US-Canada Border Closure Extended Until Late July

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Sumit Singh | June 18, 2021

It has been a year and three months since a ban on non-essential travel between the United States and Canada was first imposed. Now, airlines and passengers looking to head over the border between the two countries will have to wait until at least July 21st.

Air Canada New York
Air Canada won’t be flying non-essential passengers across the Canada-US for at least another month. Photo: Getty Images

Another wait

There are high hopes for a change as airline advocacy groups on both sides of the border have been putting pressure on authorities to open things up. There were also hints of progress with Canadian Health Minister Patty Hadju talking of a phased reopening plan last week. Additionally, US congressman and co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus Brian Higgins shared that US President Joe Biden is keen for the border to open up.

Despite these glimmers of hope, those wanting to fly between the US and Canada for non-essential reasons will have to wait for at least over a month. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair confirmed the news on Twitter.

Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.

— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) June 18, 2021

A change of approach

Both US and Canadian carriers refocused their attention on domestic services following the restrictions set by the global health crisis. However, international activity now is seeing gradual improvement in the US following the easing of requirements to certain destinations. However, continued stringent restrictions in Canada are causing airlines in the country to continue their concentration on the domestic market through the summer.

WestJet Getty
The travel restrictions have been renewed on a monthly basis since March 2020. Photo: Getty Images

WestJet announced its domestic recovery in spring with 11 routes. Moreover, Swoop has been deploying its Boeing 737 aircraft to national vacation spots. Flair Airlines is also concentrating its new 737 MAX aircraft between its Canadian bases. After the border reopens, the ultra-low-cost carrier’s aircraft will also be seen in the US, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

This spring, Canadian aviation activity has been down by up to approximately 90% in capacity levels. In contrast, US domestic leisure travel is already seeing strong returns, with load factors at around 90%. So, overall, Canada’s aviation industry is feeling the impact of the pandemic much more than its neighbors in recent months.

Delta American LAX
US carriers have had a head start over their Canadian counterparts. Photo: Getty Images

Looking ahead

Nonetheless, Blair shared that there are plans in the works for some extra travel to restart this summer. The MP for Scarborough Southwest shared the following on Twitter.

“As we have said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, Permanent Residents, and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada and will provide further details on Monday, June 21.”

Airline advocacy groups supporting the relaxation of restrictions are looking to end quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, end hotel quarantine policies for all travelers, and reduce quarantine for partially and vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Furthermore, they want a clear pathway to the reopening of consistent travel. These groups will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on further announcements in the coming weeks.

Flair Airlines Celebrates 20th Destination, Announcing Service to Grande Prairie, Alberta With Flights Available for Less Than $40

The fast-growing ULCC is adding non-stop service to the Northern Alberta community from Toronto and Vancouver with flights starting at just $39

Edmonton, Alberta, June 16, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its growth with the addition of service to Grande Prairie, Alberta. Flights will begin in August and for less than the cost of a meal for two people, customers can access non-stop service to Toronto and Vancouver.

“Canadians are tired of being gouged for air travel and Flair is excited to bring our low fares to a fourth Alberta market,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. Flair continues to deliver tremendous value to underserved communities where restoring affordable regional travel will help reignite the Canadian economy.”

Service to Grande Prairie (IATA: YQU) will be twice a week for both non-stop routes. Vancouver flights will begin August 1 with evening flights on Wednesdays and Sundays. Toronto flights will begin August 4 with afternoon flights on Wednesday and Saturdays.

Grande Prairie is the 20th destination served by Flair Airlines as it grows rapidly to meet the demand for low fare travel across Canada. Flair’s fleet of aircraft is growing with the addition of 13 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joining its existing fleet of 737-800.

Examples of one-way base fares currently available are listed below. All base fares include taxes and fees, and there are limited seats and limited availability.

  • Grande Prairie (YQU) to Vancouver (YVR): $39 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 4.
  • Vancouver (YVR) to Grande Prairie (YQU): $39 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 4.
  • Grande Prairie (YQU) to Toronto (YYZ): $49 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 7.
  • Toronto (YYZ) to Grande Prairie (YQU): $49 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 7.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing 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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com 

Over $17 million in upgrades approved for Region of Waterloo airport

From CTV News – link to source story

CTVNewsKitchener.ca Staff | Thursday, June 10, 2021

Region of Waterloo International AirportThe Region of Waterloo International Airport is seen on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.

KITCHENER — Region of Waterloo council has approved over $17 million in upgrades for the area’s international airport.

The green light to help with terminal expansion, a new baggage carousel and handling system, and modular systems was given during a Wednesday night council meeting.

The upgrades are a part of a $44 million expansion that coincides with partnerships between Pivot and Flair Airlines.

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Two councillors at the meeting opposed the vote and cited uncertainty about future passenger levels as well as wanting more solid airline commitments.

Flair Airlines Begins Service to Ottawa

The fast-growing ULCC is adding service to 8 destinations from Ottawa

EDMONTON, Alberta, June 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its growth with the addition of service to Ottawa International Airport (IATA: YOW) in Ontario starting today. The ULCC is adding low fare flights between Ottawa and eight Canadian cities.

Ottawa flights in June will provide non-stop service to Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Calgary. In August, the schedule grows with the addition of service to Halifax, Kelowna and Abbotsford.

“We are delighted to start operations at our newest base in Ottawa,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. “Just in time for summer, we are bringing affordable travel options with one way fares as low as $49 on several routes. By August, we will have two aircraft based in Ottawa and provide non-stop, low fares to eight cities while creating more than 70 jobs in the community.”

Ottawa is among several new destinations Flair is adding to its network as the airline grows to serve 19 Canadian cities. Flair’s first of 13 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft started passenger service on June 10 and more of the new aircraft are joining the fleet throughout 2021.

Listed below are examples of one-way base fares currently available. All base fares include taxes and fees, and there are limited seats and limited availability.

  • Ottawa to Halifax: $49 one way, travel on October 14, 2021
  • Ottawa to Abbotsford: $59 one way, travel on September 9, 2021
  • Ottawa to Toronto: $49 one way, travel on July 7, 2021
  • Ottawa to Winnipeg: $49 one way, travel on October 27, 2021
  • Ottawa to Edmonton: $49 one way, travel on September 10, 2021
  • Ottawa to Calgary: $49 one way, travel on November 11, 2021
  • Ottawa to Vancouver: $59 one way, travel on October 26, 2021
  • Ottawa to Kelowna: $59 one way, travel on October 23, 2021

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing 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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com

Flair Airlines Begins Service with the First of 13 New Boeing 737-8 Aircraft

The growing ULCC starts passenger service with inaugural flight from Edmonton to Toronto

EDMONTON, Alberta, June 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), begins service today with the first of 13 new Boeing 737-8 aircraft joining the fleet as the airline begins rapid growth to provide affordable, low fare air travel to 19 Canadian destinations.

“Today marks a huge milestone as Flair grows to bring affordable travel options to more Canadians,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Canadians have been paying too much for too long, and Flair is changing that thanks to the addition of the new 737-8 aircraft which provide us the efficiencies and ability to scale our service. Today’s inaugural flight kicks off our rapid growth.”

The inaugural flight of Flair’s first new 737-8 will depart Edmonton at 5:30pm MT and arrive in Toronto at 11:20 pm ET. Piloting the inaugural flight will be two veteran leaders at Flair: Captain Matt Kunz, Vice President, Business Transformation and Operations, and Captain Harold Knop, Regulatory Compliance and Certification Manager.

The new aircraft allow Flair to achieve the lowest cost per seat mile of any Canadian airline. The aircraft will deliver fuel savings and cut the airline’s CO2 emissions by 14%. Lower per passenger emissions are a vital step in lowering Flair’s carbon footprint as it works to become Canada’s greenest and most sustainable airline.

Flair’s pilots, maintenance professionals, flight attendants and safety officers have been conducting extensive testing and training programs to prepare for the addition of the new aircraft. Flair’s team has been working closely with Boeing and been on-site throughout the testing and delivery phase of each aircraft.

Flair began taking delivery of the 13 new aircraft in May. The 737-8 aircraft are joining Flair’s existing fleet of 737-800 aircraft and deliveries continue throughout 2021. By the middle of next year, Flair will have a fleet of 16 aircraft and be well on the way to achieving its “F50” ambition of growing to 50 planes within five years.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing 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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com

Flair Airlines Begins Service to Thunder Bay, Ontario

The fast-growing ULCC has started passenger service between Toronto and Thunder Bay

Edmonton, Alberta, June 2, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its expansion of service with the start of flights to Thunder Bay International Airport (IATA: YQT) in Ontario. The growing ULCC will provide passenger service between Toronto Pearson Airport and Thunder Bay and flights are available for booking through March 26, 2022, at flyflair.com.

Service begins in June with flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In July, the frequency increases with the addition of Thursday service.

“There is a tremendous demand for affordable air travel options in Canada,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer.  “Connecting Ontario with flights between Thunder Bay and Toronto provides an affordable intra-provincial travel option as we have one way fares as low as $29. As travel begins to restart, this new route is a great option for staying within the province while supporting two Ontario communities.

Thunder Bay is one of several new Canadian destinations Flair is adding to its network in 2021 as it grows the fleet of aircraft. Flair’s first of 13 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will begin passenger service on June 10.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing 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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com 

Flair Airlines Extends Domestic Schedule into 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air Canada delays return to Saint John Airport

From Global News – link to source story

By Tim Roszell, Global News | May 27, 2021

Click to play video: 'Saint John airport looks forward to better year'
Abstract: It’s going to be at least another month before travelers can fly in or out of the Saint John airport. But the facility’s acting CEO believes it can recover from another pandemic-ravaged year. Tim Roszell reports.

While the number of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to climb in New Brunswick, it’s going to be at least another month before travellers can fly into or out of Saint John Airport.

Air Canada had planned to bring flights back to Saint John on June 1, but its latest route information shows no flights scheduled until June 29, when it is slated to begin a route to Montreal. Saint John-to-Toronto flights are scheduled to begin July 1.

“It certainly is discouraging,” said Greg Hierlihy, Saint John Airport’s acting CEO. “But we weren’t surprised based on what’s going on across the country and with hot spots and with cases rising, we know, it’s understandable.”

Hierlihy admits there is an extra level of anticipation surrounding the airport.

Low-cost carrier Flair Airlines is due to launch July 2 after having its Saint John debut pandemic-delayed by a year. Porter Airlines plans a July 20 restart and regional carrier, PAL Airlines, brings its services to Saint John on Aug. 2.

Hierlihy said destination airline Sunwing has also confirmed a return.

Click to play video: 'Canadian airline industry calls for federal restart plan'Canadian airline industry calls for federal restart plan – May 10, 2021

He said he’s confident travellers will come back, eventually.

“It’ll obviously depend on the recovery and people’s willingness to travel,” Hierlihy said. “There’ll be a bit of a slow, steady recovery, we think. Eventually, we expect it to be — with adding the new airlines — quite busy in the airport which would be a great thing for us to see.”

There have been no commercial flights in or out of Saint John since early 2021. While those resumption schedules are in place, at least one industry analyst believes more needs to happen before passenger numbers rise throughout Atlantic Canada.

Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University, anticipates the possibility of vaccine passports, differing quarantine rules and other COVID-19-related issues will hamper the industry as a whole for some time.

He said opening provincial and international borders will be critical to its recovery in Atlantic Canada.

“We can get some tourism from within Canada,” Moore said. “That would be good this summer, but it’s the foreign tourists that are going to make a huge difference. It’s also business people going to and from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and that sort of thing that’s going to help the demand for air travel.”

Hierlihy said he’ll be watching vaccination rates and case numbers over the coming weeks as the potential return of flights draws closer.

But he said he’ll also checking passenger levels in other provinces.

“There’s a little more movement in some other provinces in the country and we’ve seen what their seats and passenger rates have been,” he said.

Moore believes it will take several years for the industry to reach early 2019 passenger levels in the Atlantic region.

Hierlihy said he expects passenger levels in 2021 to be similar to 2020 levels, roughly 15 per cent. He said the airport lost $1.8 million last year and is trending toward the same number in 2021.

Click to play video: 'The Travel Lady: COVID-19 vaccines a ray of hope for travel industry'The Travel Lady: COVID-19 vaccines a ray of hope for travel industry – May 11, 2021

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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

From CBC News – link to source story

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

Marie Sutherland · CBC News · May 25, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reopening plans key to flights resuming

Could these dates change again?

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

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

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

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

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

Higgs suggests reopening plans are imminent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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