PAL Airlines steps in to fill flight gap in N.L. after Air Canada’s departure

From CBC News – link to source story

Carrier adding 12 new routes, promising fares as low as $69

CBC News ·  Jun 17, 2021

Newfoundland and Labrador carrier PAL Airlines will fly as far as Ottawa starting this summer. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

A Newfoundland and Labrador regional airline is stepping up to fill the void left by Air Canada’s departure from the majority of its routes in the province.

PAL Airlines, which flies small aircraft out of airports across the province, is on the brink of the largest expansion in the company’s history, adding 12 new routes to its schedule. The airline will unveil service to Halifax, Fredericton, Saint John, Charlottetown, Ottawa and several Quebec destinations.

They’ll be rolling out the new routes over the course of the summer as pandemic restrictions lift, says Janine Browne, the airline’s sales director.

Those routes had previously been serviced by Air Canada, which slashed flights to smaller communities across the country over the last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson told CBC News in January that the airline’s overall capacity was down 80 per cent from the previous year at the time.

The pandemic has been “devastating” for the industry, Browne said, noting PAL managed to “weather the storm.”

“We were able … to continue serving all of our regions,” Browne said. “This is an essential service for many of the communities and towns and cities that we serve.”

While Air Canada announced Tuesday it will be reestablishing some routes in the province, PAL’s expansion breathes life into airports still grappling with the pandemic.

“Air access is absolutely essential to economic recovery,” she said.

The expansion also offers customers an easier travel experience, Browne suggests, with more connecting destinations and partnerships with both WestJet and Air Canada — allowing passengers to buy one ticket and check their luggage only once during their trip.

Ottawa eyeing steep fares

But even as provinces set their reopening plans in motion for this summer, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians face significantly fewer travel options, with remaining flights to major domestic destinations costing more than usual.

The price hike prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tell local business owners earlier this month that Ottawa believed fares would fall as demand rises.

“We’re watching very closely on connections, we’re watching very closely on reopening, we’re watching the prices, we’re watching tourism,” Trudeau told the St. John’s Board of Trade.

“We’re watching all these different factors to make sure that if there are gaps or challenges that are going to slow our recovery that we address them.”

Browne said she expects passengers to see significantly lower fares as the new routes launch, with some tickets setting passengers back as little as $69.

There’s a catch, though. Despite the partnership with Air Canada, anyone booking a PAL flight can’t avail of Aeroplan points.

That may change in the coming months, however.

“Who knows what the future holds,” Browne said.

Air Canada Supports Economic Recovery as the Country’s Leading Carrier, Serving 50 Cities Across Canada to Enable Canadians to Conveniently Connect

  • Most extensive domestic schedule supports Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector
  • Includes three new routes, re-established routes plus Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class cabins on select transcontinental routes
  • New refund policy gives additional peace of mind

MONTREAL, June 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada’s domestic peak summer schedule beginning at the end of June has been developed to advance the country’s economic recovery and support Canada’s tourism and hospitality businesses during the important summer period.  Three new domestic Canada routes, service to 50 Canadian airports, the re-establishment of select regional routes, and wide-body aircraft featuring Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class on select transcontinental routes are included. Seats with attractive pricing in all cabins are available for purchase now at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

“We are especially proud that our new state-of-the-art, Canadian-manufactured Airbus A220 aircraft will be operating across Canada. With our industry-leading CleanCare+ bio-safety protocols, promotional fares including for our premium cabins, compelling Aeroplan opportunities, and our new refund policy offering additional peace of mind, customers can book Air Canada with confidence.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard when you’re ready to fly,” concluded Mr. Galardo.

Air Canada’s new refund policy provides customers an option for a refund to the original form of payment in instances where Air Canada cancels their flight or reschedules the departure time by more than three hours, irrespective of the reason. Air Canada customers will also have the option of accepting an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.  Normal fare rules will apply when customers make voluntary changes to non-affected flights.

New route details:

RouteFrequencyAircraftEffective
Montreal-Deer LakeDailyCRJ900Jul 1, 2021
Montreal-Kelowna3x Weekly July4x Weekly AugAirbus A220June 26, 2021
Montreal-Saskatoon-ReginaDailyCRJ900Aug 1, 2021

Resumption of services:

Airport StationRouteEffectiveFrequency
Gander Gander – HalifaxJun 293x Weekly
 Gander – TorontoJul 25x Weekly
St. John’s St. John’s – TorontoJun 19Daily
Goose Bay Goose Bay – St. John’sJun 293x Weekly
Deer Lake Deer Lake – HalifaxAug 15x Weekly
Halifax Halifax – CalgaryAug 15x Weekly
Sydney Sydney – TorontoJun 263x Weekly
 Sydney – MontrealAug 1Daily
Charlottetown Charlottetown – TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Saint John Saint John – MontrealJun 303x Weekly
 Saint John – TorontoJul 24x Weekly
Fredericton Fredericton – MontrealJun 29Daily
 Fredericton – TorontoJul 15x Weekly
Bathurst Bathurst – MontrealJun 273x Weekly
Quebec City Quebec City – TorontoJun 191x Daily
Ottawa Ottawa – CalgaryJul 2Daily
 Ottawa – EdmontonAug 12x Weekly
North Bay North Bay – TorontoJun 283x Weekly
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray – TorontoJuly 12x Weekly
Winnipeg Winnipeg – CalgaryJun 206x weekly
 Winnipeg – MontrealAug 1Daily
Regina Regina – CalgaryJul 15x Weekly
Saskatoon Saskatoon – CalgaryJul 25x Weekly
Kamloops Kamloops – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
 Kamloops – CalgaryJun 284x Weekly
Comox Comox – VancouverJun 303x Weekly
Nanaimo Nanaimo – TorontoJul 41x Weekly
 Nanaimo – CalgaryJul 25x weekly
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert – VancouverJun 253x Weekly
Penticton Penticton – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
Sandspit Sandspit – VancouverJun 233x Weekly
Victoria Montreal – VictoriaJun 193x Weekly
 Toronto – VictoriaJun 194x Weekly
 Calgary – VictoriaJun 214x Weekly
Castlegar Castlegar – VancouverJun 283x Weekly
Kelowna Kelowna TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Yellowknife Yellowknife – CalgaryJun 303x Weekly

Air Canada is also providing connectivity to five additional regional communities through interline agreements with third party regional carriers: Wabush, Baie Comeau, Gaspe, Mont Joli, and Val d’Or.

Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2020 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Sydney airport CEO encouraged by entry of new regional airline

From CBC News – link to source story

Mike MacKinnon says new flights from PAL Airlines will add jobs, boost confidence among travellers

Tom Ayers · CBC News · May 26, 2021

The CEO of the airport in Sydney, N.S., is looking forward to the return of air travel at the end of June, especially with the addition of new flights from regional carrier PAL Airlines. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

The CEO of the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport is looking forward to the resumption of air travel in the Atlantic region, and he’s especially excited about the new arrival of an airline from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mike MacKinnon said having PAL Airlines come into the Maritimes will create jobs and add options for travellers.

“Pre-pandemic, the airport itself had about 140 direct jobs at the airport … with the different entities that work here and we’re below 30 now, so anything is going to be an improvement over where we’ve been for the last year to 14, 15 months,” he said.

Commercial flights have been shut down at Atlantic airports since January. They were set to restart at the end of May, but the pandemic’s third wave put that on hold.

PAL Airlines has announced it will be flying out of Halifax, Charlottetown and Fredericton starting at the end of June and its inaugural flight out of Sydney, N.S., is on June 28.

WestJet plans to restart Sydney-to-Halifax flights on June 28, while Air Canada has said it is resuming flights from Sydney to Toronto and Montreal on June 26 and from Sydney to Halifax on July 1.

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales with PAL Airlines, says the company identified gaps in the regional marketplace and has the equipment and staff to fill them. (Submitted by PAL Airlines)

MacKinnon said adding flight choices in Sydney will boost confidence among travellers.

“It’s the road to recovery,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see that we’ve got a new carrier who are going to be operating interregional routes around Atlantic Canada and that’s great for our airport.”

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales with PAL Airlines, said the company identified gaps in the regional marketplace and already has the equipment and staff to fill them.

“It’s a huge expansion,” she said.

“Our team is very excited that, during this challenging time, that we are able to do this.”

The airline is starting from Sydney with a 37-seat Dash 8 that can also carry cargo.

‘People are really, really eager to travel,’ says PAL spokesperson

Browne said the company is prepared to operate in a new environment, given differing health restrictions in each province.

“We’re obviously keeping a close eye on government restrictions and respecting that, but we think it’s going to be the right time and we think that people are really, really eager to travel,” she said.

“People are looking to get on that plane. People are looking to get in the air and fly.”

PAL announced its plans to fly out of Sydney on Tuesday morning and by midday, had already taken some bookings, Browne said.

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.

Related Products

Associated Link

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

Sunwing announces winter flight schedule from regional gateways across Atlantic Canada

Tour operator to offer weekly flights from Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Gander

TORONTO, April 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing is making it easier for residents of Atlantic Canada to head back to the tropics this winter, with convenient weekly flights from regional gateways across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Residents of Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Gander can make their much-anticipated return to paradise with vacation packages to some of the most popular destinations across the Caribbean and Mexico. Flights will begin in January 2022 and run weekly until May 2022.

“We’re thrilled to be returning to Atlantic Canada for another winter season,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Travel Group. “After a difficult year, we’re sure that Canadians will be eager to return to paradise and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. We’re excited to be able to help them enjoy a frictionless vacation experience with convenient flights from local gateways across the region.”

Residents of Atlantic Canada will be able to choose from a range of vacation packages designed for every travel style and budget. Sun-seekers can Vacation Like a Star™ at the newly-opened Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun and the first-ever Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun, featuring entertainment-themed facilities and authentic Hollywood memorabilia around the resort. Those looking to make the most of their vacation budget can enjoy exclusive RIU®-topia inclusions at Canadian-favourite chain RIU Hotels & Resorts, including the recently renovated Riu Montego Bay. Plus, travellers who book by April 30, 2021 for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 can enjoy flexible booking options with the ability to change their plans with ease and save up to $1,000 per couple during the tour operator’s Freedom 21/22 Sale.

The flight schedule from Halifax, NS will be as follows:

  • Between Halifax and Cancun, Sundays from January 16, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Montego Bay, Mondays from January 17, 2022 until May 9, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Puerto Plata, Tuesdays from January 18, 2022 until May 10, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Punta Cana, Fridays from January 14, 2022 until May 6, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Cayo Coco, Wednesdays from January 12, 2022 until May 11, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Cayo Santa Maria, Thursdays from January 13, 2022 until May 5, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Holguin, Sundays from January 16, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Varadero, Thursdays and Saturdays from January 13, 2022 until May 7, 2022

The flight schedule from Moncton, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Moncton and Cancun, Thursdays from February 10, 2022 until May 5, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Montego Bay, Sundays from February 13, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Puerto Plata, Fridays from February 11, 2022 until May 6, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Punta Cana, Saturdays from February 12, 2022 until May 7, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Varadero, Fridays from February 11, 2022 until May 6, 2022

The flight schedule from Saint John, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Saint John and Varadero, Saturdays from February 5, 2022 until May 7, 2022

The flight schedule from Fredericton, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Fredericton and Cancun, Mondays from February 14, 2022 until May 9, 2022
  • Between Fredericton and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from February 9, 2022 until May 4, 2022
  • Between Fredericton and Cayo Coco, Tuesdays from February 15, 2022 until May 10, 2022

The flight schedule from St. John’s, NL will be as follows:

  • Between St. John’s and Cayo Coco, Thursdays from March 10, 2022 until May 12, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Varadero, Saturdays from March 12, 2022 until May 14, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Cancun, Fridays from March 11, 2022 until May 13, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Montego Bay, Sundays from March 13, 2022 until May 15, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Punta Cana, Mondays from March 14, 2022 until May 9, 2022

The flight schedule from Deer Lake and Gander, NL will be as follows:

  • Between Deer Lake/Gander and Varadero, Tuesdays from March 15, 2022 until May 10, 2022
  • Between Deer Lake/Gander and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from March 16, 2022 until May 11, 2022

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.

Airports feeling wind under their wings after announcement PAL Airlines will expand flights

From CTV News – link to source story & link to video

Kyle Moore, CTV News Atlantic Reporter | Monday, April 12, 2021

A group is looking for solutions to help make air travel a more pleasant experience.

SYDNEY, N.S. — Airports around here are hoping the addition of flights by PAL Airlines is a sign of recovery for the aviation industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

More than 50 percent of the workforce has lost their jobs, but employment opportunities are returning as flights take to the air in the coming weeks.

Sydney’s airport will soon see traffic both on the tarmac and at the ticket counter.

PAL Airlines will lift off May 31, offering commercial service to and from the island for the first time in more than three months.

“It’s certainly the news that we have been hoping for and advocating for since the end of 2020 when we found out all commercial service was being suspended from our local airport,” said Kathleen Yurchesyn of the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

With the loss of daily flights from Air Canada and WestJet across the Maritimes, people who work in the aviation industry in the region have been left without work.

“Over 50 per cent of our sector is out of work,” said Monette Pasher, the executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association.”I think as we take steps towards recovery and see some of our air services come back, hopefully more people will be re-employed in our industry.”

Fredericton International Airport will also benefit from the Newfoundland-based airline with PAL’s direct flights to Deer Lake and St. John’s, starting next month.

With three weekly direct flights to Ottawa and Halifax beginning in August, it all translates into much-needed employment.

“PAL Airlines will bring in someone and then it creates jobs because you have a ground handler that handles the air service,” said Johanne Gallant, the CEO of Fredericton International Airport.

Gallant says PAL Airlines has provided cautious optimism for an industry paralyzed by the pandemic.

“The Halifax service and the Ottawa service, these are two routes that were served by Air Canada and they said they wouldn’t be renewing that service short-term, so this will definitely fill a need for the region,” Gallant said.

Back in Sydney, the airport will now be home to three commercial carriers when Air Canada and WestJet return in June.

Details of Financial Support to Air Canada

From: Department of Finance Canada | 12 April 2021

Backgrounder

The government’s financial support to Air Canada is being provided under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). The Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation (CEEFC) has committed to provide $4 billion in repayable loans and an equity investment in Air Canada of $500 million in newly-issued Class B Voting Shares at a 15 per cent discount to their recent trading price. CEEFC will also receive warrants on Air Canada stock in an amount equal to 10 per cent of the loan commitments (CEEFC’s news release contains detailed information regarding the warrants).

As a condition of its agreement with CEEFC, Air Canada has made a number of commitments as outlined below.

Refunds for Canadians

The agreement with Air Canada ensures that customers who had their flights cancelled, or took action to cancel a flight because of the pandemic, are not financially disadvantaged. Under the terms of the financing agreement, Air Canada has committed to offer refunds to any passenger who wants a refund for certain pandemic-related cancelations by the carrier that CEEFC will finance. Air Canada has committed to providing customers with their refunds as soon as possible – beginning April 30, 2021 at the latest. CEEFC will provide additional loan financing of up to $1.4 billion for Air Canada to provide these refunds. Travel agents may assist in the processing of refunds for tickets the travel agents sold but will not be required to refund their commission to Air Canada.

Protecting Jobs

As a condition of the agreement with CEEFC, Air Canada has committed to maintain jobs at current levels, to respect collective bargaining agreements, and protect workers’ pensions. Air Canada currently has 14,859 active Canadian employees.

As required more generally under LEEFF, Air Canada has also agreed to restrictions on dividends, buying back shares, and executive compensation. The company will also provide climate-related financial disclosures, including how its future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.

Restarting Vital Domestic Air Services

The terms of the financial support will ensure that Canadians and communities retain air connections to the rest of Canada, through the restart of service at airports temporarily suspended by Air Canada. For seven airports where Air Canada had permanently canceled service, the airline will seek interline agreements with other carriers with a view to ensure those Canadians continue to have convenient access to their preferred airports and the flights they need.

Service will resume by no later than June 1, 2021, at the following suspended airports based on public health advice:

  • Bathurst
  • Comox
  • Fredericton
  • Gander
  • Goose Bay
  • Kamloops
  • North Bay
  • Penticton
  • Prince Rupert
  • Saint John
  • Sandspit
  • Sydney
  • Yellowknife

Supporting Jobs in Canada’s Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry supported 235,000 Canadian jobs and contributed over $28 billion in gross domestic product to the Canadian economy in 2019.

This financing agreement will allow Air Canada to continue to be a vital customer of the Canadian aerospace industry by completing its planned purchase of aircraft as set out in its business plan, which includes aircraft built in Canada, such as the Airbus A220. Aerospace is one of the most innovative and export-driven industries in Canada. The negative impact of the pandemic on the bottom line of airlines has put the relationship between airlines and the aerospace industry at risk, threatening job security in the sector. Ensuring that Air Canada maintains its status as a key customer of Canada’s aerospace industry is important to ensuring the long term success of the sector and the thousands of jobs it supports.

PAL Airlines to service Fredericton with direct flights to Newfoundland, Ottawa, Halifax

From CBC News – link to source story

The announcement marks the first-ever offering of direct flights from Fredericton to Newfoundland

Isabelle Leger · CBC News · Apr 07, 2021

PAL Airlines will offer flights from Fredericton to Deer Lake and St. John’s Newfoundland, starting May 31. (PAL Airlines)

A Newfoundland-based airline will service the Fredericton International Airport with direct flights to Deer Lake and St. John’s, starting May 31.

PAL Airlines announced Wednesday it would offer three weekly flights to both cities, marking the first time Fredericton has ever had direct flights to Newfoundland.  

“This is a long time coming… we’re confident there’s a demand for this,” said Fredericton Airport CEO Johanne Gallant. 

“We’re really pleased to see that PAL Airlines is willing to take this on.”

Johanne Gallant is the CEO of the Fredericton International Airport. (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

The airline will also offer three weekly direct flights from Fredericton to Ottawa and Halifax, beginning Aug. 2. 

Gallant said the addition of services is a sign of recovery for the aviation industry, which was paralyzed by pandemic restrictions. 

With plans for the Atlantic Bubble to open on April 19, she said the flights to Newfoundland and Halifax will provide New Brunswickers access to some prime tourist destinations. 

“We really see, for the summer, great leisure opportunities… people from here wanting to do something different and Newfoundland has such a great tourism product,” said Gallant.  

The Fredericton airport just underwent a major renovation. (JAMES WEST PHOTOGRAPHY)

She said the flights to Halifax will fill the demand for corporate flyers and students, which was left unserviced when Air Canada halted all flights from the airport in January.

  • Air Canada to suspend operations in Fredericton
  • Air Canada, Flair planning June 1 restart in Saint John, airport says
  • WestJet expects ‘very high demand’ for flights coming back in June, may add more

No one from PAL Airlines was available for an interview with CBC News on Wednesday, but the company provided an emailed statement. 

“We understand giving people the ability to get into and out of the region reliably and efficiently is going to be essential to the post-pandemic recovery,” said the statement.

‘We’re ready for these new airlines’

The Fredericton airport completed a large terminal expansion this month, which Gallant says made room for more carriers. 

Fredericton International Airport completed the renovations in early 2021. (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

“Definitely having a brand-new terminal with lots of space for social distancing, that helps,” she said.   

“With the terminal expansion project, we’re ready for these new airlines.”

Air Canada and WestJet have announced their flights will resume at the airport this summer. 

Gallant said the airport is still waiting for an official response from Porter Airlines on whether it will restore its services from pre-pandemic.

She said it’s also hopeful that Sunwing will be able to offer vacation getaway packages from Fredericton by next winter. 

Ready for takeoff: YFC terminal expansion completed

Departures Lounge at the Fredericton International Airport

Ready for takeoff: YFC terminal expansion completed

March 29, 2021

Ahead of schedule and under budget, the Fredericton International Airport is now modernized, expanded, and ready for service to resume

The Fredericton International Airport (YFC) has completed construction on its much-anticipated terminal expansion project. The new YFC will be a cornerstone of economic recovery, creating a strong impression on first-time visitors to our region while offering locals a comfortable, convenient gateway for business and leisure travel. With improved amenities and security as well as additional space for public health precautions such as physical distancing, this modernized terminal building is ready for the future.

A record 427,085 travellers used the airport in 2019, and YFC’s consistent year-over-year traffic growth made it the fastest-growing airport in the Maritimes between 2010 and 2019. That growth, combined with evolving security requirements, had stretched the existing terminal building well beyond its intended capacity of 200,000 passengers per year.

Passengers at the Fredericton International Airport

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be more important than ever for our province to showcase what a tremendous place New Brunswick is to live, work, and play. This bright, modern airport will play a key role in our economic recovery,” says Fredericton International Airport Authority (FIAA) President and CEO Johanne Gallant.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic emerged at the mid-point of the project, the terminal expansion was completed under budget and four months ahead of schedule. Under the leadership of Mathers Project Management Consulting and BIRD Construction the project was able to continue smoothly. Enhanced health protocols were implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. Employing primarily New Brunswick firms and workers, the project was able to continue construction with minimal disruptions to its labour force.

Mathers Project Management Consulting and BIRD Construction have done a tremendous job here at YFC, and we are grateful for their dedication and expertise,” says Mary Goggin, Chair of the FIAA Board of Directors. “Their leadership enabled us to keep this project moving throughout the pandemic, employing hundreds of New Brunswickers and preparing our region for the upcoming economic recovery.”

The YFC expansion project was a partnership between the Fredericton International Airport Authority, the Province of New Brunswick, and the Government of Canada.

“Our government understands the vital role the Fredericton International Airport plays in the province’s economic development. This is why we have invested to expand and improve the terminal. I am pleased to see the project completed at this vital time which will support New Brunswick’s post-COVID economic recovery,” said the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“The expansion of the terminal at the Fredericton International Airport (YFC) has been a multi-phased project involving a great deal of commitment and cooperation to get it over the finish line,” said Gary Crossman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation. “Congratulations to everyone involved on completing this significant project.”

Chess Piece Cafe in the Fredericton International Airport

Travellers will be pleased to discover that the new terminal offers enhanced food service options. Local business Chess Piece Patisserie and Café was selected as the food service provider, and will serve its signature coffee, desserts, and meals along with local craft brewery products. The new terminal features a café inside the departures lounge, which will open once air service resumes.  When pandemic restrictions are eased, an additional café will be open in the Arrivals area serving both travellers and the community.

Due to the travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, scheduled air service has been temporarily suspended at YFC. The airport authority continues to work with airlines and provincial and federal governments to ensure that air service is restored when the time is right.

  • New café location in the departures lounge and upgraded café in the arrivals area, featuring local craft beer, espresso beverages, and food prepared by Chess Piece Patisserie and Café.
  • Ample plugs and USB ports throughout the terminal to allow travellers to charge their devices and stay connected.
  • Upgraded male and female washrooms, private washrooms for families or individuals of any gender, and nursing rooms.
  • Children’s play area located next to the café in the departures lounge.
  • Natural light throughout the terminal.
  • Additional space for air carriers, and flexibility to move designated check-in counters as needed.
  • Improved security, including appropriate space for security screening lines and additional cameras throughout the building.
  • Airside corridor allowing passengers to exit and enter the building closer to their aircraft.
  • Additional space in all areas for passengers, allowing for physical distancing.
  • Upgraded baggage handling facilities.

WestJet to restore regional routes suspended due to COVID-19

Flights set to resume to airports across Atlantic Canada and Quebec City as part of the airline’s commitment to a safe restart  

CALGARY, AB, March 24, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced it will restore flights to the communities of Charlottetown, Fredericton, Moncton, Sydney and Quebec City after service was suspended as a result of COVID-19. The reinstatement of service will restore WestJet’s complete network of pre-COVID-19 domestic airports.

“We committed to return to the communities we left, as a result of the pandemic, and we will be restoring flights to these regions in the coming months, of our own volition,” said Ed Sims, WestJet, President and CEO. “These communities have been a crucial factor in our success over our 25 years and it is critical for us to ensure they have access to affordable air service and domestic connectivity to drive their economic recovery.” 

Service is set to resume to the five airports WestJet suspended service from in November, beginning June 24, 2021 through to June 30, 2021. In addition, service between St. John’s and Toronto, which was indefinitely suspended in October, will resume effective June 24, 2021. Following a temporary suspension, the restart of service between St. John’s and Halifax will be advanced from June 24, 2021 to May 6, 2021. Full schedule details and restart dates are outlined below. 

“Our focus remains on the safe restart of air travel. We ask that federal and provincial governments work with us to provide clarity and certainty to Canadians, including travel policies that support economic recovery and restore jobs,” continued Sims.  

Recognizing the investments that WestJet’s travel and tourism partners in the regions need to make to begin to recover from the pandemic, the airline will continue to encourage the Atlantic premiers to advance their efforts to ensure the region is open to Canadians this summer. 

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, we are hopeful that there will be an easing of onerous travel restrictions currently in place,” said Sims. “We look forward to working together to safely reconnect Canadians to the region in the coming months.”  

Planned Network Service Resumptions: 

Route Frequency Planned restart date 
St. John’s-Halifax 6x weekly May 6, 2021 
Charlottetown-Toronto 11x weekly June 24, 2021 
St. John’s-Toronto 1x daily June 24, 2021 
Fredericton-Toronto 1x daily June 26, 2021 
Quebec City-Toronto 1x dailyJune 28, 2021 
Sydney-Halifax 1x daily June 28, 2021 
Moncton-Toronto 1x daily June 30, 2021 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic. 

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.