Air Canada Launches Two New Connections to Florida and More Frequent Flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic from Quebec City

  • New connections to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale starting in November 2021
  • The airline is resuming its international service to Punta Cana and Cancun with more frequent flights

MONTREAL, July 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada is pleased to announce two new winter services departing from Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB): Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, two very popular sun destinations in Florida, highly favoured by Quebecers. Flights to Fort Lauderdale will start on November 19 and flights to Orlando on December 17. Starting December 4, Air Canada will also be offering more flights to Punta Cana and Cancun.

“We’re excited to be launching these two new routes to Florida from Quebec City, a first for Air Canada. We know that, for many Quebecers, Florida is a popular place for winter vacations,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “Punta Cana and Cancun are also among the most popular tropical destinations, and we are happy to be able to bring back these connections. These routes will not only provide more diverse flight options for Quebec City residents but will also strengthen our foothold in a growing market and better serve the Jean Lesage International Airport, our long–time partner. Now that restrictions are easing, it’s time to start travelling again and book your escape to the sun. We can’t wait to see you back on board.”

“We’re delighted that Air Canada is resuming its international flights from Quebec City to destinations as popular as Cancun, Punta Cana, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale,” said Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). “Not only has Air Canada decided to bring back some pre-pandemic connections, but it has also chosen to invest in our market by increasing the frequency and adding two new destinations to the schedule for winter 2021. Now that we can finally travel again, it’s essential that the people in the Greater Quebec City area are able to depart from YQB. This announcement is the result of a fruitful and beneficial collaboration between Air Canada and YQB.”

Air Canada flights out of Quebec City will be operated by Rouge on Airbus A319 planes that can accommodate 136 passengers. Seats can be booked on aircanada.com or the Air Canada app, as well as through Air Canada service centres and travel agencies.

ConnectionFrequencyStart date
Quebec City–
Fort Lauderdale
Up to 4 x weeklyNovember 19
Quebec City–Orlando1 x weeklyDecember 17
Quebec City–Punta Cana2 x weeklyDecember 5
Quebec City–Cancun2 x weeklyDecember 4

Travel policy, for booking with complete confidence

Air Canada’s new refund policy will apply to all tickets purchased. The airline offers a full refund based on the original form of payment, an Air Canada travel voucher or the equivalent in Aeroplan points, plus an additional 65 per cent if the airline has to cancel a flight or change the schedule by more than three hours.

Are you travelling abroad? Check our COVID-19 hub or IATA’s Timatic website for the most recent government entry requirements. Passengers are responsible for making sure they meet all government entry requirements. In particular, they will need to have all required travel documents, visas and health certificates and comply with all other entry criteria that apply to the flights for which they have purchased tickets. Government requirements may change at short notice.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2019, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net-zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Government of Canada announces easing of border measures for fully vaccinated travellers

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

News release

International flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at five additional Canadian airports

July 19, 2021 | Ottawa | Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada is prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in Canada by taking a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening our borders. Thanks to the hard work of Canadians, rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, the Government of Canada is able to move forward with adjusted border measures.

On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.

As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.

Subject to limited exceptions, all travellers must use ArriveCAN (app or web portal) to submit their travel information. If they are eligible to enter Canada and meet specific criteria, fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

To further support these new measures, Transport Canada is expanding the scope of the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that currently directs scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian Airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

Effective August 9, 2021, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports:

  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
  • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
  • Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
  • Edmonton International Airport.

These airports, in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada, are working to implement the measures necessary to safely welcome international passengers as soon as possible after August 9, as conditions dictate.

All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.

This strategy allows the Government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness. Using these layers of protection, the Government of Canada can monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada, respond quickly to threats, and guide decisions on restricting international travel.

Finally, with the advent of increased vaccination rates in Canada, declining COVID-19 cases and reduced pressure on health care capacity, the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.

While Canada continues to trend in the right direction, the epidemiological situation and vaccination coverage is not the same around the world. The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada – international travel increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants, as well as of spreading it to others. Border measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves. As Canada looks to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S., the federal government will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated travel advice to Canadians.

Quotes

“Canadians’ safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures. A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“The health and safety of Canadians remains our top priority. Using a risk-based and measured approach to easing border measures will allow for non-essential international travellers who meet vaccination and other requirements to enter Canada. Working collaboratively with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, and others to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated and follow public health advice is enabling us to begin welcoming more travellers back to Canada. Our government will continue to work with Canadian and international partners to ensure the border reopening is done in a safe and responsible way.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

“The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a re-opening of the border to the world. We have been fully engaged with our American counterparts given the deep economic and family ties between our two countries. Today’s announcement is another big step in our approach to easing border measures which is guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts.”

The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of Canadians to getting vaccinated and following public health advice, we are seeing improvement in the public health situation in Canada. As a result, today we announced new steps in our re-opening approach, including that international flights carrying passengers will be allowed to land at five more Canadian airports.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport Canada

“Thanks to the incredible progress that Canadians have made in our fight against the pandemic, we are now able to take the next step in Canada’s gradual reopening of the border. We look forward to welcoming fully vaccinated Americans shortly, followed by travellers from the rest of the world in early September. Not only will this make a big difference for Canada’s travel and tourism industry and all those whose jobs depend on it, it will also make it easier for those with a Confirmation of Permanent Residence letter to come to Canada and play a role in our recovery from the pandemic.”

The Honourable Marco Mendicino
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

“The easing of Canada’s border measures is welcome news for tourism businesses across the country, the thousands of Canadians employed by the sector and the communities who rely on it. It has been a challenging year as we balance the need to protect both the health of Canadians and our economy but tourism businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience. Our government has been proud to be by their side since the beginning of this crisis and we will continue to be there as they prepare to begin to welcome vaccinated travellers from around the world to our beautiful shores.”

The Honourable Melanie Joly
Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Quick Facts

  • To be eligible to enter Canada for discretionary travel on the basis of vaccination status, travellers must use the ArriveCAN app or web portal. Travellers must ensure that mandatory requirements are met prior to departing for Canada. In addition, some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place. Check and follow both the federal and any provincial or territorial restrictions and requirements before travelling.
  • In addition to receiving a full series of a vaccine authorized by the Government of Canada, fully vaccinated travellers must also: provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN (app or web portal) including proof of vaccination prior to arrival in Canada; meet the pre-entry testing requirements; be asymptomatic upon arrival; and have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation) ready to show a government official on request as evidence.
  • A person who submits false information on vaccination status could be liable to a fine of up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment or both, under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery. Violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to a $5,000 fine for each day of non-compliance or for each offence committed, or more serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. Non-compliant air travellers may also be subject to fines of up to $5,000 for each offence committed under the Aeronautics Act.
  • Based on public health advice, Transport Canada has extended the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricts all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India for an additional 30 days (i.e. until August 21, 2021, at 23:59 EDT). All direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India are subject to the NOTAM. Cargo-only operations, medical transfers or military flights are not included. Transport Canada has also extended the requirement related to third-country pre-departure COVID-19 tests for travellers to Canada from India via an indirect route. This means that passengers who depart India to Canada via an indirect route will continue to be required to obtain a COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country other than India before continuing their journey to Canada.

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Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8

U.S. flights start on Sept. 17

TORONTO, July 5, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines is officially returning to the skies on Sept. 8, nearly 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

The flight schedule is returning in phases, with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, Thunder Bay and Toronto. U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington follow on Sept. 17.

U.S. flights start on September 17 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
U.S. flights start on September 17 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

“This is the moment our team members, passengers and the communities we serve have been waiting for,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “The pandemic has progressed to the point that we can now begin restoring service across our network, focused around our main base at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Being grounded for more than a year has been incredibly difficult for everyone involved. In true Porter fashion, our team members have displayed remarkable levels of commitment, engagement and optimism over this uncertain period of time, despite the vast majority being unable to work. While deciding to suspend our service was the most difficult business decision we’ve made, announcing a restart of flights is the first step in a recovery process that includes recalling hundreds of team members and welcoming back passengers. We are looking forward to once again delivering Porter’s unique style of service.”

Approximately 500 team members will be recalled to active status as the first phase of flights are introduced. More staff will be added in subsequent months as flights and destinations return to the schedule.

The initial flight schedule is as follows:

Canadian Routes*Peak daily roundtripsService start date
Ottawa – Toronto6 flightsSept. 8
Montreal – Toronto6 flightsSept. 8
Thunder Bay – Toronto3 flightsSept. 8
Ottawa – Halifax2 flightsSept. 13
Montreal – Halifax1 flightSept. 13
Quebec City – Toronto1 flightSept. 13
Halifax – St. John’s1 flightSept. 17
Moncton – Ottawa1 flightSept. 17
U.S. Routes*
New York (Newark) – Toronto6 fightsSept. 17
Boston – Toronto3 flightsSept. 17
Chicago (Midway) – Toronto2 flightsSept. 17
Washington (Dulles) – Toronto1 flightSept. 17
* All Toronto routes operate at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Schedules vary by day of week.

Flights to other year-round destinations normally operated by Porter are currently available for booking and set to resume as of Oct. 6. Service is returning based on anticipated passenger demand, with frequency and markets increasing over time.

To provide flexibility and give travellers peace of mind when purchasing for future travel, Porter is making all fares purchased by July 20, for travel through December 15, 2021, fully refundable, with no fees. This also applies to Porter Escapes vacation packages.

In preparation for its resumption of service, Porter is introducing a comprehensive program to protect the health of its passengers and team members. Healthy Flights strengthens existing standards focusing on high levels of sanitization.

“Our safety team developed Healthy Flights as more than a checklist of rules and procedures,” said Deluce. “They carefully considered how to provide a safe experience for our passengers and team members, while being true to our distinct brand and approach to service.”

Detailed information about Healthy Flights is available online.

About Porter Airlines
Porter Airlines has revolutionized short-haul flying with a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline®in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L. Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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

Air Canada Supports Economic Recovery as the Country’s Leading Carrier, Serving 50 Cities Across Canada to Enable Canadians to Conveniently Connect

  • Most extensive domestic schedule supports Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector
  • Includes three new routes, re-established routes plus Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class cabins on select transcontinental routes
  • New refund policy gives additional peace of mind

MONTREAL, June 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada’s domestic peak summer schedule beginning at the end of June has been developed to advance the country’s economic recovery and support Canada’s tourism and hospitality businesses during the important summer period.  Three new domestic Canada routes, service to 50 Canadian airports, the re-establishment of select regional routes, and wide-body aircraft featuring Air Canada Signature Class and Premium Economy Class on select transcontinental routes are included. Seats with attractive pricing in all cabins are available for purchase now at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

“We are especially proud that our new state-of-the-art, Canadian-manufactured Airbus A220 aircraft will be operating across Canada. With our industry-leading CleanCare+ bio-safety protocols, promotional fares including for our premium cabins, compelling Aeroplan opportunities, and our new refund policy offering additional peace of mind, customers can book Air Canada with confidence.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard when you’re ready to fly,” concluded Mr. Galardo.

Air Canada’s new refund policy provides customers an option for a refund to the original form of payment in instances where Air Canada cancels their flight or reschedules the departure time by more than three hours, irrespective of the reason. Air Canada customers will also have the option of accepting an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.  Normal fare rules will apply when customers make voluntary changes to non-affected flights.

New route details:

RouteFrequencyAircraftEffective
Montreal-Deer LakeDailyCRJ900Jul 1, 2021
Montreal-Kelowna3x Weekly July4x Weekly AugAirbus A220June 26, 2021
Montreal-Saskatoon-ReginaDailyCRJ900Aug 1, 2021

Resumption of services:

Airport StationRouteEffectiveFrequency
Gander Gander – HalifaxJun 293x Weekly
 Gander – TorontoJul 25x Weekly
St. John’s St. John’s – TorontoJun 19Daily
Goose Bay Goose Bay – St. John’sJun 293x Weekly
Deer Lake Deer Lake – HalifaxAug 15x Weekly
Halifax Halifax – CalgaryAug 15x Weekly
Sydney Sydney – TorontoJun 263x Weekly
 Sydney – MontrealAug 1Daily
Charlottetown Charlottetown – TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Saint John Saint John – MontrealJun 303x Weekly
 Saint John – TorontoJul 24x Weekly
Fredericton Fredericton – MontrealJun 29Daily
 Fredericton – TorontoJul 15x Weekly
Bathurst Bathurst – MontrealJun 273x Weekly
Quebec City Quebec City – TorontoJun 191x Daily
Ottawa Ottawa – CalgaryJul 2Daily
 Ottawa – EdmontonAug 12x Weekly
North Bay North Bay – TorontoJun 283x Weekly
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray – TorontoJuly 12x Weekly
Winnipeg Winnipeg – CalgaryJun 206x weekly
 Winnipeg – MontrealAug 1Daily
Regina Regina – CalgaryJul 15x Weekly
Saskatoon Saskatoon – CalgaryJul 25x Weekly
Kamloops Kamloops – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
 Kamloops – CalgaryJun 284x Weekly
Comox Comox – VancouverJun 303x Weekly
Nanaimo Nanaimo – TorontoJul 41x Weekly
 Nanaimo – CalgaryJul 25x weekly
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert – VancouverJun 253x Weekly
Penticton Penticton – VancouverJun 294x Weekly
Sandspit Sandspit – VancouverJun 233x Weekly
Victoria Montreal – VictoriaJun 193x Weekly
 Toronto – VictoriaJun 194x Weekly
 Calgary – VictoriaJun 214x Weekly
Castlegar Castlegar – VancouverJun 283x Weekly
Kelowna Kelowna TorontoJun 184x Weekly
Yellowknife Yellowknife – CalgaryJun 303x Weekly

Air Canada is also providing connectivity to five additional regional communities through interline agreements with third party regional carriers: Wabush, Baie Comeau, Gaspe, Mont Joli, and Val d’Or.

Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2020 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

YQB reveals its 2020 financial results – Remaining steady through the storm

QUÉBEC CITY, April 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – The airline industry is certainly one of the most vulnerable, and the financial results released by Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) today do reflect the harsh consequences of the pandemic. However, they also reflect the hard work of its teams and their determination to transform the pandemic into a lever for growth and repositioning.

Despite reducing its fixed costs by one third, YQB will have absorbed losses of $26.7 million in 2020; it estimates that those losses will amount to some $100 million by the time it returns to profitability. In terms of passenger traffic, the reality proved even more brutal than the worst-case forecast. YQB ended 2020 with a total of 535,111 passengers, compared to 1,789,005 in 2019. What’s more, the airport authority predicts that passenger levels will actually hit rock bottom in 2021, when barely 100,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport’s doors. Based on forecasts by industry experts, traffic at YQB likely won’t return to 2019 levels for at least five years.

“This pandemic has clearly affected every area of our business. The airport has needed to tighten its belt and make difficult decisions. It’s true that we have little control over our industry’s trajectory as we emerge from the global pandemic. However, we were—and are—in the best position to think about how we can emerge from this ordeal stronger than ever, equipped with levers to generate growth,” stated Lise Lapierre, outgoing Chair of YQB’s Board of Directors.

Bouncing forward
Last December, YQB unveiled a plan to revive airport operations and diversify its activities and revenues while strengthening its role as a driver of regional economic development. This plan, which is based on five key projects, has the potential to strengthen and improve the economy of not just the Québec City area, but all of northern and eastern Québec. The five key projects involve:

  1. Optimizing the catchment area
  2. Consolidating regional air services
  3. Setting up an intermodal logistics platform
  4. Developing an airport industrial park
  5. Opening an American Customs pre-clearance centre

“The air transportation industry is probably one of the hardest hit by the current crisis. We were the first to be grounded and will likely be the last to take off again. In the meantime, we are working tirelessly to prepare for recovery so that our airport can quickly regain the momentum that was so abruptly brought to a halt. Until we know when recovery will be possible, we will be actively working on the how,” added President and CEO Stéphane Poirier.

During the airport’s annual general meeting (AGM), the Board of Directors nominated former Vice-Chair André Boulanger as the new Chair. Mr. Boulanger has been a director since 2019. He is replacing Ms. Lapierre, the first woman to hold the position, as she has completed the last of the three terms permitted by the governance rules. YQB would like to sincerely thank Ms. Lapierre for her unwavering dedication and attention to detail.

“Over the past year, our organization has been doing everything in its power to turn challenges into opportunities. We rolled up our sleeves in 2020 to ensure we had a successful recovery plan for our region, and the coming months will be critical to ensure that the plan is funded and comes to fruition. We will need to continue relying on teamwork and the region’s driving forces to support a sustainable recovery,” concluded Mr. Boulanger.

Highlights

  • 70% decrease in passenger traffic in 2020 (535,111 passengers compared to 1,789,005 passengers in 2019)
  • Barely 100,000 passengers expected at YQB in 2021
  • At least five years needed to reach 2019 passenger traffic levels
  • 59.7% decrease in revenues in 2020, resulting in a $26.7M deficit
  • Losses expected to reach $100M before profitability is restored

About Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
YQB is managed by Aéroport de Québec Inc., a non-profit, non-share capital corporation responsible for the airport’s management, operation, maintenance, and development since November 1, 2000. Around a dozen carriers offer flights from YQB to destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe, and daily flights to the main hubs in eastern North America.

WestJet to restore regional routes suspended due to COVID-19

Flights set to resume to airports across Atlantic Canada and Quebec City as part of the airline’s commitment to a safe restart  

CALGARY, AB, March 24, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced it will restore flights to the communities of Charlottetown, Fredericton, Moncton, Sydney and Quebec City after service was suspended as a result of COVID-19. The reinstatement of service will restore WestJet’s complete network of pre-COVID-19 domestic airports.

“We committed to return to the communities we left, as a result of the pandemic, and we will be restoring flights to these regions in the coming months, of our own volition,” said Ed Sims, WestJet, President and CEO. “These communities have been a crucial factor in our success over our 25 years and it is critical for us to ensure they have access to affordable air service and domestic connectivity to drive their economic recovery.” 

Service is set to resume to the five airports WestJet suspended service from in November, beginning June 24, 2021 through to June 30, 2021. In addition, service between St. John’s and Toronto, which was indefinitely suspended in October, will resume effective June 24, 2021. Following a temporary suspension, the restart of service between St. John’s and Halifax will be advanced from June 24, 2021 to May 6, 2021. Full schedule details and restart dates are outlined below. 

“Our focus remains on the safe restart of air travel. We ask that federal and provincial governments work with us to provide clarity and certainty to Canadians, including travel policies that support economic recovery and restore jobs,” continued Sims.  

Recognizing the investments that WestJet’s travel and tourism partners in the regions need to make to begin to recover from the pandemic, the airline will continue to encourage the Atlantic premiers to advance their efforts to ensure the region is open to Canadians this summer. 

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, we are hopeful that there will be an easing of onerous travel restrictions currently in place,” said Sims. “We look forward to working together to safely reconnect Canadians to the region in the coming months.”  

Planned Network Service Resumptions: 

Route Frequency Planned restart date 
St. John’s-Halifax 6x weekly May 6, 2021 
Charlottetown-Toronto 11x weekly June 24, 2021 
St. John’s-Toronto 1x daily June 24, 2021 
Fredericton-Toronto 1x daily June 26, 2021 
Quebec City-Toronto 1x dailyJune 28, 2021 
Sydney-Halifax 1x daily June 28, 2021 
Moncton-Toronto 1x daily June 30, 2021 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic. 

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium. 

Air Canada Outlines Route Cuts: Many Caribbean, Hawaii and Europe Flights Suspended

From TravelPulse Canada – link to source story

JIM BYERS  JANUARY 14, 2021

Spotlight on Paris
Paris

The pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions are forcing Air Canada to suspend some of their most popular flights, at least temporarily.

In a memo sent to TravelPulse Canada, Canada’s largest airline outlined the details of the 25% capacity reduction they mentioned in a Wednesday statement. The list contains 44 temporarily suspended flights, including 12 domestic, 10 trans-border (USA) and a full 22 international routes.

Popular flights that are being temporarily discontinued include Toronto-Quebec City, Montreal-Orlando, Toronto-Tampa, Vancouver-Puerto Vallarta, Montreal-Barbados, Calgary-Maui, Toronto-Paris and Toronto-Saint Lucia.

It’s a blow to Air Canada workers and to Canadians, as well as tourism workers in the Caribbean and around the world. It’s also a difficult pill to swallow for beleaguered travel agents, who now have a lot fewer destinations they can sell. But airline officials say they’ve been left with no choice.

Effective Jan 23, this is a list of the stations closed and routes suspended until further notice:

Additional airport stations closed in Canada:

  • Fredericton NB
  • Gander NL
  • Goose Bay NL
  • Yellowknife NWT
  • Kamloops BC
  • Prince Rupert BC

Additional domestic routes suspended

  • Fredericton–Montreal
  • Gander–Halifax
  • Goose Bay–Halifax
  • Kamloops-Vancouver
  • Ottawa-Calgary
  • Ottawa-Vancouver
  • Prince Rupert-Vancouver
  • Quebec City-Toronto
  • St. John’s-Toronto
  • Victoria-Calgary
  • Winnipeg-Calgary
  • Yellowknife-Edmonton

Transborder routes suspended

  • Calgary to: Maui
  • Montreal to: Denver, Houston, Orlando
  • Toronto to: Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Washington (Dulles)
  • Vancouver to: Honolulu (until April), Maui (until mid-February)

International flights suspended

  • Montreal to: Barbados, Casablanca, Cozumel, Samana, San Jose (Costa Rica), Santa Clara, Turks & Caicos, Nassau, Sao Paulo, Puerto Vallarta
  • Toronto to: Cozumel, Curacao, Ixtapa, Los Cabos, Paris, Saint Lucia, Santa Clara, St. Vincent, Zurich
  • Vancouver to: Los Cabos, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta

Air Canada on Wednesday said it will have to reduce capacity by 25% and lay off 1,700 workers due to a lack of demand.

Since the implementation by the Federal and Provincial Governments of these increased travel restrictions and other measures, in addition to the existing quarantine requirements, we have seen an immediate impact to our close-in bookings and have made the difficult but necessary decision to further adjust our schedule and rationalize our transborder, Caribbean and domestic routes to better reflect expected demand and to reduce cash burn. We regret the impact these difficult decisions will have on our employees who have worked very hard during the pandemic looking after our customers, as well as on the affected communities,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

WestJet last week reduced capacity by 30% per cent and announced layoffs and furloughs for 1,000 workers.

YQB presents a recovery plan with benefits for all of Quebec

QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 2, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Determined to turn the pandemic into an opportunity for growth and reorientation, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) is proud to present a recovery plan that will further its role as a driver of regional economic development, diversify its sources of revenue, and be part of the government’s recovery efforts.

The resilient organization has developed a five-pronged plan that will generate significant economic benefits, strengthening and improving the economy of not just the Québec City area, but all of Northern and Eastern Quebec.

1.  Optimization of the catchment area 
YQB’s catchment area—the geographical region where potential passengers are located—needs to be optimized. Before the pandemic, YQB was “losing” 1.3 million passengers to other airports, creating a need to generate traffic on departing flights to show the commercial potential of routes through the airport. YQB intends to realize its full potential through a number of measures: revising parking fees, paying incentives to travel agencies, launching initiatives to add a local touch to the terminal, and releasing a promotional campaign once the health crisis is over.

2.  Consolidation of regional air services
As part of the provincial Ministry of Transport’s task force on regional air transportation, YQB showed that using the airport as a hub for an optimized regional network would be economically viable. Moreover, YQB needs to be able to count on that traffic to expand its international routes. Finally, Québec City has the infrastructure and equipment needed to host this type of regional network.

3.  Creation of an intermodal logistics centre 
Building an intermodal airfreight centre at YQB itself would allow goods to be transported by air or truck, then transshipped. This trend of diversifying activities and sources of revenue is widespread among airport companies. More than ever, the financial contributions of airfreight have become essential to the viability of commercial routes. Estimated cost: $25M

4.  Development of an airport park
YQB is seeking to develop 1.2 million square metres of land in the heart of the provincial capital. This is a key element of the recovery plan, especially since the industrial parks in the Capitale-Nationale region are 97% full. Over the next 10 to 15 years, dozens of businesses could come to the YQB park, helping the region prosper. This project would involve three phases and an investment of some $70M.

5.  Opening of an United States pre-clearance centre
YQB’s pre-clearance centre is another key part of the recovery plan. Although it is not a short-term priority, this centre is still essential considering that opening up to international markets remains a major challenge for the attractiveness of the Capitale-Nationale area. In the meantime, YQB is aiming to start discussing funding possibilities with the different levels of government now. Project cost: $75M

Like all airports across the country, YQB was hit hard by COVID-19. Its momentum was brought to a halt as its flight volumes evaporated and its operating revenues plummeted by 88%. Based on forecasts by industry experts, YQB estimates that traffic won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

That said, YQB’s health measures, which have been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, recently received the Airport Health Accreditation global seal of excellence from Airports Council International. Learn more

Quote (translated from French):

“This recovery plan includes investments that will help us not just get through this global crisis, but come out stronger, equipped with levers to generate growth, reduce our vulnerability, and strengthen and develop the entire region. That said, while this plan is promising, we cannot afford to go it alone. This plan will not see the light of day without the financial support of the provincial and federal governments and the support of the City and all of the stakeholders in our area. This needs to be a project for the whole region, supported by its business community and its leaders.”

Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO

COVID-infected flights fall sharply across Canada

From Toronto Sun – link to source story

Bryan Passifiume  •  Nov 23, 2020

Pearson International airport was practically vacant at Terminal 1  except for a few international flyers  on Thursday April 2, 2020. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
Toronto Pearson International Airport on April 2, 2020. PHOTO BY JACK BOLAND /Toronto Sun

Only five international and six domestic flights with passengers infected with COVID-19 landed at Canadian airports last week.

That’s compared to 44 international and 60 domestic flights recorded the week previous, according to publicly available data from Health Canada.

Five of the six domestic flights occurred on Nov. 16 — Swoop 406 between Toronto and Abbotsford, PAL Airlines 1902 between Quebec City and Sept-Iles, Jazz 8280 between Vancouver and Prince Rupert, Air Canada 341 between Ottawa and Vancouver, and Air Canada 209 between Calgary and Vancouver.

The sixth flight was Air Canada 428 from Toronto to Montreal on Nov. 17.

Internationally, only two infected flights originated from the United States,  both from Chicago — United 4552 to Toronto on Nov. 16 and Air Canada 7596 to Montreal on Nov. 17

Other international flights include Air Canada 989 from Cancun to Montreal and Rouge 1994 from Mexico City to Toronto — both on Nov. 17 — and Turkish Airlines 17 from Istanbul to Toronto on Nov. 18, the only non-North American flight to carry COVID-positive passengers.

Calgary, home to the federal government’s pilot program testing international arrivals for COVID-19, recorded no infected passengers over the past week, down from two the week previous.

Turkish Airlines has carried the most COVID-19 infected passengers of any international carrier over the past two weeks — seven to Toronto and one to Montreal.

Health Canada only posts data online from the past two weeks, and does not list how many passengers on board tested positive, only — when available — listing ranges of row numbers of where the person may have sat.

Data on infections comes from a variety of sources, states Health Canada, including contact tracing and information from local public health authorities.

Thirty-six infected domestic and international flights landed in Toronto since Nov. 8, the highest in Canada, while 24 landed at Vancouver, 19 at Montreal and six at Calgary.

Since March, only four Canadian airports — Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver — are permitted to accept international flights, with some exceptions.