” Air Canada decided to suspend service to Toronto.
Charlottetown Airport CEO on Air Canada dropping Toronto flight in the new year
“It is significant. I won’t pretend that we’re not disappointed,” he said.
“In normal times, and we’re a long way from normal right now, Toronto would be our most popular route so from that standpoint it’s quite disappointing.”
Newson said most people travelling by air are essential or rotational workers who will still be able to get to their destination through Montreal.
On Nov. 2, Westjet suspended all its flights in and out of Charlottetown. Newson said he remains confident the airport will survive the pandemic.
“The discussions that I’ve had with the carriers, both with Air Canada, Westjet and even some of the carriers that had planned to come here this summer, is that they are very optimistic about Prince Edward Island and they do want to come back and they do want to add service and we’re in discussions with airlines about next summer right now.”
In a statement to CBC, Air Canada said it will also be suspending all flights until further notice in Sydney, N.S., and Saint John, as well as service between Halifax and Deer Lake, Halifax and Ottawa, and Fredericton and Toronto.
“This decision was not taken lightly and we regret the impact on our customers and community partners, but it is increasingly difficult to continue to operate in this challenging environment, without specific financial support from government, with whom [we] continue to wait for negotiations to start. Air Canada is still carrying less than eight per cent of its normal passenger volumes due to factors beyond our control and with no horizon for recovery,” the statement said.
Michael Franklin, CTV News Calgary, Senior Digital Producer – Wednesday, December 2, 2020
CALGARY — WestJet Airlines is notifying guests who flew on a number of its flights within the past two weeks about their possible contact with COVID-19.
The airline provided an updated list on its website, adding 24 flights arriving or departing from Calgary International Airport since Nov. 16. Several of the flights involved U.S. destinations while three came from Mexico.
A third of the flights also came through YYC on Nov. 22, data indicates:
Nov. 28 – Flight 2247 from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) to Calgary, rows 10 to 16;
Nov. 28 – Flight 155 from Calgary to Edmonton, rows 10 to 16;
Nov. 27 – Flight 3229 from Calgary to Edmonton, rows 6 to 12;
Nov. 27 – Flight 1403 from Phoenix (PHX) to Calgary, rows 4 to 10;
Nov. 26 – Flight 205 from Winnipeg to Calgary, rows 11 to 17;
Nov. 26 – Flight 155 from Calgary to Edmonton, rows 5 to 11;
Nov. 26 – Flight 3225 from Calgary to Edmonton, rows 4 to 10;
Nov. 26 – Flight 1403 from Phoenix (PHX) to Calgary, rows 15 to 21;
Nov. 23 – Flight 613 from Ottawa to Calgary, rows 1 to 7;
Nov. 23 – Flight 3101 from Calgary to Fort St. John (YXJ), no information on rows;
Nov. 23 – Flight 658 from Calgary to Toronto, rows 1 to 7;
Nov. 23 – Flight 669 from Toronto to Calgary, rows 5 to 11;
Nov. 22 – Flight 3455 from Calgary to Abbottsford (YXX), rows 14 to 19;
Nov. 22 – Flight 238 from Edmonton to Calgary, no information on rows;
Nov. 22 – Flight 1510 from Calgary to Los Angeles (LAX), no information on rows;
Nov. 22 – Flight 1511 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary, no information on rows;
Nov. 22 – Flight 139 from Calgary to Vancouver, rows 2 to 8;
Nov. 22 – Flight 155 from Calgary to Edmonton, rows 4 to 10;
Nov. 22 – Flight 1403 from Phoenix (PHX) to Calgary, rows 7 to 13;
Nov. 22 – Flight 2311 from Cancun (CUN) to Calgary, rows 6 to 12;
Nov. 21 – Flight 2313 from Cancun (CUN) to Calgary, rows 22 to 28;
Nov. 20 – Flight 119 from Calgary to Vancouver, rows 4 to 10;
Nov. 20 – Flight 3171 from Calgary to Comox (YQQ), rows 3 to 9;
Nov. 20 – Flight 3144 from Fort McMurray (YMM) to Calgary, rows 13 to 19.
WestJet says it is releasing information on the rows that could have come into close contact with the positive cases of the disease so guests can take proper precautions.
While the Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all land crossings until at least Dec. 21, air travel between the two countries is allowed, provided travelers self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Premier Stephen McNeil wants to see a national strategy for Canada’s air transportation industry a day ago
Fewer WestJet flights will likely lead to more connections, far fewer options and higher airfares, according to an airport spokesperson.
Yesterday, WestJet announced a significant reduction in the number of flights to both Halifax and St. John’s, along with the indefinite suspension of all routes heading to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown.
In total, more than 100 flights a week to Atlantic Canada will be eliminated as of Nov. 2.
WestJet will still have 14 weekly flights between Halifax and Toronto, 11 weekly flights between Halifax and St. John’s and 9 weekly flights between Halifax and Calgary.
However, the airline won’t be providing service between Stanfield International and Sydney or Ottawa.
“That’s certainly reducing choice and options that are available to our community members,” said Halifax International Airport Authority spokesperson Tiffany Chase. “We’ve already seen a significant amount of capacity for air travel cut from our airport.”
Chase said it only has around 10 per cent of the passengers it had this time last year.
“It’s taken years for us to build important connections, not only to domestic destinations, but also those in the U.S. and European markets,” she added. “Unfortunately all of that has unraveled in a matter of months.”
“We know it will be very difficult, it could take years to get some of those services back, if ever.”
WestJet’s president and CEO, Ed Sims, said the airline would normally serve over 2 million passengers a month, however since the start of the pandemic, it has only flown 1 million people total.
In a statement posted to YouTube, he said more than 70 per cent of its fleet remains grounded.
On Tuesday, Porter Airlines — which grounded flights back on March 21 — once again pushed back its temporary service suspension to Dec. 15.
Chase said Halifax’s airport essentially operates on a user-pay system and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to address the revenue gap that has been caused by COVID-19.
Earlier this year, around 25 per cent of airport staff were laid off and only under one-third of businesses that were operating in the facility remain open.
“Many businesses have had to close, have had to lay off employees,” said Chase.
“A number of the airlines have also announced cuts to jobs, in fact across Canada in the aviation sector, we’re currently looking at about a 50 per cent job loss, and that’s a pretty staggering statistic.”
Atlantic Canadian premiers say urgent action from the federal government is needed to address cuts in air service.
“This is a big blow to the region,” said Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil. “We know that Air Canada also made the decision early on to make changes. WestJet is making those changes.
“This in many ways is how we move around this region, and at the same time, it’s how we go out into the world.”
He said a vibrant air service will be vital to our province’s recovery following the pandemic, as it’s essential for export opportunities, business travel and our tourism sector.
“We’ve all lived through those days when for the cost of a flight from Halifax to Sydney, Nova Scotia, we could travel halfway around the world on a cheaper air ticket,” he said at a Wednesday briefing. “We saw changes when we had that competitive environment.”
McNeil wants to see a national strategy for Canada’s air transportation industry.
“This is a national issue and it’s our view that we need to find a solution to this, because otherwise our climb out of the economic impact of COVID will be much greater than other parts of Canada,” our premier said.
OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis that is having a significant impact on the air industry and Canadian travellers. As we continue to take steps to strengthen Canada’s air transportation network, the Government of Canada continues to implement a multi-layered framework of measures to protect Canadians, and help prevent air travel from being a source for the spread of the virus.
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, has announced implementation of temperature screening for travellers at 11 additional Canadian airports. In June 2020, the Government of Canada announced a multi-phased approach to temperature screenings for all passengers travelling to Canada and travellers departing some Canadian airports, for either international or domestic destinations.
Temperature screening stations have been in place since July 30, 2020 at the four largest airports in Canada: Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. This includes temperature screening for both departing passengers as well as non-passengers (e.g., airport workers, flight crews).
Since September 23, 2020, temperature screening is being conducted at these additional Canadian airports: St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna and Victoria. In addition, all employees and personnel that enter or work in the restricted area of these airports are subject to temperature screening procedures by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority personnel.
More and more Canadians and travellers are understanding the importance of staying home when feeling ill, as well as following other important safety measures such as good hygiene practices and wearing face coverings or non-medical masks during their travel.
All passengers who have an elevated temperature and do not have a medical certificate to explain a medical or physical condition that would result in an elevated temperature, are not permitted to continue their travel and are asked to re-book after 14 days.
“As Minister of Transport, my highest priority is the safety and security of Canadians and the transportation system. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canadians have come together, made sacrifices, and done their part to help limit the spread of the virus. Our Government has expanded temperature screenings to major airports across the country to support these efforts and as another measure in our multi-layered approach to help protect the safety of the travelling public and air industry workers. The collective efforts of all Canadians have helped us during the pandemic, and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
Minister of Transport The Honourable Marc Garneau
Airport temperature screening has been endorsed by the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
For international flights to Canada, air operators must conduct temperature screenings at the point of departure, unless the local authority has an equivalent measure in place, in addition to the existing required health check questions for symptoms prior to boarding.
Within Canada, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screeners are conducting the temperature screening of passengers as part of departure screening procedures. This is in addition to the health screening questions and the requirement to wear face coverings that already exist for all passengers.
Waterloo Region, ON – 15 September 2020 – Pivot Airlines is pleased to announce that we have entered a formal arrangement with the Region of Waterloo International Airport to provide scheduled domestic air service to Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor and Montreal. We are excited to form a true partnership with the Region of Waterloo International Airport by having their support in helping develop regional markets aimed at serving Waterloo Region.
Service commences upon receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals and is contingent upon a loosening of COVID-19 travel-related restrictions; flights will be operated with Canadian made CRJ Jets and De Havilland Dash 8 Regional Turboprops.
The regional airline model in Canada is changing, and we are ideally positioned to play a critical role. We believe as people return to travel, modern regional airports will play a larger role than what we have seen in the past. The facilities, infrastructure and capabilities of YKF are genuinely world-class; travellers will enjoy the efficiencies and comfort that come with using the airport when compared to using a crowded hub airport.
Our agreement with YKF allows Pivot to build maintenance, operations and office facilities at the airport, which will enable us to serve the community and travelling public better while creating local jobs.
In the coming weeks, we look forward to announcing additional partnerships and more service related details that we believe will allow us to help kick-start a safe and measured return to travel.
Eric Edmondson, Chief Executive Officer of Pivot Airlines, said, “Pivot Airlines partnership with the Region of Waterloo International Airport allows us to focus on providing safe and convenient travel options for guests who prioritize the convenience and benefits of using a modern regional airport that is focused on providing the safest return to travel protocols for travellers.”
“We welcome Pivot Airlines to Waterloo Region. As the 10th largest urban area in Canada, our residents made 154,300 trips by air last year to the destinations announced today,” said Karen Redman, Regional Chair of Waterloo Region. “These are challenging times – yet, COVID-19 will end and demand for air travel is growing. If you need to travel by air, we urge residents to support local air service. We believe Pivot’s new service will encourage investment and create jobs in Waterloo Region.”
Fly from home and have more time for the things that matter! Visit www.flypivot.com to learn more.
A new airline says it will offer service between Waterloo and Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor and Montreal going forward.
Pivot Airlines says it has reached an agreement with the Region of Waterloo to provide the service once it receives regulatory approval.
Brock Henderson, Pivot’s vice president of operations control, told Global News that “tickets are anticipated to cost between $90 and about $250 plus taxes and fees.”
He described Pivot Airlines as “a new company which draws from a legacy of 25 years as a partner carrier for two different Canadian major airlines.”
Henderson says it is also looking to expand to two other Ontario markets which have recently lost service with an eye towards cross-border travel down the road.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“Our legacy is in transborder travel and we will also be closely monitoring the situation in the United States for future expansion plans,” he said while noting that it will likely be at least a year before Pivot offers trips south of the border.
Henderson says the company is still working out details on when its planes will begin to carry passengers.
“Pivot is finalizing the routes, dates and schedule over the coming month,” he said. “We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as students return to school and expect that we will have the required predictability to commence service within the next few months. “
Regional chair Karen Redman welcomed the airline to Waterloo Region.
“As the 10th largest urban area in Canada, our residents made 154,300 trips by air last year to the destinations announced today,” she said.
Pivot Airlines says it will use Canadian-made made CRJ Jets and De Havilland Dash 8 Regional Turboprops as it moves people to other markets.
“The regional airline model in Canada is changing, and we are ideally positioned to play a critical role,” the company stated. “We believe as people return to travel, modern regional airports will play a larger role than what we have seen in the past.”
It says the agreement with the region will also allow it to build maintenance, operations and office facilities at the airport.
“These are challenging times – yet COVID-19 will end and demand for air travel is growing. If you need to travel by air, we urge residents to support local air service. We believe Pivot’s new service will encourage investment and create jobs in Waterloo Region.”
Currently, Westjet is the only major Canadian airline offering service from Waterloo Regional Airport with weekly service to Calgary.
Sunwing also flies to some vacation destinations during the winter months.
ST. JOHN’S, NL, Aug. 21, 2020 /CNW/ – PAL Airlines is pleased to announce that on September 21, 2020, the carrier will be launching a new five days a week service connecting St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with Moncton, New Brunswick. The route will be extended to include Ottawa, Ontario as restrictions on travel to Atlantic Canada are progressively reduced.
This new service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The initial schedule between St. John’s and Moncton is designed to offer passengers convenient morning departure times and early arrival times to allow for business and leisure activities at both destinations.
Once the service is extended to Ottawa, passengers travelling west will still benefit from convenient arrival and departure times while passengers travelling east to Moncton and St. John’s will enjoy desirable early evening arrival times. PAL Airlines’ service will offer the most efficient travel time between destinations and mitigate the need for passengers to change planes during transit.
“PAL Airlines is excited to expand our route network to now include Moncton and shortly Ottawa,” said Calvin Ash, President of PAL Airlines. “This new service is an important step forward for our airline. We are thrilled to be able to respond to the needs of our growing customer base by enhancing our route network and adding this new connection between Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and soon to Ontario. This is a great opportunity for PAL Airlines to extend our presence in Atlantic and Eastern Canada and introduce our services to new communities while directly responding to the needs of our customers.”