Air Transat unveils its winter 2021-22 program

Nearly 50 destinations on three continents will be offered, including two new ones: Miami and Fort Myers

MONTREAL, June 16, 2021 /CNW/ – Air Transat is proud to present its winter 2021-22 flight program. Starting November 1, it will offer flights to nearly 50 destinations throughout the CaribbeanMexicoCentral and South Americathe United States and Europe.

This program also features two new destinations in Florida—Miami and Fort Myers, with direct flights from Montreal—in addition to flights already scheduled for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

“We know that our clients are eager to travel, whether it’s to visit loved ones or for a change of scenery,” says Annick Guérard, President and CEO of Transat. “And we are sure to meet this strong, pent-up demand with the rich variety of destinations we are offering this winter. Plus, by adding Miami and Fort Myers to our program, we are consolidating our position in the United States, a popular sun destination for Canadian travellers.”

Starting December 2021, Air Transat will fly to Miami four times a week, and to Fort Myers twice a week.

Flights to three continents this winter

To quench Canadians’ wanderlust, direct flights will be offered from eight Canadian cities: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Halifax and Moncton.

In addition to flights to the South, Air Transat will also offer vacationers a selection of South packages, featuring 290 properties and four collections: LuxuryOut of OfficeFamily and Solo.

From Montreal, Air Transat will operate direct flights to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Martinique, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, El Salvador and the United States.

Travellers from Toronto will be able to fly direct to Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, St. Maarten and the United States.

From Quebec City, seven sunny destinations will be accessible by direct flight to Cuba, the United States, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

And lastly, to allow Canadians to travel across their country and to increase connecting opportunities to international destinations, Air Transat will also operate domestic flights between Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver.

As for Europe, Air Transat will gradually offer direct flights from Montreal to France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. There will also be direct flights from Toronto to the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, and from Quebec City to France.

It is important to note that, should the situation change and force the company to alter its flight schedule, clients affected by cancellations would be eligible for a refund.

For travel inspiration and details on routes offered, travellers are invited to visit the dedicated page on the Air Transat website.

About Air Transat

Air Transat is Canada’s number one leisure airline. It flies to some 60 international destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada, and carries some 5 million passengers every year. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel and offering vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel. Transat was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development. Its head office is located in Montreal.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

CF Snowbirds Operation Inspiration at London SkyDrive

Canadian Forces Snowbirds Confirm Performance at Airshow London 2021

London, Ontario – June 3, 2021 – Airshow London is extremely excited to announce the addition of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds to an already thrilling list of performers for SkyDrive 2021, Canada’s original drive-in air show, taking place August 27-29 at the London International Airport.

Airshow London is proud to welcome back Canada’s national military demonstration team as they continue last year’s Operation Inspiration, uniting and inspiring Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Flying under Operation Inspiration will also provide the opportunity to carry on the legacy of Captain Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer, who was pivotal in creating this cross-country tour last year. Both the Snowbirds and CF-18 Demonstration team are honoured to continue this work and Airshow London is honoured to host both teams this August.

The air show itself will offer a rare and exciting line-up of Canadian and American Forces aircraft, headlined by the United States Navy Blue Angels. Additional confirmed performances include the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration and C-17 Globemaster Demonstration. This year’s added Friday night show will also feature a special flyby from two United States Air Force B-1B Lancers. Airshow London is looking forward to announcing more performers leading up to the show.

“As a proud Canadian air show, we look forward to hosting both our national teams in an effort to continue to unite Canadians through Operation Inspiration. We invite our community to join us, support us and get excited with us, as we get back together in a safe and responsible way,” says Jim Graham, Chair, Airshow London.

This is the second year for Airshow London’s socially responsible and physically distant drive-in format, following last year’s hugely successful sold out event and the only air show to take place in Canada.

Tickets for the show must be purchased in advance and are sold per vehicle for up to 6 passengers. Tickets can be purchased at airshowlondon.com.

For more information and the full list of performers, visit airshowlondon.com or @airshowlondon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Porter in talks with Pearson, other airports for passenger jet service

By ERIC ATKINS, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER & ANDREW WILLIS & NICOLAS VAN PRAET | MAY 20, 2021

A Porter Airlines flight makes its final approach as it lands at the airport on July 2, 2019 in Ottawa. ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Porter Airlines has approached Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and other airports in southern Ontario about establishing a passenger jet service postpandemic, sources say, a shift in strategy for the carrier that is blocked from flying jets at its base on the Toronto Islands.

Porter’s move comes as the carrier is reportedly buying 30 passenger jets from Embraer of Brazil.

Porter has long sought to fly jets out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, but those plans have been prevented by the federal government owing to concerns that include noise, pollution and the impact of the longer runway that would be required.

“We’re not relocating from Billy Bishop to any airport,” said Brad Cicero, a Porter spokesman, who declined to address a question about seeking slots at Toronto Pearson.

Porter’s founder and executive chairman Robert Deluce did not respond to interview requests. Porter declined to make Michael Deluce, the founder’s son and current chief executive, available for an interview.

Porter’s talks with the airport authorities are preliminary, according to two people familiar with the matter whom the Globe and Mail agreed not to name because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

In addition to Toronto Pearson, Porter has approached airports including Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener and London, one of the sources said. The airports declined to comment or did not respond to interview requests.

On May 13, trade publication Airfinance Journal reported Porter is the buyer of 30 Embraer E195 E2 jets, a narrow-body medium-range jet that seats as many as 150 people. Embraer declined by e-mail to name the buyer of the jets.

Porter flies a fleet of 29 Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes that hold about 65 to 78 people.

Mr. Cicero would not answer questions about the reported purchase of the Embraer planes. “This isn’t our order,” he said. “We have no plans to switch our fleet. Our focus continues to be on relaunching operations in 2021 with the existing Dash 8-400 fleet.”

John Gradek, who teaches aviation leadership at McGill University, said Porter has no room to grow at its Toronto island airport base, and is forced to fly planes at less-than capacity owing to the short, 3,900-foot runway. He speculated the airline is relaunching itself with a new fleet prior to a sale. (Porter’s public offering in 2010 failed.)

“It’s a radical departure from the airline that we know,” said Addison Schonland of boutique aerospace consultancy AirInsight. “The business model looks like it is changing.”

Porter in 2013 placed a $2-billion conditional order for as many as 30 Bombardier CSeries jets, now known as the Airbus A220. The airline sought to extend the island airport runway by 200 metres to accommodate the larger aircraft but faced stiff local opposition.

In 2015, then transport minister Marc Garneau blocked Porter’s plans to fly jets from the island.

That decision stands, a spokeswoman for current Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. “Our government has no plans to amend the tripartite agreement between the federal government, the City of Toronto and PortsToronto to allow jet aircraft to use Billy Bishop Airport,” Allison St-Jean said.

“There are no plans or negotiations to discuss jets at Billy Bishop Airport with either of our tripartite partners,” said Deborah Wilson, a spokeswoman for PortsToronto, the government agency that owns and operates the airport.

An Airbus spokeswoman said: “While we of course would welcome more Canadian carriers to select the Canadian designed and built A220, we do not comment on discussion we may or may not be having with airlines.”

Porter’s 2013 order is not part of Airbus’s backlog list, which had 494 planes ordered but not yet built at the end of April, 2021. Airbus is building A220 jets at a rate of five a month in factories in Mirabel, Que. and Mobile, Ala., with plans to expand output when appropriate to a maximum of 14 planes a month.

Porter, which has not flown since March 21, 2020, owing to the pandemic, recently pushed back its relaunch date to July 20.

Privately-owned Porter, which employed 1,500 before the pandemic, flies to several Canadian, U.S. and holiday destinations, but is perhaps best known for business travel given its proximity to downtown Toronto. Business travel is expected to recover from the pandemic last, after family-related flights and tourism.

In good times, Porter accounts for 85 per cent of plane traffic at the island airport, while Air Canada makes up the rest. Porter sold the airport terminal to Nieuport Aviation, controlled by New York-based J.P. Morgan Asset Management Inc., in 2015 for more than $700-million.

Neil Pakey, CEO of Nieuport, declined to comment on Porter’s plan for jets at other airports. Mr. Pakey said he and the airline are focused on Porter’s restart in July.

Porter’s talks come as it continues discussions with the federal government over financial aid to blunt the effects of the pandemic on the business. In March, 2020, the airline received a $135-million loan through Export Development Canada and indicated earlier in May that it is in negotiations for more aid. The government has said any help from the taxpayer comes with conditions that include “protecting jobs across the air sector.”

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 returns to London, Ontario for the 2021-2022 winter season with convenient weekly flights

TORONTO, April 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Residents of southwestern Ontario will be able to plan their future vacation with ease this winter, as Sunwing has announced they’ll be returning to London International Airport for the 2021-2022 season. Starting December 15, 2021 until April 20, 2022, the tour operator will be offering weekly flights to the popular vacation destinations of CancunPunta Cana and Varadero.

“We’re delighted to be returning to London International Airport for the 15th year,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Travel Group. “Now more than ever, our customers value the ease and convenience of being able to depart from their regional airport, and we’re pleased to be offering London residents frictionless vacation experiences under our wing.”

The flight schedule from London will be as follows:

  • Between London and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from December 15, 2021 until April 20, 2022
  • Between London and Cancun, Thursdays from December 16, 2021 until April 14, 2022
  • Between London and Varadero, Fridays from December 17, 2021 until April 15, 2022

“After over a year of travel restrictions and staying home, we’re looking forward to welcoming Sunwing back to London International Airport,” said Michael Seabrook, President and CEO of London International Airport. “Sunwing vacation packages are consistently popular amongst London sun-seekers, and with three tropical destinations to choose from, vacationers will be able to safely head back to paradise right from their doorstep.”

Travellers can choose from a range of popular resorts in paradise and book with confidence during Sunwing’s Freedom 21/22 Sale. From now until April 30, 2021, vacationers can enjoy flexible booking options, the ability to change their plans with ease and enjoy an Early Booking Bonus of up to $1,000 per couple when they book an applicable package for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

In Cancun, customers can Vacation Like a Star™ at the newly-opened Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun with entertainment-themed activities and A-lister amenities. Those headed to Punta Cana may choose to stay at Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa where they can enjoy All-In Luxury® amenities like unlimited reservation-free dining; while those seeking an adults only option may choose to stay at Riu Republica, which is home to the only water park exclusively for adults in the Caribbean. London residents planning a getaway to the Canadian-favourite destination of Varadero can stay at Grand Memories Varadero with convenient amenities, comfortable accommodations and exciting activities.

Vacationers can 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.

Airshow London’s SkyDrive Awarded for Innovation

by Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation

London, Ontario – March 10, 2021 – Airshow London’s SkyDrive, Canada’s first drive-in air show and one of a few live events to take place in Ontario throughout 2020, was awarded today with the newly created Blue Sky Innovation Award by the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC). SWOTC’s annual conference, which took place virtually over the past two days, concluded today with its Innovation Awards ceremony. The Blue Sky Innovation Award was created in honour of Airshow London, stating that SkyDrive deserved an award of its own for its innovation and success, and showcasing how events can adapt and continue to take place safely while still offering an awesome experience.

Airshow London’s SkyDrive made history in September 2020 by hosting a sold-out socially responsible and physically distant drive-in air show during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to welcoming 5,000 parked vehicles (20,000 people) over two days to the London International Airport, the show hosted an unprecedented seven U.S. military demonstration teams.

“We extend a big thank you to the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation for recognizing our innovation and hard work that went into our first-ever SkyDrive event,” says Gerry Vanderhoek, Air Operations, Airshow London. “Through tremendous support from our team, partners and the community, we were able to host a safe and memorable experience that we are extremely proud of and look forward to building upon for the Southwest Ontario tourism industry.”

Tickets are on sale now for SkyDrive 2021, August 27-29 which will be headlined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels demonstration team. Tickets are sold per vehicle and must be purchased in advance at airshowlondon.com.

For more information visit airshowlondon.com or @airshowlondon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

WestJet to temporarily suspend service to four domestic stations

Airline to halt flights to St. John’s, London, Ont., Lloydminster and Medicine Hat as demand continues to falter from COVID-19

CALGARY, AB, Feb. 18, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet announced it will temporarily suspend operations to St. John’s, N.L., London, Ont., and Lloydminster and Medicine Hat, Alta., as of March 19, until June 24, 2021.

“We have continued to operate in the face of uncertainty as domestic and international travel restrictions and quarantines have caused demand to plummet,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Unfortunately, with new and increasingly restrictive policies, we are left once again, with no other option than to suspend service to these communities.”

With today’s announcement, flights between St. John’s and Halifax will be suspended as of March 21, while service between London, Ont., and Toronto will cease on March 22. WestJet Link service from Calgary to Lloydminster will end on March 19, and Calgary to Medicine Hat discontinued as of March 21.

“Our ability to return to markets remains directly correlated to government policies and the prioritization of a domestic travel program,” continued Sims. “As we look ahead to contributing to the economic recovery of Canada, the relationship between testing and quarantine must evolve based on data and science.”

In June 2020, WestJet announced organizational changes through its airport transformation program. As a result of the suspensions, WestJet will be working with newly established third-party service providers in St. John’s and London, Ont., and directly with Pacific Coastal Airlines for affected WestJet Link operations in Lloydminster and Medicine Hat.

WestJet continues to operate at more than a 90 per cent reduction year over year. Guests impacted will be contacted directly regarding their options for travel to and from the regions. Service is set to resume to all communities as of June 24, 2021.

Temporary Route Suspensions:

RouteCurrent FrequencyService suspended from
Lloydminster – Calgary2x weeklyMarch 19, 2021
St. John’s – Halifax3x weeklyMarch 21, 2021
Medicine Hat – Calgary1x weeklyMarch 21, 2021
London, Ont. – Toronto4x weeklyMarch 22, 2021

‘Saw it coming’: London International Airport CEO responds to new flight suspensions

From Global News – link to source story

By Kelly Wang  980 CFPL | January 30, 2021

FILE - London International Airport on July, 19, 2017.
FILE – London International Airport on July, 19, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

The president and CEO of a London, Ont., airport says he “saw it coming” when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new flight suspensions Friday.

“As an industry, I think we certainly expected it,” said Mike Seabrook with the London International Airport while speaking with 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady on Let’s Talk London.

During his announcement, Trudeau said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have all agreed to cancel air services to “all Caribbean destinations and Mexico,” starting Sunday.

The cancellations will continue until April 30.

Seabrook says the London International Airport lost all of its flights to the Caribbean and Mexico in March of last year, “so the only thing we’ve had since is domestic flights.”

“We’ve been at the bottom for eight months (or so), and (this is) just another nail in the coffin.”

Prior to the pandemic, the airport offered direct flights to tropical destinations such as Cancun, Mexico and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“This whole process has … really, really hammered aviation,” said Seabrook. “But as an industry, we certainly get it. We don’t want to put anyone at harm and we support (safety) measures.”

In the meantime, staff at the London International Airport is keeping busy with ongoing maintenance.“We’ve got a significant reduction of our staff out there, so it’s all hands on deck. We have managers and people who don’t plow, [now doing] snow plowing snow and shoveling. We’re trying to utilize what resources we have because there is a minimum standard we have to adhere to,” said Seabrook.

“We have to make sure planes landing and taking off do so in a safe manner. We’ve got air ambulances and cargo flights that are still coming in.”

The president and CEO says he’s hopeful the aviation industry will bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“If the vaccines can get out there, if we can refine (testing) at airports and get people to feel confident to travel again, then as an industry, we’ll be back to the prosperous times we’ve had before.”

Trudeau’s announcement also included a new mandatory PCR testing requirement at airports for people returning to Canada. While travellers wait for their COVID-19 test result, they’ll be quarantined at a designated hotel on their own dime.

Trudeau said the cost for this is “expected to be more than $2,000.”

Cases linked to international travel account for two per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada.

More than 6.3 million travellers who have entered Canada since the start of the pandemic were not required to quarantine, according to new figures Global News obtained Thursday from the Canada Border Services Agency.

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