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.

Government of Canada launches new aircraft to improve conservation and protection of our oceans

February 19, 2021

St. John’s, NL – Fishery officers require state-of-the-art aerial surveillance equipment to continue the important work they conduct protecting Canada’s marine resources, ensuring compliance with fisheries management measures and enforcing the Fisheries Act from coast to coast to coast.

In 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a five-year, $128 million contract with PAL Aerospace-located in St. John’s, to deliver a new fleet of four aerial surveillance aircrafts, including two long-range maritime patrol aircrafts. When operational, the planes will fly out of three bases of operation: St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and a brand new facility in Campbell River, British Columbia.

Today, the first of our long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. The Dash-8 aircraft will allow our fishery officers to expand their range of operations, providing them with essential tools to combat illegal fishing and enhance Canada’s maritime security.

This new fleet of aerial surveillance aircraft will also be a crucial tool for the enforcement of measures put in place by the Government of Canada to protect our endangered whales. This includes monitoring the Gulf of St. Lawrence for compliance to fisheries management measures for North Atlantic right whales, as well as monitoring critical habitat areas for Southern Resident killer whales.

Dash-8
Photo credit: PAL Aerospace The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational.

Quotes

“Canada’s fishery officers perform a crucial service, helping to conserve and protect our country’s marine and coastal areas. Our Government, along with PAL Aerospace, a Canadian-owned world leader in its field, are proud to equip our fishery officers with the resources they need to carry out their enforcement duties as effectively as possible. When we invest in environmental protections, we’re investing in our future.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“PAL Aerospace is privileged to work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in introducing their new long-range surveillance aircraft in Canada. Since the beginning of PAL’s working relationship with DFO, we have always respected their commitment to delivering the best possible value for Canadian taxpayers through responsible program management and by supporting the development of valuable intellectual property/industrial capacity here in Canada. These new aircraft extend this proud tradition and enhance DFO’s enforcement and conservation leadership.”

Jake Trainor, Chief Executive Officer for the PAL Group of Companies

“PAL gets the people of the Province to where they need to go. But they do a lot more – and today they’re protecting our coastlines and endangered whales.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • PAL Aerospace, an international aerospace and defence company based in St. John’s. PAL is a global leader in airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, with over four decades of experience in both civilian and military aviation environments.
  • The contract includes two King Air 200 and two Dash-8-100 maritime patrol aircraft, and three bases of operation: St. John’s, NL; Halifax, NS; and Campbell River, BC.
    • The new base of operations in Campbell River, BC became operational in September 2020.
    • The King Air aircraft—one based in Halifax, NS and another based in St. John’s, NL—became operational in September 2020.
  • Fishery officers flew over 700 hours in 2020 patrolling the Gulf of St. Lawrence to enforce fishery management measures designed to protect North Atlantic right whales.
  • The long-range aircraft and new base of operation in BC will also help fishery officers better patrol marine protected areas (MPAs) across Canada, including remote MPAs Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam and Tarium Niryutait in the Beaufort Sea.

Associated links

Airport looks to expand after PAL airlines pullout delivers a ‘major blow’

From CBC News – link to source story

Decision to stop direct flights from Charlo to Wabush, N.L., a setback for northern New Brunswick workers

CBC News · Dec 29, 2020

Charlo Airport Authority said PAL Airlines’ decision to stop flying direct from Charlo to Wabush, N.L., and discontinue all commercial flight services is a major setback. The last direct PAL flight left Charlo on Tuesday. (CBC News file photo)

The last PAL airline flight left Charlo Airport in northern New Brunswick on Tuesday, dealing a “major blow” to the airport and to workers who relied on a convenient direct route to jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

St. John’s-based PAL Airlines had been flying two flights a week out of Charlo Airport since 2013.

Earlier this month, on Dec. 10, PAL notified the Charlo Airport Authority that it was withdrawing those flights, with the last commercial flight between Charlo and Wabush on Dec. 29. PAL flights to Wabush, in western Labrador, will now leave from the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport.

The Charlo Airport Authority responded later with a statement that the decision was a significant setback, both for residents who depended on the airline and for the airport itself. All commercial flight services offered by PAL Airlines were also discontinued.

“This is a major blow to the Charlo’s airport given that, despite the pandemic, the airport has seen an increase in air movements compared to 2019,” the authority said.  

On Tuesday, the day the last flight departed, Charlo Mayor Denis McIntyre said the announcement was “sad new for us.”

Many northern New Brunswick workers in the construction and mining industry depended on PAL’s regular flights to get to jobs in Newfoundland and back home again, McIntyre said. The airport is a drive of about 77 kilometres northwest from Bathurst and about 32 kilometres east from Campbellton. 

“A lot of workers from Restigouche, Bathurst and other areas came to Charlo to fly out,” McIntyre said in an interview Tuesday night. “Now they have to travel two to three hours to get to the [Moncton] airport, and the flight times there don’t always line up for them.”

McIntyre acknowledged it’s “been a tough year” for all airports because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I hope things will change with the vaccine coming out,” he said. “I hope they’ll come back to Charlo.”

Brad Mann, who sits on Charlo Airport’s board of directors, said the airport is looking ahead and hoping to expand more flights from other airlines in the wake of PAL’s decision to pull out. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada file photo)

Charlo Airport saw growth in 2020

Brad Mann, who sits on the Restigouche Regional Service Commission and on Charlo Airport’s board of directors, said the airport is looking forward and hoping to expand more flights for some of the other companies.

“We’ve got four different companies that are talking to us,” Mann said in an interview with CBC News on Tuesday. “Of course, I wouldn’t reveal names or sources … but we’re quite confident that we’ll be fine.”

Mann said that although the airport has dealt with PAL for years, it was no secret this has been a tough year for airlines, and “I never like to put our eggs all in one basket.”

“That’s why we expanded out and entertained some other airlines coming in. You never like to lose any business, but it’s two flights a week and over the last year they’ve been down 63 per cent on their flights. So it’s good that we reached out and we have some other business as right up to today.”

Charlo Airport is one of the few in Atlantic Canada that experienced growth in 2020, with traffic up six per cent year-to-date, Mann said.

Asked how the airport has managed this in the midst of a pandemic, Mann cited several factors, including an “exceptional staff,” an ability to service many plane sizes, “one of the better runways” and a good location.

“The best way in and out of northern New Brunswick is with Charlo. We’re right next to the Quebec border, which seems to be a big, big plus for us with that location,” he said. 

Still, he conceded, the PAL pullout has upset many northern New Brunswickers.

“There are a lot of workers working in Wabush and a lot of them are from our area,” Mann said. “They have made it known that they’re not happy with PAL’s decision. So they’ll be reaching out to other airlines.”  

With files from Radio-Canada

Moncton airport gets 2 new routes to Newfoundland and Labrador

From CBC News – link to source story

While Air Canada indefinitely halts routes in Atlantic Canada, St. John’s-based PAL airlines expands

Hadeel Ibrahim · CBC News · Posted: Dec 11, 2020

PAL Airlines has added two new routes from Moncton to different parts of Newfounland and Labrador. (PAL Airlines)

St. John’s-based PAL airlines is adding new routes from Moncton to two different areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As of the first week of January, the airline will begin flying from Moncton to Deer Lake and from Moncton to Wabush in Labrador.

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales at PAL airlines, said the airline has been lucky to be able to operate domestically without having to rely on transport or international travel, both of which were pummeled by COVID-19 travel restrictions

“We have been able to … continue offering essential air services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritimes and Quebec,” she said. “So we’re really excited to be able to beef up that service.”

Browne said the added routes were planned months before Air Canada’s decision, announced this week, to indefinitely suspend flights to many places in Atlantic Canada, including Saint John and Fredericton, as of January 11. 

Moncton was chosen because of its central location and proximity to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and parts of Quebec, she said. 

PAL Airlines chose to connect to New Brunswick through Moncton because of its central location and proximity to other Atlantic provinces and Quebec. (Photo: Shane Magee/CBC News)

Browne said the new flights will be especially useful when and if the agreement to waive self-isolation requirements to travellers within the four Atlantic provinces is reinstated.

The so-called Atlantic bubble, which made it easier to travel within New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, was dissolved in late November when COVID-19 cases started rising.

“We certainly are planning for the bubble to be open come this winter,” she said, noting that even if it isn’t, “there are essential [workers] who do need to move.”

Julie Pondant, spokesperson for the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, said PAL started service in Moncton in September of this year with a flight to St. John’s, N.L. It’s the only flight to that Atlantic province from New Brunswick.

“They’re seeing the potential in our markets to be able to to get more growth,” Pondant said. 

The announcement is good news in what’s been a tough year for air travel industries, she said.

“The aviation industry has been hard hit. And when we see something positive like this happen, we certainly hope that it’s a sign of better times to come.”

Connections to Wabush and Deer Lake will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and connections directly to Deer Lake will be on Sundays, Pondant said, calling it “good news” in what has been a tough year for air travel industries.

“The aviation industry has been hard hit. And when we see something positive like this happen, we certainly hope that it’s a sign of better times to come,” she said.

PAL Airlines Announces Enhanced Winter Schedule for Atlantic Canada and Quebec

ST. JOHN’S, NL, Dec. 11, 2020 /CNW/ – PAL Airlines is proud to announce our enhanced winter schedule for Atlantic Canada and Quebec, designed to meet market demand with new capacity, solidify our new fleet of Q400 aircraft in regular commercial service and enhance connectivity across our network.

“PAL Airlines continues to manage our way forward based on a strategy of staying close to our customers and connected to the communities we serve,” said Calvin Ash, President of PAL Airlines. “We’re confident the growth we’ve announced today responsibly matches our capacity to market demand while allowing us to continue meeting the needs of our customers and expanding our network in the near future.”

PAL Airlines continues to maintain an extensive presence throughout Atlantic Canada and Quebec with scheduled passenger and cargo services to a variety of destinations. Today’s updated schedule specifically introduces two new routes, Moncton – Deer Lake and Moncton – Wabush, that allow for easy expansion as seasonal demand increases.  These additions also solidify PAL Airlines’ presence in Moncton ahead of the initiation of our previously announced Moncton – Ottawa service, intended to start as travel restrictions in Atlantic Canada are progressively reduced.

PAL Airlines has also increased frequencies across our Quebec market offering additional services throughout the region and enhancing connectivity between our Montréal and Wabush hubs. As our new schedule is introduced, PAL Airlines will monitor events in the market and continue working with industry partners and customers to enhance scheduled services and meet community requirements.

“PAL Airlines’ success has always been built on quickly adapting our services in line with the needs of our customers,” said Mr. Ash. “Our ability to implement the schedule enhancements announced today is a direct reflection of our collaboration with community partners in Atlantic Canada and Quebec and of our long-standing commitment to service in those regional markets.”