Toronto flights returning to Fredericton as early as June 26

From CBC News – link to source story

Air Canada and WestJet are both set to make a return to the Fredericton International Airport by late June

Aidan Cox · CBC News · Jun 09, 2021

The Fredericton International Airport is expecting WestJet to offer daily flights to Toronto from its airport starting on June 26. (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

As higher vaccination rates are expected to bring loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the Fredericton International Airport is preparing to welcome the return of flights to cities like Toronto and Montreal by the end of June.

Johanne Gallant, the airport’s president and CEO, said WestJet is set to bring back Toronto flights on June 26, while Air Canada is expected to bring back Montreal flights on June 28 and Toronto flights on July 1.

PAL Airlines will also start offering flights from Fredericton to Deer Lake, N.L., and St. John’s, as well as Halifax and Ottawa later this summer.

Speaking on CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton show, Gallant said the flights that are returning won’t bring the airport back to its normal capacity, but it’s a good start.

“So we had more frequency than that pre-pandemic, however, this is a really good start,” Gallant said.

“And they [the airlines] will measure the demand. This is all [supply] and demand, so as the flight fills up and the demands grow, we’ll see more and more flights.”

Johanne Gallant, president and CEO of the Fredericton International Airport, said while flights won’t be going back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of June, it will be ‘a good start.’ (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

Gallant said it’s been a tough year for airlines, which have weathered a crash in demand due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

However, she said they’re gearing up for a return to normal and making sure things are safe for passengers when they start flying again.

“And at the airport also, we’re increasing, you know, the safety aspect — cleanliness and everything else. So we’re hoping with the vaccination rates going up that things will start to resume to some normalcy.”

Flights returning to capitalPlanes are expected to take flight this month at the Fredericton airport. We get details from Johanne Gallant, CEO of the Fredericton International Airport. 8:31

In an email, WestJet spokesperson Madison Kruger said the company is watching provincial reopening plans and vaccine rollout efforts.

“We are encouraged by the provincial reopening plans announced that promote the return of travel in Atlantic Canada, based on science, data and vaccination levels as early as July 1, 2021, in New Brunswick,” Kruger said.

“These plans provide a clear path and guidance towards allowing Canadians to safely travel to and from the province and will ensure WestJet can safely lead the restart of travel to this region.”

Kruger confirmed WestJet will begin offering daily flights between Toronto and Fredericton as of June 26, as well as between Toronto and Moncton as of June 30.

Air Canada and PAL Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.

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

From CBC News – link to source story

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

Marie Sutherland · CBC News · May 25, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reopening plans key to flights resuming

Could these dates change again?

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

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

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

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

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

Higgs suggests reopening plans are imminent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Fredericton Airport Lost $2.6 million in 2020

From Huddle.Today – link to source story

May 17, 2021by Aaron Sousa

Fredericton International Airport. Image: Facebook.

FREDERICTON —The Fredericton International Airport lost around $2.6 million last year, but its leadership is confident business will soon return to where it was pre-Covid-19.

Those were the key messages shared at the airport’s annual general meeting, held through Facebook Live on May 14.

Johanne Gallant, president and CEO of the airport, said the authority started its first quarter on a “very good note,” but that changed in March 2020 when Covid-19 forced companies like Porter Airlines and Air Canada to ground or drastically reduce flights.

Gallant said passenger traffic in Fredericton’s terminal dropped significantly, going from approximately 427,000 passengers in 2019 to around 103,000 passengers in 2020. She expects that number to be lower this year due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

“But we’re being very optimistic right now with the vaccination rollout that these flights will be back in no time, hopefully this summer,” said Gallant.

Kenny Kyle, chair of the audit committee and board of directors member, said the surplus of $2.6 million the airport saw in 2019 turned into a deficit last year. The change, which sits around $5.2 million, is a result of a $7.5 million drop in revenue, ranging from passenger terminal fees to concessions.

Despite receiving government subsidies, Kyle said it “fell well short” of what was needed to recover operational losses. As a result, the airport looked at ways to handle its budget, which involved restricting spending to essentials, using capital project funds and reducing its workforce.

But one of the silver linings of the pandemic, according to Gallant, was the recent expansion of the airport’s terminal, which finished ahead of time and under budget. Gallant said there were few delays in the project because the authority hired local companies that didn’t need to worry about health restrictions.

The airport also acquired new funding that will go towards two new fire trucks in addition to airfield electrical work. Part of that money, estimated to be around two to three million dollars, comes from Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund. The news comes as the Saint John Airport announced last week it’ll receive around $1 million.

While the airport had fewer passengers, public relations and marketing manager Kate O’Rourke said it has been busier than ever.

The airport was the first in New Brunswick to receive Airport Council International’s health accreditation after implementing Public Health measures. The honour means it follows the best practices “for the pandemic era.”

O’Rourke also announced the airport is pleased that Newfoundland and Labrador’s PAL Airlines will begin offering flights this summer. She said this is a service passengers have requested prior to the pandemic and is a great opportunity to explore the Atlantic bubble once it opens.

“We’re working hard to build this business back so that we welcome back our colleagues and our travellers when the time is right,” said O’Rourke.

“We know how to grow and we’re going to do that again once this pandemic is over.”

Aaron Sousa is a summer intern for Huddle. 

New flight school arrives in Goose Bay, Labrador

From SaltWire – link to source story

New Brunswick-based MFC Training partners with Air Borealis to establish seasonal pilot training program

Evan Careen · Local Journalism Initiative Reporter · April 30, 2021

A flight training school is coming to Goose Bay Airport this summer, which the airport hopes will become a regular occurrence.
A flight training school is coming to Goose Bay Airport this summer, which the airport hopes will become a regular occurrence. – Contributed

A New Brunswick-based company is opening a seasonal flight school at Goose Bay airport this summer.

MFC Training, operating in partnership with Air Borealis, is offering private and recreational pilot training, as well as discovery flights for people who have never flown before.

When contacted by SaltWire about the school, the company said as a central location in Labrador with considerable aviation infrastructure in place, Goose Bay Airport is an “excellent, accessible option” and they’re looking forward to working more with Air Borealis to attract local and Indigenous students.

“Aviation is essential for Canada’s Northern communities,” MFC said in an emailed response. “We want to build on the success of Air Borealis’ long-term employees. This is our next step in helping Air Borealis build on the success of their operations with individuals from the communities for which they serve.”

Introducing Flight Training in Labrador – Summer 2021

In partnership with Goose Bay Airport and Air Borealis, we are pleased to offer flight training services at Goose Bay Airport (CYYR) this summer.
To request your spot hit the 🔗 below.

📸: @WandaYYT— MFC Training (@MFCCanada) April 22, 2021

Labrador has a long history with aviation, with the air force base in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the myriad of other planes and helicopters used for things like industry, health care, food and travel to and from remote locations.

Goose Bay Airport Corporation CEO and General Manager Goronwy Price. - Screengrab
Goose Bay Airport Corporation CEO and General Manager Goronwy Price. – Screengrab

“It’s critical for places like the coast to have flights and it’s even more critical for airlines like Air Borealis to have pilots that are actually from the area,” said Goose Bay Airport Corporation CEO and General Manager Goronwy Price.

“There’s a greater connection and it reflects the communities. This is exciting for young people interested in flight and exciting as an investment in aviation.”

Having to travel outside Labrador and relocate to get the training can be a barrier to some people, he said, and this will make it easier for locals to access.

Price said this is the first time a formal flight school has been set up at the airport and they hope it will become an annual program.

Air Borealis is a partnership between PAL Airlines, the Innu Development Limited Partnership and the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies and operate flights in Labrador.

Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Labrador for SaltWire Network

Air Canada expects to resume operations in Bathurst on June 1

From CBC News – link to source story

Air Canada was the only carrier at the airport, which has been almost idle since last June

Isabelle Leger · CBC News · Apr 13, 2021

The Bathurst airport has been essentially empty for almost a year because Air Canada cut services during the pandemic. (CBC)

After Ottawa’s offer of a $5.9 billion aid package for Air Canada, the Bathurst Regional Airport has announced the airline’s services will resume in the coming months. 

Air Canada was the only carrier at the airport, which was left it practically empty when the airline suspended all flights last June. 

Serge Cormier, the Liberal MP for Acadie-Bathurst, said Air Canada will slowly work its way back to normal operations starting with a limited service. 

“We need an airport in the area, there’s no way possible to have any economic development if we don’t have that infrastructure, so it’s a very good announcement,” said Cormier. 

“It was very difficult for the Bathurst airport, very difficult for the region, but now we’re hopefully going to see the end of the tunnel.” 

Cormier said people still need to be cautious and stressed this announcement does not mean it’s time to travel for pleasure. 

As part of Ottawa’s deal with Air Canada, the airline promised to restore most regional services in the country. No other airports in New Brunswick have confirmed the carrier will return.

Lee Stever, the acting mayor of Bathurst, said he was surprised by the announcement, but sees it as a positive step for the region that’s struggled without air service for almost a year. 

Serge Cormier, the MP for Acadie-Bathurst, says the annoucement of Air Canada’s return to Bathurst doesn’t mean people should start travelling for pleasure.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many people go through the airport here, as well as the amount of freight that flies out of Bathurst,” said Stever.

“There are things like our fishing industry and so on and so forth that depend on the airport, and it’s been very difficult over the past year.” 

Stever said the airport is also used by Miramichi and Campbellton residents and provides jobs in the area.

As part of the deal with the federal government, Air Canada agreed to refund Canadians for their cancelled flights after February 2020. 

“We need all the jobs we can get,” said Stever. 

Air Canada employs about 15,000 in Canada, with a few of those in Bathurst. 

Cormier said he estimates a full recovery from the pandemic, and that employees who were laid off due to COVID-19 will likely get their job back in the near future. 

“This is a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.  

Air Canada has said it wants to issue refunds for cancelled flights as soon as possible, and it began accepting requests for refunds Tuesday. 

The Bathurst Regional Airport just secured service through PAL Airlines last week, to begin in August. 

An official from the airport was not available for an interview Tuesday.

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.

Charlottetown Airport to welcome new Halifax-P.E.I. flights this August

From CBC News – link to source story

Newfoundland-based PAL Airlines makes Island part of pandemic recovery expansion plan

CBC News · Apr 08, 2021

‘We are committed to working co-operatively with national carriers and other industry partners to build sustainable aviation services that meet the needs of the communities we serve,’ said Joseph Galimberti, PAL Airline’s senior vice-president, public affairs, in a statement. (PAL Airlines)

The Charlottetown Airport is celebrating news that Newfoundland-based PAL Airlines is adding a regular flight to and from Halifax starting in August.

The flight will operate three times a week beginning Aug. 2, the airport’s Twitter account said Wednesday. 

“Let’s extend a big Island welcome,” the tweet said in part. “We look forward to working with PAL to make their launch [a] successful one.”

Joseph Galimberti, PAL Airline’s senior vice-president, public affairs, confirmed the flight plans in an email to CBC News late Wednesday. 

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.— Joseph Galimberti

“PAL Airlines is an established regional air carrier with an over 40-year track record of providing passenger air service in Eastern Canada and Quebec,” he said in a 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.… We are committed to working co-operatively with national carriers and other industry partners to build sustainable aviation services that meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel slowdown, the Charlottetown Airport is currently served only by Air Canada, operating flights to and from Montreal. 

WestJet is scheduled to resume its Charlottetown-Toronto service on June 24, the Calgary airline announced in March.

Other cities get new flights too

The Charlottetown route is just one part of the expansion plan PAL Airlines is announcing this week. 

Its destinations will eventually include Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia; Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst in New Brunswick; Ottawa in Ontario; and four sites in Quebec: the Magdalen Islands, Gaspé, Baie-Comeau and Val-d’Or.

Some of the new flights will go into service May 31, the Fredericton Airport has said. 

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. 

Canada’s PAL Airlines to expand to 11 cities this summer

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Jon Hemmerdinger | 7 April 2021

Canadian regional carrier PAL Airlines will expand its network this summer to include 11 new destinations in eastern Canada.

The expansion comes as Canada’s airlines eye a potential summer rebound in air travel demand.

PAL, which operates De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprops, will this summer add flights to Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia, and to Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst in New Brunswick, the airline tells FlightGlobal.

PAL Airlines Dash
Source: PAL Airlines | A PAL Airlines De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop

The expansion will also see PAL add service to Ottawa in Ontario and Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. Additionally, it will begin flying to four cities in Quebec: Les Iles de la Madeleine, Gaspe, Baie-Comeau and Val-d’Or.

The Fredericton routes will include flights to Deer Lake, and onward to St John’s, and to Ottawa and Halifax, the Fredericton airport says on 7 April.

WestJet has also announced a planned expansion. That carrier intends to restore flights to several eastern Canadian cities in late June, meaning it would again serve all the cities it did prior to the pandemic.