Minister of Transport introduces new funding programs to support Canada’s airports

Transport Canada

OTTAWA, ON, May 11, 2021 /CNW/ – The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada. Airports have been significantly affected, experiencing major decreases in traffic over the past 15 months. Despite these consequences, airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air services, including traveling to medical appointments, air ambulance services, community resupply, getting goods to market, search and rescue operations, and forest fire response.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, launched two new contribution funding programs to help Canada’s airports recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a new program providing close to $490 million to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity;
  • The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations.

In addition to launching these two new funding programs, the Minister announced that Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years. The ACAP is an existing contribution funding program which provides financial assistance to Canada’s local and regional airports for safety-related infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.

Quote

“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our country’s economy, and play a key role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities, and our local airport workers. These programs will help ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, our airports remain viable and continue to provide Canadians with safe, reliable and efficient travel options, while creating and maintaining good paying jobs in the airport sector.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP), the Airport Relief Fund (ARF), and the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) funding top-up and program expansion were originally announced in the Fall Economic Statement in November 2020.
  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) will distribute $489.6 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible projects such as runway repairs/rehabilitation, airfield lighting enhancements, investments in terminal buildings, and transit stations to ensure connectivity to mass transit systems.
  • On April 15, 2021, the Government of Canada announced a contribution of up to $100 million towards the $600-million project to construct a new Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail underground station at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Federal funding for this project comes from the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP).
  • The Airport Relief Fund will provide $64.8 million in funding to airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million. The amount of funding to each targeted eligible recipient will be calculated using a tiered formula-based approach, based on 2019 revenues.
  • In addition to the one-time funding top-up of $186 million, eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) has been temporarily expanded to allow National Airport System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 (Gander, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Thunder Bay, London, and Prince George) to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
  • For 2021-2022, funding has been awarded to 63 airports for 86 ACAP projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.

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Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca

Sunwing returns to Thunder Bay this winter with convenient flights to popular tropical destinations

TORONTO, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing has announced it will be returning to Thunder Bay for the 16th consecutive year this winter. The tour operator will be making it easier for residents of Thunder Bay to return to the tropics by offering vacation packages to Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic with convenient flights from their local gateway of Thunder Bay Airport. Flights will begin in December 2021 and will run weekly until the middle of April 2022.

Courtesy: City of Thunder Bay

“Supporting regional airports and providing Canadians across the country with more convenient ways to head to the tropics has always been important to us here at Sunwing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing. “Our seasonal flight service from Thunder Bay has been consistently popular over the years and we’re delighted to continue to help local residents enjoy a frictionless vacation experience under our wing.”

The flight schedule from Thunder Bay will be as follows:

  • Between Thunder Bay and Cancun, Mondays from December 13 until April 18, 2022
  • Between Thunder Bay and Varadero, Tuesdays from December 14 until April 19, 2022
  • Between Thunder Bay and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from December 15 until April 20, 2022

“We are very excited that Sunwing will be returning to Thunder Bay this winter and appreciate their confidence in our market after a difficult year for the travel industry,” said Ed Schmidtke, President & CEO of Thunder Bay International Airport Authority. “We’re sure our residents are looking forward to leaving the snow behind and heading back to paradise, and we’re hopeful for a successful winter season.”

Residents of Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario can explore some of the Caribbean and Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations, from the white-sand shores of Punta Cana to the Mayan ruins surrounding Cancun and the lively culture of Varadero. They can choose from a range of popular resorts for every travel style and budget, including the brand-new Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun and Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun. These entertainment-themed properties bring big screen excitement to the shores of Playa Mujeres with authentic Hollywood memorabilia, A-lister service and VIP amenities.

Vacationers can return to these Canadian-favourite destinations and travel with peace of mind knowing that the highest Canadian standards are in place throughout their entire vacation experience with the Safe with Sunwing commitment, created under the advisement of global healthcare leader Medcan.

About Sunwing

The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Elevating Safety: North Star Air Opens Rapid Screening Centres

Thursday April 1, 2021, 11:00AM EDT – Thunder Bay, ON North Star Air is the first regional airline in Northwestern Canada to provide, through a third party provider, COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Screening for passengers prior to boarding their flight. This is good news and a game-changer for passengers travelling to remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.

Working closely with the First Nations communities served by North Star Air, the support from community leadership was overwhelming. Remote northern communities have been looking for such a program to increase safety amid the on-going fight against the spread of COVID-19. While predeparture screening is not required for domestic travel within Canada, North Star Air understands the importance of providing an additional line of defense to northern remote communities. “We’ve stepped up the layers of protection for the good of the North. Our communities have always been concerned and employing various protocols to minimize the spread of COVID within their communities. This is very much needed “says Chief Harvey Yesno of Eabametoong First Nation. Chief Cornelius Benson of North Caribou First Nation applauds the initiative saying “We are very happy with this initiative that will bring more safety to our community.”

John and Irene Oskineegish of Eabametoong First Nation received their negative COVID-19 test

result prior to boarding their North Star Air flight at the Thunder Bay Airport. After months of discussions with northern communities and various health service providers, the challenge has always been the resources required to administer the screening. A solution was found. Effective this week passengers flying with North Star Air will be required to take the COVID-19 rapid test at the Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout Airports prior to boarding their flight. The rapid screening, with results in as little as fifteen minutes, will supplement and not replace the mandatory requirements for health questionnaires, temperature checks and facemasks. “This is a critically important program. It’s another layer of protection that we offer our customers, our communities and our staff,” states Jeff Stout, President of North Star Air. As part of the program, the Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout Airports have provided support by allocating secure locations within their Airports for the screening to take place. While there are costs involved with the screening, North Star Air is offering this service free of charge to all passenger flight customers. North Star Air’s President Stout adds that, “In order to get this program online we understand there are costs that we as an airline will need to absorb, however we are calling on all levels of government to provide financial assistance. This should be a cost neutral service for the customer and the airline. We’re only halfway there today.”

COVID-19 testing rolled out at Sioux Lookout Airport this week!

North Star Air continues to be the leader in providing the utmost in safety when it comes to their passengers, employees and the remote communities they serve. Since the onset of the pandemic, North Star Air has implemented a series of safety measures to help mitigate the spread of the COVID19 virus. These safety measures along with FAQ’s about rapid screening can be found on their website. http://www.northstarair.ca/covid-19-update

Flair Airlines expands with eight new destinations across Canada

ULCC to bring low fare air travel to 18 cities by August, filling voids left by legacy carriers and ensuring affordable travel options are available for Canadians

 Source: Flair Airlines

Edmonton, Alberta, Feb. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), is expanding service and will bring low fare air travel to 18 Canadian destinations by summer. Service to four of the new destinations will begin in May with more added in the coming months as non-essential travel within Canada safely restarts.

Flair’s ambitious expansion focuses first on growing its domestic network. Flair’s network will expand beginning on May 1st as service is added to Ottawa, ON; Kitchener-Waterloo, ON; Halifax, NS; and Saint John, NB. Flair will add service in June to Thunder Bay, ON; and Charlottetown, PE; in July to Victoria, BC; and in August to Abbotsford, BC.

“Canadians have been paying too much for too long, and we are changing that with our ULCC model that makes getting around Canada affordable,” says Stephen Jones, President & CEO. “Providing affordable air travel within Canada is the first step in restarting travel and tourism, and Flair is uniquely positioned with the efficiencies of our low-cost model. When non-essential travel returns, Flair will be there to reconnect families and provide the low fares that have long been denied to Canadians.”

Flair anticipates tourism and travel to begin restarting in the Spring and Summer, and the focus on domestic service in 2021 enables the ULCC to provide more low fare options across Canada.

“We strongly support the need for restricting non-essential travel as Canada works to bend the curve. Flair was one of the first airlines to reduce our network and focus exclusively on essential domestic travel,” says Jones. “We are confident, as travel returns, there is a strong market for low fare travel choices from a socially responsible Canadian airline. Flair’s ULCC business model doesn’t have the overhead and costs associated with legacy organizations and networks, and this allows our efficiencies to be passed along in our pricing.”

Canadian airport partners are excited for Flair’s ULCC service to be coming to their communities:

“We’re delighted that Flair Airlines has selected Saint John as their exclusive New Brunswick destination,” says Saint John Airport President and CEO, Derrick Stanford. “We’re dedicated to finding Saint John travellers the best possible value and options, and with Flair’s unique pricing model almost anyone can afford to fly to more places than ever before.”
                                   – Derrick Stanford, President & CEO, Saint John Airport

“We are pleased to welcome Flair Airlines to the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, the addition of Flair’s services will provide further connectivity to other economic hubs, create local jobs, build partnerships and help support the recovery of the local economy.”
                                   – Karen Redman, Regional Chair, Region of Waterloo

 “EIA is proud to be Flair’s home base and it’s exciting to see these growth plans that will benefit our community. We’re confident there’s a bright future for aviation and travel in our market, and low-cost airlines such as Flair are part of that. We will always put the health and safety of passengers and Canadians first, and with our EIA Ready program, we’re committed to a clean and safe travel experience when the time is right.”
                                     – Tom Ruth, President & CEO, Edmonton International Airport

“Canadians have been separated from their families and friends throughout the pandemic and we are confident there will be demand for a variety of flight options when non-essential air travel resumes. We look forward to welcoming Flair back to Halifax Stanfield, increasing choices for our community members to reconnect when the time is right. With our Stay Healthy measures in place throughout the airport, we’re ready to support passengers on their next journey.”
                                 
 – Joyce Carter, President & CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority 

Flair is poised to show Canadians the real benefits which other areas of the world have experienced with ULCC service. One-way fares on several of the new routes start as low as $39. In addition, Flair provides complimentary COVID Coverage, allowing passengers to easily change their travel plans given the continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Bookings are now available for the newly announced routes for May through October 30, 2021, at flyflair.com.

Flair Airlines Service (May 1, 2021 – October 30, 2021)

  • YKF-YEG, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YKF-YHZ, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, W, F
  • YKF-YVR, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, T, W, F
  • YKF-YWG, starting 02-Jul-21, Frequency: M, W, F, Su
  • YKF-YYC, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YKF-YYJ, starting 02-Jul-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Sa
  • YYZ-YEG, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YYZ-YHZ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, Sa
  • YYZ-YLW, starting 02-Jun-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YYZ-YMM, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YYZ-YOW, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: M, W, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YYZ-YQR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YYZ-YQT, starting 03-Jun-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Sa
  • YYZ-YSJ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, Sa
  • YYZ-YVR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: M, Tu, Th, F, Su
  • YYZ-YWG, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YYZ-YXE, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YYZ-YXX, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: M, Tu, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YYZ-YYC, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, W, F
  • YYZ-YYG, starting 04-Jun-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YHZ-YKF, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, Tu, F
  • YHZ-YOW, starting 01-Jun-21, Frequency: Daily
  • YHZ-YYZ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, Sa
  • YEG-YKF, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YEG-YLW, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YEG-YOW, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YEG-YVR, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, W, Th, Sa, Su
  • YEG-YXS, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YEG-YXX, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: M, W, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YEG-YYZ, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YEG-YYJ, starting 04-Aug-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YYC-YKF, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YYC-YOW, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: M, Sa
  • YYC-YVR, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Th, Sa, Su
  • YYC-YWG, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YYC-YXX, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Daily
  • YYC-YYZ, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, W, F,
  • YYC-YYJ, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YLW-YEG, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YLW-YYZ, starting 02-Jun-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YOW-YEG, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YOW-YHZ, starting 01-Jun-21, Frequency: Daily
  • YOW-YVR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: W, Th, F, Su
  • YOW-YWG, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YOW-YYC, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: M, Sa
  • YOW-YYZ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: M, W, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YOW-YXX, starting 02-Aug-21, Frequency: M, Th, F
  • YVR-YEG, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, W, Th, Sa, Su
  • YVR-YKF, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, Tu, W, F
  • YVR-YMM, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa,
  • YVR-YOW, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: W, Th, Sa, Su
  • YVR-YQR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YVR-YWG, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YVR-YXE, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YVR-YXS, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YVR-YYC, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Th, Sa, Su
  • YVR-YYZ, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, Tu, Th, F, Su
  • YXS-YEG, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YXS-YVR, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YMM-YVR, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YMM-YYZ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YWG-YKF, starting 02-Jul-21, Frequency: M, W, F, Su
  • YWG-YOW, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YWG-YVR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YWG-YYC, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YWG-YYZ, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YWG-YXX, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Su
  • YQR-YVR, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YQR-YYZ, starting 02-May-21, Frequency: Th, Su
  • YSJ-YYZ, starting 01-May-21, Frequency: Tu, Sa
  • YXE-YVR, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YXE-YYZ, starting 03-May-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YQT-YYZ, starting 03-Jun-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Sa
  • YYG-YYZ, starting 04-Jun-21, Frequency: M, F
  • YXX-YEG, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: M, W, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YXX-YYC, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Daily
  • YXX-YYZ, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: M, Tu, Th, F, Sa, Su
  • YXX-YOW, starting 02-Aug-21, Frequency: M, W, F
  • YXX-YWG, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Su
  • YYJ-YKF, starting 02-Jul-21, Frequency: Tu, Th, Sa
  • YYJ-YEG, starting 04-Aug-21, Frequency: W, Sa
  • YYJ-YYC, starting 01-Aug-21, Frequency: Th, Su

Schedule notes:

– Some routes are active prior to May 1, 2021.
– Frequency of service displayed reflects the start of the scheduled route and the frequency on some routes will change as additional service begins. Check specific travel dates at flyflair.com.