Viking and PAL Aerospace Sign DHC-6 Twin Otter Aerial Firefighting System Contract

CALGARY, AB and ST. JOHN’S, NL, Aug. 3, 2021 /CNW/ – Viking Air Limited (“Viking”) and PAL Aerospace Canada are proud to announce the establishment of a contract to support the Twin Otter Fire Attack System. The agreement’s scope includes the design, manufacturing, installation, and certification of the Aerial Firefighting System for the Twin Otter DHC-6 300 and 400 aircraft. It is anticipated that the Aerial Firefighting System will be certified in 2022 and an international customer will receive the first converted aircraft.

The photo is a mock-up of the DHC-6 Twin Otter Firefighter aircraft featuring the air tanker configuration. (CNW Group/PAL Aerospace Ltd.)
The photo is a mock-up of the DHC-6 Twin Otter Firefighter aircraft featuring the air tanker configuration. (CNW Group/PAL Aerospace Ltd.)

This undertaking is a progressive effort between Viking and PAL Aerospace to build additional capabilities for the already versatile DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300 and 400 aircraft. The Aerial Firefighting System will allow the Twin Otter to transition effortlessly between global firefighting missions and its more traditional mission profiles, including transporting passengers and cargo.

The airtanker-configured Twin Otter aircraft will help mitigate and fight wildfires with the ability to drop up to 700 US gallons of water or retardant in challenging environments.

Phillip Garbutt, PAL Aerospace Senior Vice President of Global Support said, “PAL Aerospace is proud to partner with Viking on this exciting project that supports innovation, economic growth, and supply chains in Canada. As an established DHC-6 Twin Otter Operator, we know firsthand the capability and versatility of the aircraft and consider it a privilege to bring our comprehensive design, engineering and modification capabilities to bear in developing this new capability.”

“We are happy to work with PAL Aerospace to provide our operators the ability to utilize our DHC-6 Twin Otter for specialized aerial firefighting missions,” said Benjamin Carson, Director of Customer Support Operations, Viking. “As the OEM, we work to continuously enhance the aircraft we support, providing our customers with ongoing fleet sustainment activities and upgrades.”

About PAL Aerospace:

A member of the Exchange Income Corporation family of companies, PAL Aerospace is a Canadian-owned and operated international aerospace and defence company. With a focus on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, in-service support solutions and aircraft engineering and modification, PAL Aerospace is recognized by governments and militaries for on time/on budget delivery and high reliability rates. PAL’s record of accomplishment now extends to operations in Canada, the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. PAL Aerospace offers a single point of accountability for its programs and takes pride in being the trusted choice for clients worldwide.

For more information, visit www.palaerospace.com

About Viking Air Limited:

Celebrating over 50 years in the Canadian Aerospace industry, Viking is the manufacturer of the world-renowned Twin Otter Series 400 and Guardian 400 Twin-engine turboprop aircraft.  Viking is the Type Certificate holder for all out-of-production De Havilland Canada aircraft (DHC-1 through the DHC-7) and all Canadair amphibious aircraft, including CL-215, CL-215T and CL-415 aerial firefighter aircraft, and the Shorts Skyvan, 360, 330 and Sherpa family of aircraft.

As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for these iconic Canadian aircraft designs, Viking fully supports a diverse global operator base with exclusive factory spare parts manufacturing, in-service engineering & technical support, technical publications, warranty administration, and field service support.

For more information, visit www.vikingair.com

Flair Airlines touches down in Charlottetown, third new flight in a week

From CBC News – link to source story

‘We’re just happy to be talking about growth and recovery and people travelling for a change’

Wayne Thibodeau · CBC News · Posted: Aug 02, 2021

Flair Airlines touched down at the Charlottetown Airport for the first time Monday, with a new non-stop service to Toronto’s Pearson Airport. (Charlottetown Airport Authority)

Flair Airlines touched down at the Charlottetown Airport for the first time Monday, with a new non-stop service to Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

This is the third new flight, and the second new airline, for the Island’s airport in less than a week. 

WestJet, which has been operating in the capital city airport for 15 years, launched its first direct flight from Calgary to Charlottetown and Newfoundland-based PAL Airlines introduced a brand new service between Halifax and Charlottetown. 

Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Flair Airlines, was on the tarmac to welcome his airline’s first arrival on Prince Edward Island. 

Flair had hoped to launch its service to P.E.I. sooner but the pandemic put a hold on its expansion plans. 

“It’s been brutal for the whole industry and Flair is no exception, but we’re growing our way out of it,” said Jones.

“We’re really seeing a rebound in traffic at the moment.”

P.E.I. Tourism Minister Matthew Mackay, left, Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson, and Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Flair Airlines, were on the tarmac to welcome Flair’s flight into Prince Edward Island on Monday. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

Not only was it a new airline, but a brand new Boeing aircraft that landed on Monday. 

There were 174 passengers on the first flight into Charlottetown 

Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport, said the addition of Flair is another sign of recovery for the airline industry and for the Island’s beleaguered tourism industry.

Newson said he’s not surprised by the speed of the airline industry’s rebound.  

“We always knew … that there’s a lot of pent-up demand, a lot of visitors here that are coming to see their family and friends that haven’t been home for a couple of years in a lot of cases,” said Newson. “So we knew as soon as P.E.I. opened up for visitors outside of Atlantic Canada the airlines would come back and the flights would be busy.”    

‘It’s nowhere close to what we’re used to’

Newson said he believes next year could be a banner year for the airport and tourism on the Island. 

The first passengers get off a Flair Airlines flight at Charlottetown Airport on Monday. Flair will fly Toronto to Charlottetown Mondays and Fridays and Charlottetown to Toronto Mondays and Fridays. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

“We’re just happy to be talking about growth and recovery and people travelling for a change,” said Newson.   

P.E.I. Tourism Minister Matthew Mackay, who was also on hand for the initial Flair Airlines flight, said the new flights are huge for the tourism industry, which was devastated by the pandemic. He said the industry is slowly starting to recover.  

“It’s nowhere close to what we’re used to,” said MacKay, noting the province usually sees 1.6 million visitors annually. 

“We’re not there, but we’re certainly in good position here, we’ve got a lot of traffic, a lot of visitors coming in, a lot of accommodations are full and we’re really hoping for a big fall season as well.”    

Flair will fly Toronto to Charlottetown Mondays and Fridays and Charlottetown to Toronto Mondays and Fridays. 

Even with the new airlines, airport officials say the airport is only operating at about half of its summer capacity.  

‘We will fly where the demand is’

Jones said he expects his airline, which bills itself as Canada’s only independent low-fare airline, will have a long history in P.E.I.

“I hope it’s going to be year-round,” said Jones. 

“I mean we will fly where the demand is so we will grow our network to where people want to fly.” 

PAL Airlines launches service from Ottawa Airport to Canada’s east coast

From CTV News – link to source story

Josh Pringle, Digital Multi-Skilled Journalist | Saturday, July 31, 2021

Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport

The Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (David Kawai/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

OTTAWA — Ottawa travellers have a new option to travel to Canada’s east coast. 

PAL Airlines launched service out of the Ottawa International Airport this week, with service to Moncton and Fredericton, New Brunswick. Flights to both cities will continue on to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

PAL Airlines is a St. John’s based independent operator with roots in Canada’s east coast.

“Including YOW in their offering recognizes the importance of Canada’s capital region and its link to the east coast,” said Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

“We look forward to being a part of PAL’s extensive Atlantic Canada network and reconnecting family and friends from both regions.”

Ottawa-Moncton-St. John’s service will operate Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Ottawa-Fredericton-St. John’s service will operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Welcome to #YOW, PAL!

We sent @PALairlines’ inaugural departure off with a water salute!

We’re happy to have them on board, offering flights to @stjohnsairport @yfcairport @MonctonYQM, as we work towards the recovery of Canada’s aviation industry #FasterTogether.

Originally tweeted by flyyow (@FlyYOW) on 30 July 2021.

The Ottawa International Airport continues to ramp up service as the COVID-19 restrictions ease.

In August, Air Canada will offer 20 departures per day from the Ottawa Airport.

PAL Airlines Awarded Contract to Provide Aircraft Charter Services for Indigenous Services Canada

PAL Airlines was supported in its bid by the Exchange Income Corporation Family of Airlines

ST. JOHN’S, NL, July 8, 2021 /CNW/ – PAL Airlines and the Exchange Income Corporation (EIC) family of airlines is proud to be awarded a contract by the Government of Canada for the continued delivery of specialized air charter services on behalf of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). These carefully managed air charter services facilitate travel to First Nations fly-in communities across Canada, ensuring health care professionals and other personnel can continue the delivery of essential services and critical supplies to sensitive communities.

“PAL Airlines and the EIC family of Airlines welcome this contract award as a continuation of services we have been delivering on behalf of the Government of Canada since early in the pandemic,” said Calvin Ash, President of PAL Airlines. “Our organization has established and carefully managed a complex nationwide network of service providers focused on meeting ISC’s critical needs, facilitating vital health care and infrastructure support for communities across Canada. We’re excited to carry that work forward under this new contract.”

Operated with strict health and safety protocols in place, these charter flights allow health care professionals and other personnel to board aircraft at dedicated facilities and maintain quarantine during travel.

“We have been proud to build this service in partnership with ISC over the course of the last year. Since our founding, EIC has invested in building the most comprehensive, adaptable, and reliable regional network in Canada to ensure we’re able to continue our operations in even the most adverse circumstances. This award is a validation of our success in that respect,” said Mike Pyle, Chief Executive Officer of EIC. “Through our airline operations, EIC has become a part of the community fabric in the fly-in First Nations destinations we serve across Canada. As a result of that established presence, we understand first-hand the vital services ISC health care providers deliver every day. It’s been immensely gratifying for everyone at EIC to be able to leverage our expertise in support of ISC and the communities we serve during these challenging times, and we look forward to continuing this important work.”

About PAL Airlines:

A proud member of the Exchange Income Corporation family of airlines, PAL Airlines is based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and serves an extensive network of scheduled and charter destinations across Eastern Canada and Quebec. PAL Airlines has over 40 years experience in the aviation industry with a reputation built on safety, reliability, and exceptional customer service. PAL Airlines was recently awarded our seventh Airline Reliability Award from De Havilland Canada for the Dash 8-100/200/300 Aircraft Program.

For more information, please visit: www.palairlines.ca

About Exchange Income Corporation:

Exchange Income Corporation is a diversified acquisition-oriented company, focused in two sectors: aerospace & aviation services and equipment, and manufacturing. The Corporation uses a disciplined acquisition strategy to identify already profitable, well-established companies that have strong management teams, generate steady cash flow, operate in niche markets, and have opportunities for organic growth.

For more information, please visit www.exchangeincomecorp.ca

COVID-19: PAL Airlines lands for 1st time in Fredericton Monday as flights resume

From Global News – link to video and source story

By Nathalie Sturgeon  Global News

Posted June 28, 2021

Click to play video: 'New airline service out of Fredericton airport signals beginning of COVID-19 recovery'
WATCH: There was a sign of New Brunswick’s continued recovery from the pandemic at Fredericton International Airport on Monday morning. The first flight to Fredericton by Pal Airlines arrived to kick off its new service. Nathalie Sturgeon reports.

The Fredericton International Airport took one step toward the new normal as PAL Airline’s first flight landed on the tarmac Monday.

It was a flight from Newfoundland and Labrador provided by the new carrier and one of the first to fly in since the COVID-19 pandemic placed heavy restrictions on travel — both by land and air.

“We’re very excited for the launch of our Fredericton flight,” said PAL Airlines sales manager Stephen Short in an interview Monday. “The aircraft is en route with a full load on board of people excited to visit the Atlantic Bubble in New Brunswick.”

PAL Airlines, with headquarters in St. John’s, has been in the business for 40 years. He said the airline helped transport medical supplies and health care workers and felt less of an impact than other small airlines.

“We’re looking forward to future growth,” he said. “We’ll see where the skies take us.”

The demand for a direct flight from Newfoundland and Labrador has been high, the company added. Even more now as families look to reunite.

Johanne Gallant, the president and CEO of the Fredericton International Airport, said she couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she awaited the first PAL flight.

“I think like everybody else, it’s been difficult,” she said of the past 15 months. “It’s been very slow, and now we are seeing pick up into the travel industry.

“People want to go see friends and relatives and travel, and as the vaccination rollout is happening and our path to green, it’s really helping us get started again.”

WestJet announced last weekend it would resume flights, with Air Canada doing the same soon, Gallant said.

The flight operates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Short said. It will fly from Fredericton to Deer Lake and then to St. John’s.

PAL Airlines are also planning to launch flights from Fredericton to Ottawa and Fredericton to Halifax on July 30.

Mayor Kate Rogers was pleased to see the flight happened today. She took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony after the plane landed.

“On behalf of the City of Fredericton, I am excited to welcome PAL Airlines to our community and the newly renovated and expanded Fredericton International Airport,” she said.

Exchange Income Corporation’s (EIC) Air Operators Select StandardAero to Provide PW100, PT6A and JT15D Support Services Under Multi-Year Agreement

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – June 23, 2021 – StandardAero has been selected by a number of Exchange Income Corporation’s (EIC) air operators to provide support services for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100, PT6A and JT15D engines.  Under the multi-year agreement, StandardAero will provide responsive engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to the following EIC’s air operators:  Air Borealis, Calm Air International, Canlink Aviation (dba MFC Training), Keewatin Air, Perimeter Aviation, PAL Aerospace, PAL Airlines and Wasaya Airways.

This agreement extends a long-standing relationship between EIC’s air operators and StandardAero, which has supported certain of EIC’s air operators from its Canadian overhaul and service center locations for several decades.  Under the new agreement, StandardAero will support EIC’s air operators from its location in Summerside, PE, Canada, which is a OEM-authorized PW100 Designated Overhaul Facility (DOF), an OEM-authorized PT6A DOF with Distribution rights on certain engine models and an OEM-authorized JT15D DOF.  StandardAero will also provide additional support from its network of service centers. 

Commenting on the agreement for the EIC air operators, David White, Executive Vice President Aviation, said, “In our years of work together, EIC’s air operators have always appreciated StandardAero’s professionalism, reliability, attention to detail and understanding of our business.  We are pleased to continue our relationship with StandardAero moving forward.”

“StandardAero is delighted to have been chosen by EIC to support its family of Canadian air operators,” commented Lewis Prebble, President of Airlines and Fleets for StandardAero.  “We are truly honored to have been entrusted by EIC with the PW100, PT6A and JT15D MRO needs of its air operators, and look forward to continuing this close relationship through the provision of reliable, high quality and value for money services for many years to come.”

Exchange Income Corporation is a diversified acquisition-oriented company, focused in two sectors: aerospace & aviation services and equipment, and manufacturing.  The Corporation uses a disciplined acquisition strategy to identify already profitable, well-established companies that have strong management teams, generate steady cash flow, operate in niche markets and have opportunities for organic growth.  For more information on the Corporation, please visit http://www.ExchangeIncomeCorp.ca.

StandardAero is a Pratt & Whitney Canada authorized PW100 engine Designated Overhaul Facility (DOF), with overhaul facility locations in Summerside, PE, Canada and Gonesse, France, supported by five service center locations across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.  With more than 25 years of reliable turboprop MRO experience, the company provides engine support options and recommendations that are tailored to operators’ specific needs.  StandardAero’s service offering on the PW100 family also includes engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) services, as a CAMP Systems Designated Analysis Center (DAC).

StandardAero is also a Pratt & Whitney Canada authorized PT6A engine DOF with distribution rights on certain engine models.   The company supports the global PT6A operator community from four DOFs located in North America, Europe, Africa and Australasia, backed up by a global network of six service centers and over twenty dedicated mobile repair technicians.  With more than 25 years of reliable turboprop experience, StandardAero provides operators with a nose-to-tail suite of services, including repair schemes, re-engineering STCs, engine exchanges, rentals and Engine Condition Trend Monitoring (ECTM) analysis.

In addition, StandardAero is a Pratt & Whitney Canada authorized JT15D engine DOF, with an overhaul facility location in Summerside, PE, Canada, supported by three service center locations in Grapevine, TX, USA; Kennesaw, GA, USA; and Brisbane, QLD, Australia.  StandardAero’s JT15D service offerings include the VMAX pay-per-hour support program, which delivers peace of mind through a predictable, ‘no surprises’ engine maintenance expense guarantee.


StandardAero is one of the world’s largest independent providers of services including engine and airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul, engine component repair, engineering services, interior completions and paint applications.  StandardAero serves a diverse array of customers in business and general aviation, airline, military, helicopter, components and energy markets. StandardAero is owned by global investment firm The Carlyle Group. For more information about StandardAero, go to www.standardaero.com.

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.

UPDATED: Cape Breton debut of PAL Airlines may be facing another delay

From Saltwire – link to source story

Low booking reason for changing start date once more

Ian Nathanson · Updated: June 16, 2021

A PAL Airlines Dash 8-100 aircraft, the plane to be used when the carrier starts offering Sydney-Halifax flights. Service was expecting to start June 28, but now looks like it will launch the end of July. -- CONTRIBUTED
A PAL Airlines Dash 8-100 aircraft, the plane to be used when the carrier starts offering Sydney-Halifax flights. Service was expecting to start June 28, but now looks like it will launch the end of July. — CONTRIBUTED

SYDNEY, N.S. — The newest airline set to fly out of Sydney airport is expressing concern over the low number of bookings in place for its Sydney-Halifax route, and says it will be delaying its start date once again.

Janine Browne, PAL Airlines' director of business development and sales, says the airline has been watching Nova Scotia's plans to perhaps open up for domestic air travel. — CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
Janine Browne, PAL Airlines’ director of business development and sales, says the airline has been watching Nova Scotia’s plans to perhaps open up for domestic air travel. — CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

PAL Airlines announced during a presentation to Cape Breton Regional Municipality council that the June 28 scheduled launch of the airline at J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport will now be moved toward the end of July.

“It is a likely change — it has not been confirmed in our system just yet,” said Janine Browne, director of business development and sales for the St. John’s, N.L.-based airline. “We have not seen the bookings that we would like to have seen. We hope that that does change, and that bookings will pick up in the next month.”

Expanding outside the Newfoundland and Labrador area, PAL Airlines initially planned to launch at Sydney airport on May 31. Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases at the time and the ensuing “circuit-breaker” lockdown put into effect in Nova Scotia, that launch date was then pushed back to June 28.

With Nova Scotia just announcing its second phase of easing pandemic restrictions and its participation in the Atlantic bubble for June 23, Browne said she would like to see the Sydney-Halifax route “meet a demand that exists in the market, and that we’re able to launch a sustainable, long-term flight” for that route.

Browne told the Cape Breton Post that so far the date change appears to apply only to the Sydney-Halifax flight, “but we’re monitoring the demand in all the regions we’re deploying. It’s looking very strong in some regions, and it’s not in others.” 

BASED ON DEMAND

Sydney airport CEO Mike MacKinnon, who confirmed July 30 as PAL’s newest restart date, said the airline is taking these date adjustments seriously.

Mike MacKinnon - Contributed
Mike MacKinnon – Contributed

“Their business decisions are based on the demand out there,” he said. “And because of the uncertainty of the restrictions in our province, that has curtailed consumer demand up until this point.

“Now we, or the airline, might start to see bookings gather some steam with the news about the Atlantic bubble coming back and hopefully more good news will come in the conversations between the premiers to talk about reopening our region to the rest of Canada.”

PAL’s three-times-a-week departure schedule from Sydney and three-times-a-week arrival schedule from Halifax on alternate days will remain the same, Browne said.

Browne and PAL’s sales director Steve Short also told council of its pricing scale for the eventual launch: starting with an introductory price of $69 one-way — one of four different pricing levels offered.

More information is available at PAL Airlines’ website.

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.”