Canadian Government Must Act to Reduce Delay Situation at Canadian Airports

24 May 2022

Montreal – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has written to the Canadian Government urging the ministers in charge to take immediate action to reduce the massive delays at immigration and security which are presently occurring at the country’s main international airports.

Over the past weeks, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport alone reported that passenger wait times at security screening doubled and, in some instances, even quadrupled. Meanwhile, passengers on nearly every second international arriving flight were subjected to immigration delays, which in some cases included waiting on the airplane for up to three hours before they were allowed to disembark. Over the past four weeks, the travel plans of around 100,000 passengers per week have been disrupted.

Barring the option of the Government removing the current vaccination mandate for air travel, the use of ArriveCAN for capturing and submitting vaccination and health information, and the random on arrival testing, IATA is asking the relevant authorities to:

  • Introduce dedicated immigration lanes for arriving international passengers who did not provide their required health and vaccination details in advance through ArriveCAN. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data shows that the immigration process for passengers where the ArriveCAN details need to be collected on arrival takes 3-5 minutes as compared to 15-30 seconds in cases where the data has been supplied in advance. This would speed up the immigration for all passengers who completed their ArriveCAN before landing in Canada.
  • Upgrade the mobile app version of ArriveCAN to include the immigration and customs related questions so arriving international passengers can submit their relevant information in advance of arrival (currently only available on the web based ArriveCAN in Toronto and Vancouver).
  • Relocate on-arrival random testing facilities from the terminal / airport and/or offer a home testing option.
  • Ensure that both CBSA and Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) have the staffing required to offer an efficient immigration and passenger screening process.

“Aviation, along with travel and tourism, were hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and even more so in Canada, due to the very strict border control measures implemented by the government. Following the easing of many of these restrictions, demand is coming back and it is clear that people want to travel. We can therefore ill afford to have passengers subjected to unacceptable wait times both on arrival in the country or on departure. The relevant authorities must urgently consider removing the last remaining travel related COVID-19 restrictions and work with the industry on policies and processes which will allow passengers to pass through airports with no undue delay,” said Peter Cerda, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas.

Swoop touches down in Newfoundland with new non-stop service to Deer Lake

The ultra-not-expensive airline continues its Atlantic expansion with its first flights from Hamilton to Deer Lake

DEER LAKE, NL, May 21, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost airline, launched its inaugural flight to Deer Lake Regional Airport (YDF) from Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport (YHM). Swoop flight WO186 landed in Deer Lake at 8:35 p.m. local time, inaugurating the ULCC’s presence in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

“As Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, we are pleased to continue our Atlantic expansion into Newfoundland today with our inaugural flight to Deer Lake from Hamilton,” said Ryan Hubbard, Senior Leader, Airports, Swoop. “Air travel is critical to the recovery of Newfoundland’s tourist economy, and we’re proud to support the province’s Come Home Year 2022 campaign with ultra-convenient, ultra-low fares for Canadians.”

In addition to today’s inaugural flight between Hamilton and Deer Lake, Swoop will begin non-stop service between Hamilton and St. John’s on June 13. The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) will add flights between Toronto and Deer Lake on June 20, offering even more ultra-affordable opportunities for Canadians to find themselves in Newfoundland this summer.

The arrival of the inaugural flight was warmly welcomed with a locally inspired celebration at Deer Lake Regional Airport, where travellers were joined by Swoop’s Ryan Hubbard and Julie Pondant Senior Advisor, Public Affairs, and Tammy Priddle, President and CEO, Deer Lake Regional Airport.

“The Town of Deer Lake is very excited for Swoop Airlines to begin flights through the Deer Lake Regional Airport. Deer Lake is an ideal location for those looking to explore the Western Region of Newfoundland & Labrador. Having Swoop coincide with the provincial Come Home Year 2022 campaign will greatly assist those who may want to visit the Deer Lake area at an affordable cost.” Mike Goosney â€“ Mayor of Deer Lake

With introductory fares from Hamilton to Deer Lake starting at just $49 CAD†, Swoop is showing Canadians just how affordable experiencing the Newfoundland can be this summer. 

RouteStart DatePeak Weekly FrequencyOne-way total price (CAD)Base Fare (CAD)Taxes & Fees (CAD)
Hamilton to Deer LakeMay 21, 20224x weekly$49$7.29$41.71
Deer Lake to HamiltonMay 21, 20224x weekly$49$6.53$42.47
Deer Lake to TorontoJune 20, 20222x weekly$99$50.01$48.99
Toronto to Deer LakeJune 20, 20222x weekly$99$46.54$52.46

For travel between September 15-October 31, 2022 | Seasonal start and end dates apply and are indicated in the booking flow. | Fares are valid until June 2, 2022 (11:59 p.m. MT) or while seats last. | Prices displayed above are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is made and accepted.

Additional Quotes

“We are excited to welcome Swoop to Deer Lake as a new airline with new destinations for travelers leaving our region. It will also allow access to a new market for people in Western and South Western Ontario and, for the first time, Alberta. Swoop provides affordable air travel, making it easier for families and friends to reconnect more often. It will also increase access for tourists to take in the many great experiences we offer in Western Newfoundland & Labrador.” Tammy Priddle, President and CEO, Deer Lake Regional Airport.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Swoop to Deer Lake Regional Airport.  This new service will provide residents of Corner Brook with yet another affordable option to visit friends and family across North America. It will also bring a whole new group of visitors to the west coast of Newfoundland. An exciting opportunity for all! Congratulations to Swoop and Deer Lake Regional Airport.”- Jim Parsons- Mayor of the City of Corner Brook

“Deer Lake Regional Airport is a gateway for Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and a renowned travel destination which sits at the entrance to the greater Northern Peninsula. The large and diverse area relies on connectivity to support its cultural, tourism, and economic industries. Adding Swoop, an additional airline, to Deer Lake Regional Airport will benefit both residents and visitors alike as the tourism industry rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Colleen Kennedy, Executive Director-Gros Morne Cooperation Association.

“Pjila’q. Qalipu is very excited to be supporting their partner Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority. Any time we can build capacity for our members and the region is a great day”- Chief Brendan Mitchell

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

About Swoop 

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

Swoop’s fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft will grow to 16 with the addition of six Boeing MAX-8 in 2022. At FlySwoop.com travellers can quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

Air Transat Unveils Its Ambitious Winter 2022-2023 Program

The airline is diversifying and expanding its winter offering to the South, the United States and Europe by leveraging its growing network

MONTREAL, May 19, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ –  Air Transat, named World’s Best Leisure Airline in 2021 by Skytrax, is proud to announce today that it is diversifying and expanding its international offering for winter 2022–2023. For the first time in its history, it will fly to more than 350 destinations worldwide, about 50 of which will be served by its own aircraft and some 300 others through its exclusive virtual interlining service, connectair by Air Transat, as well as its code-sharing agreements.

“Our customers want and need to travel,” says Michèle Barre, Vice President, Network, Revenue Management and Pricing of Air Transat. “Our response to their expectations is unique, of high quality and rich in options. We are offering an unprecedented range of destinations on four continents for this coming winter as we continue to develop and strengthen our air network.”

Air Transat continues to grow in Quebec while consolidating its position in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces with flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the United States, Canada and Europe.

Sunshine at will: more options for the South from Montreal and Toronto

Air Transat will offer direct flights from eight cities across the country: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Halifax and Moncton. In addition to its flights to the South, Air Transat will also offer vacationers a selection of packages at more than 290 properties.

Out of Montreal, Air Transat will expand its services on the South, including to Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico (to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun), as well as in the Dominican Republic, to Punta Cana. It will also operate direct flights to Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Panama, the Caribbean, and El Salvador, as well as Cuba, where direct flights to Havana are back in service.

Travellers out of Toronto will also have plenty of choice to enjoy the sun and beaches of the South. Air Transat will offer direct flights to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the United States, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and St. Maarten.

From Quebec City, nine sun destinations will be accessible by direct flight to Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Weekly Flights – South

DestinationFrom MontrealFrom Quebec CityFrom Toronto
ACAPULCO – Mexico1
CANCUN – Mexico14510
CARTAGENA – Colombia32
CAYO COCO – Cuba423
FORT-DE-FRANCE – Martinique2
GUANACASTE – Costa Rica33
HAVANA – Cuba3
HOLGUIN – Cuba314
LA ROMANA – Dominican Republic11
MONTEGO BAY – Jamaica36
POINTE-A-PITRE – Guadeloupe2
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti1
PUERTO PLATA – Dominican Republic414
PUERTO VALLARTA – Mexico512
PUNTA CANA – Dominican Republic12510
RIO HATO – Panama22
SAMANA – Dominican Republic412
SAN JOSÉ – Costa Rica33
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico11
SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador1
SANTA CLARA – Cuba322
ST. MAARTEN – St. Maarten21
VARADERO – Cuba424

Major increase in service to the United States

Air Transat is also pursuing its ambitious development in the U.S. market, announcing a major increase in its offering from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando and resuming its direct flights to Tampa. It will also maintain its service to New Orleans and extend service to Los Angeles year-round.

Weekly Flights – U.S.

DestinationFrom MontrealFrom Quebec CityFrom Toronto
FORT LAUDERDALE – Florida957
LOS ANGELES – California3
MIAMI – Florida5
NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana2
ORLANDO – Florida624
TAMPA – Florida2

Easy access to Europe: London year-round from Montreal and Marseille for the holidays

As for Europe, Air Transat will offer direct flights between Montreal and France, Portugal and Spain, as well as England, and offer year-round flights to London. It should also be noted that it will now offer its non-stop flights to Marseille for the holidays until January 8, 2023, and the following day for the flight back to Montreal.

In addition, there will be direct flights from Toronto to the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Italy, as well as from Quebec City to France.

Weekly Flights – Europe

DestinationFrom MontrealFrom Quebec CityFrom Toronto
FARO – Portugal1
GLASGOW – United Kingdom2
LISBON – Portugal22
LONDON – United Kingdom37
MALAGA – Spain2
MANCHESTER – United Kingdom2
MARSEILLE – France2
PARIS – France121
PORTO – Portugal1

In Canada

Air Transat will also operate domestic flights between Montreal and Toronto as well as between Montreal and Vancouver.

Weekly Flights – Domestic

DestinationNumber of flights
MONTREAL–TORONTO7
MONTREAL–VANCOUVER6

Global network expansion

To enable Canadians to simplify their travel itinerary and increase international connections, Air Transat is enhancing its offering with trusted partners through its code-sharing agreements as well as its virtual interlining service, connectair by Air Transat. In total, more than 350 destinations are available for booking.

The innovative connectair by Air Transat platform lets travellers combine Air Transat’s flights with those of seven partner airlines for more than 240 additional destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America and Canada.

The winter 2022–2023 flight program is available for booking today on the airtransat.com and transat.com websites and from all travel product distributors. New destinations will be announced in a few weeks. See you in June!

About Air Transat

Founded in Montreal 35 years ago, Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand. Voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, it flies to international and Canadian destinations, striving to serve its customers with enthusiasm and friendliness at every stage of their trip or stay, and emphasizing safety throughout. It is renewing its fleet with the greenest aircraft in their category as part of a commitment to a healthier environment, knowing that this is essential to its operations and the magnificent destinations it offers. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a world-renowned holiday travel provider that achieved Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Named to Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media
  • Ranked as Canada’s 21st best corporate citizen by Corporate Knights

Flair Airlines launches inaugural flight to Chicago

  • Flights from Toronto to Chicago begin today, three times weekly
  • Fares starting at $94

Edmonton, Alberta, May 17, 2022 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s everyday low fare airline, begins service to the Windy City today, with the inaugural flight to Chicago O’Hare International Airport from Toronto Pearson International Airport. The non-stop flight will connect Toronto and Chicago three times weekly.

“We’re excited to bring another incredible destination to our passengers with our inaugural flight to Chicago today. Flair is working hard to bring even more low fare options to Canadians with new destinations across North America.” said Stephen Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Flair Airlines. “We’re making it easier for Canadians to be blown away by Chicago’s unique culture, cuisine, and events by making weekend trips affordable. Bring your appetite for some delicious deep dish pizza!”

“On behalf of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), I am thrilled to welcome Flair Airlines to O’Hare International Airport,” said City of Chicago Commissioner of Aviation Jamie L. Rhee. “Passengers will now have additional options for affordable travel between Toronto and the “Windy City,” voted Best Big City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler for the fifth year in a row.”

“As aviation continues to recover and more and more travellers once again take to the skies, offering options to our valued passengers is more important than ever,” said Janik Reigate, Director of Strategic Customer Relationships, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “We’re pleased to partner with Flair to connect people and businesses in Toronto with the Windy City!”

Non-stop service to Chicago is part of Flair’s ongoing expansion into the U.S., with recent inaugurals to Nashville, New York, and San Francisco, as well as Anchorage, starting in June.

One-way fares to Chicago, including taxes and fees, begin at $94 CAD from Toronto. There are limited seats and availability for the fares. Both destinations are now available for booking at www.flyflair.com.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s leading low-fare airline and its greenest airline, on a mission to provide affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve over 30 cities across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com.

Swoop Continues Canadian Expansion with new Saint John – Toronto Route

The ultra-not-expensive airline adds more connectivity for New Brunswick

SAINT JOHN, NB, May 12, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low cost airline, launched its inaugural flight to the Saint John Airport (YSJ) from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ). Swoop flight WO366 took off from Toronto this afternoon at 5:25 p.m. ET, receiving a warm welcome upon arrival in Saint John at 8:40 p.m. local time.

Earlier this week, Swoop marked its first flight into New Brunswick with an inaugural service between Hamilton and Moncton, and later this summer, the airline will launch service from Moncton to Edmonton. The leading ULCC is expanding rapidly across the country, focusing on Atlantic Canada, where demand for affordable air service has reached new heights.

“As Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline, we are thrilled to continue our expansion in New Brunswick today with this inaugural flight to Saint John,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial and Finance, Swoop. “We know that affordable air travel is integral to the restart and recovery of tourism and are pleased to expand our presence across Atlantic Canada this summer.”

“Swoop Airline’s arrival adds to the incredible momentum growing in our province while contributing to our economy and creating more jobs for New Brunswickers,” New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said. “We know people are interested in visiting and moving to our beautiful province and having another option available for them to do so will help us as we continue to build on our success.”

“I’m excited to hear that Swoop Airlines is making its inaugural flight into Saint John Airport. This is further proof that our city is an important tourist destination and that our economic recovery is strong.” – Donna Noade Reardon, Mayor of Saint John

With introductory fares from Toronto to Saint John starting at just $49 CAD†, Swoop is showing Canadians just how affordable experiencing the east coast can be this summer.  

RouteStart DatePeak Weekly FrequencyOne-way total price (CAD)Base Fare (CAD)Taxes & Fees (CAD)
Toronto to Saint JohnMay 12, 20224x weekly$49$2.29$46.71
Saint John to TorontoMay 12, 20224x weekly$59$5.23$53.77

For travel between September 1 – October 15, 2022 | Seasonal start and end dates apply and are indicated in the booking flow. | Fares are valid until May 19, 2022 (11:59 p.m. MT) or while seats last. | Prices displayed above are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is made and accepted.

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

About Swoop

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

Swoop’s fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft will grow to 16 with the addition of six Boeing MAX-8 in 2022. At FlySwoop.com travellers can quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

Toronto Business Leaders Call on Federal Government to Solve Staggering Wait Times at Toronto Pearson Airport

TORONTO, May 12, 2022 /CNW/ – Toronto business leaders, including representatives from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, AccorHotels, and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, have come together to echo the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s call to the federal government to urgently address government agency issues plaguing travellers at Toronto Pearson, Canada’s largest airport.

While Canada’s borders may be open to fully vaccinated travellers, Canada’s travel economy is far from recovered, and delays at the airport are not helping with the recovery. Following two years of uncertainty, business leaders are calling on the government to immediately address resource challenges with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to streamline international arrivals by eliminating legacy Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) measures and to move randomized COVID-19 testing off-airport.

As a world-class city with businesses just now emerging from the crisis of the last two years, long wait times and significant delays are the first impression for many international travellers. This is a significant obstacle to business recovery. The federal government should have planned for the return to travel, and the issues must be resolved immediately. International passengers arriving at Pearson are forced to wait up to three hours, often onboard the aircraft, during peak periods before proceeding to customs. Last week, 7,000 travellers waited longer than 90 minutes on airplanes. As the summer travel season approaches, it is expected that these wait times will only get worse. Almost 50% of all international arriving passengers, or 100,000 people, were delayed last week, a 20 per cent increase in the past two weeks. For passengers departing on a flight, wait times to clear security are also staggering, reaching as high as 75 minutes during peak departure times.

Pre-pandemic, CBSA processing at Pearson took on average 30 seconds for an arriving passenger; today, the processing can take up to four times longer. The increased processing time stems from two leftover, non-science-based pandemic relics: on-airport mandatory random COVID-19 testing for 2,000 international arriving passengers per day and duplicate health checks and questions. These two public health measures could be immediately lifted to address issues at Canada’s hub airports. 

Monitoring for potential COVID-19 variants can be accomplished through proven scientific options such as community wastewater testing, which is widely supported by scientific and medical communities. Wastewater testing would provide an early warning system for incoming variants without inconveniencing travellers or placing undue stress on Canada’s transportation system.  

Jan De Silva, President and CEO of Toronto Region Board of Trade said, “To solve for the long-tail economic realities faced by our visitor economy we must demonstrate to potential visitors – especially our business visitors – they can travel easily and without undo challenge to our region.  In short – we need to make this a good experience. Competing cities around the world are doing this successfully. We are painfully and inexcusably behind in Toronto.

“For this reason, we echo the GTAA and urge the federal government to take immediate action and remove legacy public health requirements to support GTA businesses and to help our city get back to normal.” 

“Toronto Pearson is the gateway for international travellers visiting Toronto and continuing to other Canadian destinations. The current travel experience will have detrimental and lasting impacts on how Toronto and Canada are viewed on the international stage. As Toronto and its tourism businesses continue to struggle to find their footing, the last thing we need is another hurdle that hampers our collective recovery. We need action from the government now to avoid permanent damage to Toronto’s reputation as a premier travel destination,” said  Christopher Bloore, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

“Severe passenger congestion at our country’s largest airport will have lasting impacts on the City of Toronto’s ability to get back to normal. Hotels are operating at a significantly lower rate than industry averages, and lengthy delays and staff shortages at the airport will exacerbate the problem. International tourism is already limited, and with major events and conventions now being scheduled to take place, we need to make sure our city has the resources and capacity to ensure they can go ahead,” said Edwin Frizzell, Regional Vice President Accor Central Canada & General Manager of Fairmont Royal York at AccorHotels.

“Canada’s travel industry, including travel agencies and independent travel agents, are just beginning the long road to recovery. Yet, ACTA has received reports of travellers cancelling reservations or deferring travel because of delays at government checkpoints. Pearson Airport has already made their needs clear, and today we are urging the federal government to act on them. It’s time for the government to address resource shortages and remove legacy COVID-19 policies that are only slowing us down,” said Wendy Paradis, President & CEO of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).