Canada’s favorite ULCC is confident in travel demand growth over the coming year and expands schedule in core Canadian and US markets
Edmonton, Alberta, September 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its surge to bring low fares to Canadians and has extended its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets.
“As we grow our fleet and expand our service, we see the demand for Flair’s low fare travel continuing to explode across Canada. We are absolutely focused on rescuing Canadians from the bloated prices they have long suffered in flying,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Flair is committed to helping reunite families and make travel accessible for everyone, and our schedule extension will help passengers prepare for 2022 by knowing they can explore and connect without breaking the bank.”
The schedule expansion extends the booking period into Summer 2022. Many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including flights departing from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).
Flair’s confidence in Canadian travel continuing to grow in 2022 is reflected in the ultra-low fares where cost efficiency and demand allow for pricing to start at just $29 CAD one-way on some routes. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com. More low fares and exciting summer route announcements will be coming soon! Be among the first to know by signing up for Flair’s newsletter https://www.flyflair.com/newsletter.
Flair is rapidly growing to serve Canadians with low fare flights, the extended schedule allows for more efficient planning for customers and airline partners. Deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout 2021 and 2022 continue to grow the fleet as Flair achieves its goal of 50 aircraft in five years. Flair continues to bring more jobs to the market and is hiring more staff and flight crew as it meets the growth demands of the airline.
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 26 cities across Canada and North America. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com
Michelle Gregoire saw it begin from her window seat behind the plane’s right wing.
She was nearing the end of her flight to Kelowna, B.C., on her way home from Vancouver on Sunday when she noticed the clear, mid-afternoon sky had darkened, turning to a burnt yellow. As the sky grew darker and darker, the cabin filled with the bitter smell of smoke.
“All of a sudden, it just starts to go from red to black and the turbulence started,” Gregoire recalled in an interview. “People were starting to scream. There was a lady in front of me that just reached her hand out across the aisle to a young girl that was travelling by herself.”
Gregoire’s flight jolted into the Okanagan around 4:30 p.m. PT on what would become one of the more intense nights of this year’s wildfire season, with wind sending blazes stampeding through the region and forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes in a matter of hours.
Pilots trained for wildfire conditions
In the sky, towering clouds of black smoke reached airliner altitude and blotted out the sun.
Former pilots and aviation safety experts agree an experience like Gregoire’s would be harrowing but said commercial pilots who find themselves caught over wildfires are trained to handle extreme turbulence and low visibility.
Gregoire estimated the pilots fought for five agonizing minutes before abandoning the landing attempt and returning to Vancouver. She posted a brief video from the flight on Facebook.
“I actually had a woman reach out to me that saw the video … she said, ‘You know, we thought, in our row, that this is it. We thought we were going down,’ ” Gregoire said.
“It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, absolutely.”
Under general Transport Canada restrictions, pilots cannot fly within roughly nine kilometres of a forest fire unless they are 3,000 feet above ground level. Airlines are known to delay or cancel flights during fire season if weather and visibility are poor.
Still, pilots can get caught mid-air if fires suddenly shift. They’ll face two immediate hazards: turbulence and reduced visibility.
Fires can generate enough extreme heat to create their own weather, which can lead to violently bumpy flights like Gregoire’s. While that kind of turbulence is scary and unpleasant, aviation experts agree large commercial jetliners and their pilots are equipped to handle it.
“It can handle, if necessary, the turbulence inside a thunderstorm,” said Edward McKeogh, who flew military jets and commercial aircraft for more than 40 years before joining Canadian Aviation Safety Consultants.
The greater hazard, experts said, would be poor visibility when it comes time to land.
“As in the video that you saw, visibility can rapidly change from six miles plus, down to almost zero visibility in smoke,” said Barry Wiszniowski, a career pilot and president of Aviation Safety Management Experts.
It is possible for pilots to land with next to zero visibility if the plane is equipped with advanced instruments and the arrival airport has state-of-the-art navigational systems designed to communicate with the inbound flight.
Major airports like Vancouver International Airport have systems in place to guide those arrivals, but that’s not always possible at smaller B.C. airports.
Protocols for smoke and fog
If pilots can’t land due to smoke, they follow the same protocols as they would in the fog: they would execute what’s called a “missed approach” for landing and head for their alternative airport.
Wiszniowski called this “the right decision and the most conservative decision and the safest decision.”
“The crew, they know what they’re doing and if they take care of themselves, they’re taking care of their passengers.”
Most pilots would try to stay clear of smoke and fires as a general rule.
“The wise choice would be to avoid areas where the smoke is most dense,” said McKeogh, the veteran former pilot.
As an aside, Wiszniowski said he believes the most dangerous threat during fire season doesn’t have anything to do with the weather.
“[It’s] drone pilots that are getting in the way,” he said.
From City News 1130 – link to source story – Thank PM
BY CLAIRE FENTON | Posted Aug 4, 2021
WestJet has added additional flights to deal with a major backlog caused by wildfire smoke in recent days
Dozens of flights were cancelled in several airports because of unsafe conditions caused by the nearby wildfires
Passengers who can’t get on a flight will also have the option of taking a bus from Kamloops, Penticton or Kelowna
KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) — WestJet has added flights to allow air travel out of the wildfire-ravaged Interior to resume. But with the backlog in cancelled flights, it is expected to take a while before everyone can get back home.
Cancellations were made Monday and Tuesday, with most affected flights operated either by Air Canada or WestJet.
Philip Elchitz with Kelowna International Airport explained Tuesday that BC Wildfire Service placed a “no-fly zone” in the vicinity of the fire. That zone is also right above the instrument approach into Kelowna International.
However, in an update Wednesday, Elchitz says winds are favourable, but he warns conditions could change.
“The smoke is still pretty thick. We’re seeing about five miles of visibility right now at the airport. That’s certainly better than the half-mile visibility we had over the last couple of days. But we’d like to see that improve over the next few days as well.”
He says he understands that passengers are frustrated, and weather permitting, flights should be back to normal soon.
“People have been very resourceful. But there has been a fair amount of frustration and anxiety.”
Passengers who can’t get on a flight Wednesday will also have the option of taking a bus from Kamloops, Penticton or Kelowna.
“We’re expecting it to be hour by hour,” Elchitz said of whether flights would resume Tuesday, adding “that’ll completely depend on the behaviour of the wildfire and our ability to work with the B.C. fire service.”
He explains the BC Wildfire Service places a “no-fly zone” in the vicinity of the fire. That zone is also right above the instrument approach into Kelowna International.
“Because of that no-fly zone, we can’t have any aircraft flying the instrument procedures into the airport, and as a result of that, the pilots aren’t able to shoot the approach into the facility,” he said.
According to Elchitz, the visibility at the airport was about 3/4 of a mile Monday afternoon.
Over the past several days, wildfire smoke forced the Penticton airport to cancel many of its flights, forcing many to find other options. As of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, the only flight arriving that same morning — the 10:15 a.m. from Calgary — had been cancelled. Another flight, for later in the day, was still listed as “On Time.”
But starting at 3:00 p.m., flights for roughly 8,000 passengers trying to make their way out of Kelowna will resume.
Phillip Elchitz with the Kelowna Airport says the BC Wildfire Service has been able to condense its ‘no-fly zone’ around a nearby fire, allowing flights to resume in and out of Kelowna.
Elchitz does warn that plans could change if the nearby fire forces a re-expansion of the no-fly zone.
“If there is an expansion of the White Rock Lake fire to the east, it’ll close our approaches again so we’re really just monitoring the wildfire situation, and we’re hopeful that the fire will hold at its current location.”
By Shelby Thom Global News | Posted August 2, 2021
The massive White Rock Lake wildfire burning in B.C.’s Southern Interior is wreaking havoc on operations at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) with at least 40 flights cancelled over the past 24 hours.
Phillip Elchitz, senior airport operations manager, said the BC Wildfire Service increased the size of the no-fly zone in the vicinity of the wildfire on Sunday afternoon.
“The White Rock Lake fire boundary has moved east to Lake Okanagan with a no-fly zone up to 10,000 feet above sea level — this is affecting the instrument approaches into the airport,” Elchitz said.
“As with any adverse weather situations, travellers are reminded to check in with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information before coming to the airport.”
Elchitz said he expects most departures and arrivals scheduled for Monday will also be cancelled due to the dynamic situation.
“We expect the majority of the flights today to be cancelled and we encourage passengers to check the flight status of their flight,” he said.White Rock Lake wildfire balloons to 20,000 hectares near Westwold
Stranded passengers have been struggling to find last-minute hotel accommodations during the August long weekend — the peak of the tourism season in the Okanagan.
A handful of passengers slept at the airport on Sunday night.
“We are allowing passengers who are having trouble finding accommodations to overnight at the airport. We do have an area set aside to facilitate those passengers,” Elchitz said.
Officials with Kelowna International Airport are working with NAV Canada, Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service to find a temporary solution “that will allow the resumption of instrument flight operations in and out of the airport.”Wildfire near Westwold, B.C., grows to 12,500 hectares; Quebec firefighters deployed – Jul 26, 2021
Elchitz couldn’t say when flights will resume.
“It really depends on the behaviour of the wildfire and the boundaries that the BC Wildfire Service outlines as the no-fly zone, that is what is really going to affect the ability for instrument operations,” he said.
“The other piece is, if the smoke does start to clear in the vicinity of the airport, then aircraft will be able to arrive and depart visually, which will allow for a resumption of operations.”
The White Rock Lake wildfire, burning 34 kilometres northwest of Vernon, has exploded in size to 32,312 hectares and remains out-of-control.
Evacuation orders and alerts were expanded on Sunday. The wildfire now impacts homes in five local jurisdictions, stretching east of Kamloops, west of Vernon, and south to Kelowna.
Central Mountain Air is running non-stop flights from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, the Cariboo region, the Okanagan Valley, and Central B.C.
Kelowna, B.C.Central Mountain Air
Really want to make a great escape from the city but NOT looking forward to that long car ride in the hot summer heat? Opt to hop on a plane to your getaway spot instead!
Now that non-essential travel within B.C. is encouraged again, Vancouverites can book inter-provincial non-stop flights with Central Mountain Air for a quick and affordable way to get around the province this year.
Departing from the South Terminal at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), passengers can fly direct from Vancouver to Campbell River, Quesnel, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Prince George.
Then, from Prince George, you can also fly further up Northern B.C. with routes to Fort. St. John, Fort Nelson, and Terrace.
Campbell River, B.C. Photo: Central Mountain Air.
Here’s a quick primer of the cities that Central Mountain Air currently flies to from Vancouver.
On the east coast of Vancouver Island, the oceanside community of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands are renowned for its spectacular mountains, west coast woodlands, Elk Falls Provincial Park and Suspension Bridge, whale watching, and salmon fishing at Discovery Pier.
Located along a pivotal mining trail of the Cariboo Gold Rush, Quesnel is home to B.C. heritage spots such as the Alexander Mackenzie hiking trail and the original 1867 Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post in Riverfront Park.
The sunny canyon city of Kamloops in B.C.’s Interior is a four-season playground with long summers for hiking, biking, and water adventures. Go kayaking on one of Kamloops’ 100+ lakes and embark on outdoor adventures at Sun Peaks Resort.
Located on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is the Okanagan Valley’s largest city and is known for local vineyards and wineries, sandy beaches, surrounding provincial parks, and bustling downtown area — making it the perfect destination for urban and rural experiences.
The largest city in Northern B.C, Prince George is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from mountain biking through pristine rainforests to fishing in the endless network of streams, lakes, and rivers. It’s also the basecamp for venturing into Northeastern B.C. and Northwestern B.C. towards Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, and Terrace.
Fly with CMA! Photo: Central Mountain Air.
Connecting B.C. communities with ease and convenience since 1987, the independent Western Canadian airline is giving local B.C. residents a chance to go back to travelling and exploring their backyard.
And, to further ensure that you can book your flight with confidence, Central Mountain Air has extended their COVID-19 flexible booking and cancellation policy until July 31st for travel through to November 7th, so you can have peace of mind knowing you can make changes to your flight reservation if you need to.
Despite loosened travel restrictions, it’s still uncertain when international flights will return to Kelowna
Winston Szeto · CBC News · Jul 06, 2021
The major airport serving B.C.’s Okanagan region has seen far more flights coming and going since the reopening of the province, but it’s still unknown when international flights will return.
Since the province entered the third phase of its reopening plan on July 1, British Columbians have been able to travel across the country for recreational purposes. Before that, they could fly to and from Kelowna International Airport (YLW), but were advised not to unless it was essential travel.
Sam Samaddar, director of YLW, says travellers can now fly to 14 Canadian destinations from Kelowna, with Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener, Ont., Regina and Saskatoon recently added to the list.
Due to international travel restrictions, the Kelowna airport hasn’t yet resumed operation of routes to Seattle, Cancun, Los Cabos, and Varadero, which accounted for up to 30 per cent of the airport’s traffic before the pandemic.
In 2019, two million passengers passed through Kelowna International Airport, making it one of the busiest airports in the country.
Samaddar says he cannot predict when the airport will provide international air services again.
“We have international flights only designated to come into … the four major airports in the country, so we’re not even allowed to accept international flights at this point,” he said Monday to Dominika Lirette, guest host of CBC’s Daybreak South.
Under the federal government’s travel restrictions, international flights can only land in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Foreign non-essential air travellers are still prohibited from entering Canada, and Canadians are still discouraged from travelling overseas for non-essential purposes.
The travel restrictions between Canada and the United States preventing all non-essential trips are to remain in place until at least July 21.
But international border restrictions started to loosen on Monday. Canadians and permanent residents who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada are now able to forgo the 14-day quarantine, which has been a requirement since March of last year.
Samaddar says even if Canada reopens borders with the United States and other countries, it may take years before international business travellers return.
“Businesses are having to recover themselves and they’re also trying to understand the landscape before they send their staff abroad or internationally to do business or in person,” he said. “They don’t want to risk their staff … putting them in an environment where they may not know what the outcome is in terms of the safety of their employees.”
Up to five times weekly non-stop flights between Montreal and Kelowna
Airline links BC’s Okanagan Valley with non-stop flights to all four Air Canada hubs: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary
MONTREAL, July 5, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada’s newest domestic route with the only non-stop service between Montreal and Kelowna was celebrated at Kelowna International Airport today. The flights operate three times weekly, increasing to four times in mid-July and five times in August. Customers will enjoy Air Canada’s fuel-efficient Airbus A220-300 fleet featuring Business Class and Economy cabins, a modernized in-flight entertainment system with hours of complementary entertainment available at every seat, onboard Wi-Fi and more.
This new route adds to the significant impact Air Canada has on the local economy and that of the province of British Columbia as a whole. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada contributed approximately $2.2 billion to BC’s GDP, annually. Additionally, Kelowna is now connected to all four of the airline’s hubs which connects the Okanagan Valley directly to Air Canada’s vast global network with at most, one stop.
“We are excited to launch the only non-stop service between Montreal and Kelowna, connecting two leading tourism destinations popular with Quebecers and British Columbians alike. Our new flights onboard Air Canada’s ultra-quiet and environmentally-friendly Airbus A220-300 are also conveniently timed with connections to Atlantic Canada and abroad through our Montreal hub. As the country reopens, we are pleased to help friends and family reunite, and support Canada’s economic recovery and tourism industry. We know people are excited to travel again, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.
“Our loyal partner Air Canada is once again proving how much they value our passengers with this new Montreal-Kelowna route,” said Philippe Rainville, President and CEO of ADM. “With service from YUL Montréal-Trudeau Airport currently reduced and travel options still limited, the addition of this new Canadian holiday destination comes at just the right time! This is a great opportunity for Quebecers to discover the splendours of Western Canada in complete safety, aboard the new generation Airbus A220-300 aircraft, which are much quieter and assembled at Mirabel (YMX), with local know-how. We couldn’t ask for more!”
“Air Canada’s non-stop Montreal-Kelowna service marks a vast milestone for YLW to bring travel between Quebec and the Okanagan region,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, YLW – Kelowna International Airport. “Montreal has been a significant region for tourism in the Okanagan and we have worked numerous years to achieve this community connection. I look forward to welcoming residents of Quebec and those who connect through Montreal to our four-season paradise.”
“We are thrilled to see this new direct flight from Montreal into Kelowna opening up tremendous possibilities for domestic travel in the Thompson Okanagan Region,” said Ellen Walker-Matthews, SR VP and Acting President and CEO for Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. “We have been realizing an increased demand out of Quebec over the past several months with inquires from trade travel, travel media and individual and this new direct service will help satisfy and grow this demand.”
Air Canada’s Airbus A220-300 features 12 Business Class seats and 125 Economy Class seats with upgraded in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. Customers have more personal space thanks to the widest economy seats in the fleet, and the largest overhead stowage bins for an aircraft this size. Additional features include larger windows and full colour LED ambient and customizable mood lighting that contribute to reducing fatigue when travelling. The high ceilings, extra shoulder room and storage make this aircraft an unparalleled interior in the narrow-body segment.
The A220 helps further Air Canada’s environment commitment of net zero emissions by 2050 due to its innovative geared turbofan engines that are projected to yield up to 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption per seat. The A220 is also the quietest aircraft in its category. Read the Air Canada Airbus A220 fact sheet for more information.
All Air Canada flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and, for eligible customers, access to priority services, Maple Leaf Lounges and other benefits.
Day of Operation
Montreal to Kelowna
Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun
Kelowna to Montreal
Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat, Sun
Air Canada’s new refund policy of offering customers options of refunds, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65% bonus should the airline cancel or reschedule a flight by more than three hours, is applicable to all tickets purchased.
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.
Airline to restart eight routes and inaugurate new flights between nine communitiesby early July
CALGARY, AB, June 25, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet is further restoring British Columbia’s domestic and interprovincial connectivity with the restart of eight routes to and from destinations across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The airline is also set to inaugurate 10 new routes by July 5, 2021. Full schedule details and resumption dates are outlined below.
“We continue to work towards the restoration of our pre-COVID domestic network to ensure that when our guests are ready to travel, we are there for them,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “WestJet remains committed to building back stronger for the betterment of all Canadians and as we look ahead to reconnecting friends, family and loved ones, the safe restart of travel is essential to Canada’s economic recovery.”
WestJet’s investments are critical to ensuring British Columbia’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and by the end of June, the airline is set to inaugurate new flights between Abbotsford and Prince George and restore WestJet Link service between Vancouver and Cranbrook.
“As a leader in aviation, WestJet has been working with industry, tourism and business across the province to ensure their voices are being heard as we safely restart travel. We thank Premier Horgan and his government for prioritizing travel as a critical component of the government’s restart plan. While progress has been made in British Columbia, we continue to advocate for safe travel framework from the Government of Canada,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President.
This July, WestJet will offer non-stop service from Vancouver to 18 cities, from Victoria to eight cities, from Kelowna to seven cities, from Comox to four cities and from Nanaimo to three cities. From the communities of Kamloops, Penticton and Prince George, the airline will connect to two communities non-stop.
Love Where You’re Going Again – WestJet’s Latest Video
For more than 17 months, Canadians from coast-to-coast have been separated from the people and places they love. WestJet’s latest brand moment is a reminder to Canadians that it’s time to love where they’re going, again.
British Columbia route restarts between now and June 30, 2021
Route restart date
Victoria – Winnipeg *
June 24, 2021
Kelowna – Regina *
June 24, 2021
Nanaimo – Vancouver
June 25, 2021
Nanaimo – Edmonton *
June 25, 2021
Comox – Vancouver
June 25, 2021
Kelowna – Saskatoon *
June 25, 2021
Kelowna – Victoria
June 25, 2021
Vancouver – Cranbrook
June 25, 2021
Abbotsford – Prince George *
June 25, 2021
Prince George – Calgary
June 25, 2021
Victoria – Ottawa *
June 26, 2021
Comox – Edmonton
June 26, 2021
Comox – Toronto *
June 26, 2021
Victoria – Saskatoon *
June 27, 2021
Victoria – Toronto
June 30, 2021
Penticton – Edmonton *
July 4, 2021
Kamloops – Edmonton *
July 5, 2021
Vancouver – Fort St. John
July 13, 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.