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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The return of Air Canada Fan Flight celebrates community leaders with a special tribute

Air Canada Fan Flight rewards deserving sports fans across the country with unique experiences

 As Canada’s national carrier, we take enormous pride in supporting the country’s teams, but also recognizing sports fans for making a difference in their communities. Join us in celebrating these Canadian community leaders!

Air Canada Fan Flight is celebrating deserving sports fans with one-of-a-kind experiences. While the global pandemic may have changed the Air Canada Fan Flight experience – which previously included Home Game experiences and Fly Aways to see Canadian NHL and NBA teams on the road – what hasn’t changed is Air Canada’s commitment to celebrating sports fans. That’s why Air Canada decided to keep the spirit of the program going this year, and reimagined Air Canada Fan Flight by surprising inspiring community leaders, who were selected through the Air Canada Foundation, with a personalized jersey and video message from their favourite Head Coach. Beyond that, these sports fans were also promised the opportunity to see their team live in action and travel with Air Canada at any time in the future, along with Aeroplan points to enhance their travel experience.

Tara, Toronto — Tara’s a die-hard hockey fan, a volunteer with MLSE LaunchPad’s Youth Council since its inception, and a strong and active voice for the local Black community. A truly deserving Air Canada Fan Flight recipient!

Zachary, Montreal

A young baker with heart, since the beginning of the pandemic, Zachary has used his great grandmother’s scone recipe to support local foodbanks through La Tablée des Chefs, baking over 1,500 scones, a dozen at a time. This Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for those hard-working shifts!

Link to video

Determined to amplify BIPOC voices in Toronto and beyond, Olu’s dedication as a Youth Mentor helps build relationships with the local community, and makes him a role model. Congrats for making your mark and being an Air Canada Fan Flight recipient!
Kevin, Calgary — As the Executive Director of HEROS Hockey, a charity that uses hockey to empower marginalized youth, Kevin has impacted hundreds of families in Calgary and beyond over the past 15 years. In recognition of his guidance, this Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for him!
Jasmine, Vancouver — Jasmine is a BC Children’s Hospital employee and mental health advocate who inspires friends and colleagues alike. In promoting mental health, we’re proud to celebrate Jasmine and her Air Canada Fan Flight surprise.
Dominick, Winnipeg — Dominick is a perfect example of combining passion for a sport with giving back to the community. He is an inspiration for his teammates and younger players by giving back old equipment to his hockey program. This Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for you Dominick!
Megan, Edmonton — A winner since day one, in two years with SUPER HEROS, Meghan has grown from a quiet player into a leader, taking her team through warm-ups and cool-downs, with her service dog Wilber by her side. Meghan is an Air Canada Fan Flight recipient and a true team player!

Waltzing Matilda to launch new airline, Connect Airlines, to serve Toronto Billy Bishop City Airport

IBS Software provides mission-critical SaaS solutions to support the airline’s commercial business and operations

BEDFORD, Mass., April 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) will be launching Connect Airlines, a new airline starting operations in October 2021, connecting Toronto Billy Bishop City Airport with airports in the Northeast and Midwest United States.

IBS Software to power Connect Airlines with its mission-critical SaaS solutions

Using the Canadian built Q400 turboprop aircraft, Connect Airlines will offer a premium service for day-tripping business travelers direct into Toronto’s downtown island Billy Bishop airport. Subject to regulatory approvals, the airline will provide a valuable alternative to business travelers as they start to fly between the United States and Canada again.

John Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of WMA, comments: “We are passionate about how aviation brings people, cultures and business together. Especially in these challenging times, we are committed to delivering the world’s most rewarding premium travel experience with safety, service, convenience and reliability.”

WMA chose IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, as its strategic launch partner. IBS Software’s SaaS model fully supports the needs of the start-up airline minimizing fixed costs.

Thomas continues: “The last year has shown that airlines need to be lean, agile and digital-first. Not only is this important as the industry recovers but passengers are demanding it. Travelers want a seamless digital experience which is why we partnered with IBS Software. We can manage the airline on a single integrated platform, meaning we can spend more time focusing on our customers, rather than IT headaches.”

Connect Airlines will be the launch airline for IBS Software’s “Airline-in-a-box” set of solutions, enabling them to manage the airline on a single integrated platform, with a simultaneous and seamless implementation and integrated sources of data. The solution includes:

  • iFly Res, a next generation, customer-centric passenger service solution; the first NDC natively compliant solution in the market, with advanced ancillary management capabilities,
  • iFlight Lite, an integrated end-to-end fleet and crew operations platform to enable the airline to run efficiently from the beginning,
  • iFlight MRO, a maintenance and engineering software solution that provides the foundation to implement best-in-class business process to control overall maintenance costs.
  • IBS Software will also build and host Connect’s website and mobile app, using the latest technology to support personalization and serve the needs of the connected business traveler

Jitendra Sindhwani, IBS Software, ‎President & Head, Aviation Business at IBS Software, comments: “Connect Airlines is bucking an industry-wide trend. This bold statement is testament to the growing confidence in the aviation industry recovery. Our integrated set of solutions will support Connect Airline’s commercial and operational business. This includes reservations, fleet and crew operations, maintenance, and their website and mobile application. We are able to provide all the technology to enable the airline to start flying. We are thrilled to welcome Connect Airlines to the IBS Software family and look forward to our long-term partnership with Waltzing Matilda Aviation.”

About Waltzing Matilda

WMA is a Boston based FAA Part 135 jet charter operator (Certificate number 6WZA614N) that has started the process to add FAA Part 121 scheduled and non-scheduled services to its Air Operators Certificate. WMA began private (Part 91) operations in June 2008 and has operated thousands of hours of safe and reliable flying with a focus on delivering superior customer service. WMA owns and operates both its own aircraft as well as managed aircraft. WMA brings together a group of aviation professionals, many of whom have been involved in jet charter operations in the Boston area for over 20 years. WMA is passionate about flying and dedicated to providing a high quality of service. WMA was co-founded by John Thomas. John has been actively involved in the aviation industry for the past 35 years, both as a senior operating executive as Group Executive at Virgin Australia Airlines and as a strategic advisor to the global aviation industry. He advised major airlines around the world as well as OEMs, Business & General Aviation, FBOs, airports, and ANSPs. In addition to actively managing WMA, John sits on the Board of Skyservice, the largest Corporate aviation service provider in Canada, as well as the Board of Icelandair Group, and continues to provide advisory services to the broader aviation industry including as Senior Advisor to Spike Aerospace Inc., ATM Consultants Group, and CAPA Centre for Aviation.

About IBS Software

IBS Software is a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, managing mission-critical operations for customers in the aviation, tour & cruise and hospitality industries. IBS Software’s solutions for the aviation industry cover fleet & crew operations, aircraft maintenance, passenger services, loyalty programs, staff travel and air-cargo management. IBS Software also runs a real time B2B and B2C distribution platform providing hotel room inventory, rates and availability to a global network of hospitality companies and channels. For the tour and cruise industry, IBS provides a comprehensive, customer-centric, digital platform that covers onshore, online and on-board solutions. IBS Software is a Blackstone portfolio company and operates from 15 offices across the world. Further information can be found at https://www.ibsplc.com/

PortsToronto Releases Request For Interest (RFI) to Identify Potential Financial Investor for Billy Bishop Airport

Investor would assume operation of the airport under lease; PortsToronto would remain signatory to the Tripartite Agreement and retain oversight and accountability

TORONTO, March 30, 2021 /CNW/ – PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport), an award-winning urban airport in the heart of Toronto, today released a Request For Interest (RFI) on MERX as part of a preliminary step to identify a financial investor for the airport. This initiative is exploratory and is intended to inform a comprehensive study of possible options available to PortsToronto to support the airport as a critical transportation asset.

The process initiated by the RFI endeavours to identify a financial investor that would be interested in operating the airport under lease, and is being undertaken in an effort to reduce PortsToronto’s overall debt position, restore and enhance liquidity; enable ongoing and future infrastructure investment; and ensure the airport’s long-term viability.

The RFI is also predicated on a desire by PortsToronto to identify a financial investor that would maintain the organization’s commitment to a managed-growth approach to the airport that ensures balance within the community, and executes upon the airport’s recent Master Plan that endeavours to make investments to make Billy Bishop Airport among the cleanest, greenest and quietest airports in the world.

“It is incumbent upon PortsToronto – as owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport – to explore options to manage risk and enhance liquidity in a manner that allows PortsToronto to fulfil its mandate, support Toronto’s economy, and ensure that the airport continues to serve as an asset,” said Robert Poirier, Chair, PortsToronto. “This RFI will inform a strategic evaluation of opportunities regarding the airport by effectively extending the existing and successful P3 structure we already have in place with several key concessions at the airport. Importantly, PortsToronto will remain the signatory to the Tripartite Agreement, with the City of Toronto and the federal government, and as such will retain oversight of the airport and maintain control over such areas as slots, safety and environmental sustainability.” 

Should PortsToronto choose to pursue this concept further, the process will progress to a Request for Proposal (RFP) later this year in consultation with the City of Toronto and the federal government including Transport Canada.

“The last year has had a profound impact on many businesses and has necessitated innovative approaches to overcome the challenges at present and in future. We believe that undertaking a process now that may provide options for PortsToronto to secure a financial investor will enable the airport to come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger,” said Geoffrey Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, PortsToronto.

“We are undertaking this preliminary step to identify options that, when combined with anticipated government support, will ensure a well-funded future for Billy Bishop Airport,” continued Wilson. “Billy Bishop Airport will have a vital role to play in the economic recovery of Toronto – including as a creator of jobs and a facilitator of trade and tourism – and this preliminary step will ideally identify the means necessary to ensure the airport can play a stronger role in Toronto’s re-emergence as a world-class city following this pandemic.”

About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport 
Prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Billy Bishop Airport offered service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks. Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards. Commercial service at the airport was temporarily suspended in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

About PortsToronto 
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government. 

Fewer flights could lead to higher airfares and a delayed economic recovery

From Halifax Today – link to story

15 October 2020 | By: Meghan Groff

Premier Stephen McNeil wants to see a national strategy for Canada’s air transportation industry a day ago

032320 - airplane - flight - AdobeStock_162309703(stock photo|)

Fewer WestJet flights will likely lead to more connections, far fewer options and higher airfares, according to an airport spokesperson.

Yesterday, WestJet announced a significant reduction in the number of flights to both Halifax and St. John’s, along with the indefinite suspension of all routes heading to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown.

In total, more than 100 flights a week to Atlantic Canada will be eliminated as of Nov. 2.

WestJet will still have 14 weekly flights between Halifax and Toronto, 11 weekly flights between Halifax and St. John’s and 9 weekly flights between Halifax and Calgary.

However, the airline won’t be providing service between Stanfield International and Sydney or Ottawa.

“That’s certainly reducing choice and options that are available to our community members,” said Halifax International Airport Authority spokesperson Tiffany Chase. “We’ve already seen a significant amount of capacity for air travel cut from our airport.”

Chase said it only has around 10 per cent of the passengers it had this time last year.

“It’s taken years for us to build important connections, not only to domestic destinations, but also those in the U.S. and European markets,” she added. “Unfortunately all of that has unraveled in a matter of months.”

“We know it will be very difficult, it could take years to get some of those services back, if ever.”

WestJet’s president and CEO, Ed Sims, said the airline would normally serve over 2 million passengers a month, however since the start of the pandemic, it has only flown 1 million people total.

In a statement posted to YouTube, he said more than 70 per cent of its fleet remains grounded.

On Tuesday, Porter Airlines — which grounded flights back on March 21 — once again pushed back its temporary service suspension to Dec. 15. 

Chase said Halifax’s airport essentially operates on a user-pay system and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to address the revenue gap that has been caused by COVID-19.

Earlier this year, around 25 per cent of airport staff were laid off and only under one-third of businesses that were operating in the facility remain open.

“Many businesses have had to close, have had to lay off employees,” said Chase. 

“A number of the airlines have also announced cuts to jobs, in fact across Canada in the aviation sector, we’re currently looking at about a 50 per cent job loss, and that’s a pretty staggering statistic.”

Atlantic Canadian premiers say urgent action from the federal government is needed to address cuts in air service.

“This is a big blow to the region,” said Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil. “We know that Air Canada also made the decision early on to make changes. WestJet is making those changes.

“This in many ways is how we move around this region, and at the same time, it’s how we go out into the world.”

He said a vibrant air service will be vital to our province’s recovery following the pandemic, as it’s essential for export opportunities, business travel and our tourism sector.

“We’ve all lived through those days when for the cost of a flight from Halifax to Sydney, Nova Scotia, we could travel halfway around the world on a cheaper air ticket,” he said at a Wednesday briefing. “We saw changes when we had that competitive environment.”

McNeil wants to see a national strategy for Canada’s air transportation industry.

“This is a national issue and it’s our view that we need to find a solution to this, because otherwise our climb out of the economic impact of COVID will be much greater than other parts of Canada,” our premier said.

“We need this service.”

Temperature screening for air travellers expanded to 11 additional Canadian airports

OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis that is having a significant impact on the air industry and Canadian travellers. As we continue to take steps to strengthen Canada’s air transportation network, the Government of Canada continues to implement a multi-layered framework of measures to protect Canadians, and help prevent air travel from being a source for the spread of the virus.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, has announced implementation of temperature screening for travellers at 11 additional Canadian airports. In June 2020, the Government of Canada announced a multi-phased approach to temperature screenings for all passengers travelling to Canada and travellers departing some Canadian airports, for either international or domestic destinations.

Temperature screening stations have been in place since July 30, 2020 at the four largest airports in Canada:  Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. This includes temperature screening for both departing passengers as well as non-passengers (e.g., airport workers, flight crews).  

Since September 23, 2020, temperature screening is being conducted at these additional Canadian airports: St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna and Victoria. In addition, all employees and personnel that enter or work in the restricted area of these airports are subject to temperature screening procedures by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority personnel.

More and more Canadians and travellers are understanding the importance of staying home when feeling ill, as well as following other important safety measures such as good hygiene practices and wearing face coverings or non-medical masks during their travel.

All passengers who have an elevated temperature and do not have a medical certificate to explain a medical or physical condition that would result in an elevated temperature, are not permitted to continue their travel and are asked to re-book after 14 days.

Quote

“As Minister of Transport, my highest priority is the safety and security of Canadians and the transportation system. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canadians have come together, made sacrifices, and done their part to help limit the spread of the virus. Our Government has expanded temperature screenings to major airports across the country to support these efforts and as another measure in our multi-layered approach to help protect the safety of the travelling public and air industry workers. The collective efforts of all Canadians have helped us during the pandemic, and will continue to do so as we move forward.”

Minister of Transport
The Honourable Marc Garneau

Quick Facts

  • Airport temperature screening has been endorsed by the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • For international flights to Canada, air operators must conduct temperature screenings at the point of departure, unless the local authority has an equivalent measure in place, in addition to the existing required health check questions for symptoms prior to boarding.
  • Within Canada, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screeners are conducting the temperature screening of passengers as part of departure screening procedures. This is in addition to the health screening questions and the requirement to wear face coverings that already exist for all passengers.

Associated Links

FLYGTA starting Toronto-Kingston flights in September

From the Kingstonist – link to story

  ~ Samantha Butler-Hassan

The eight-passenger King Air craft will begin operation between Toronto and Kingston four days per week in September. Photo by FLYGTA

The City of Kingston and Tourism Kingston announced today that a Toronto-based airline, FLYGTA, will begin offering flights to Kingston this September. FLYGTA’s service between Norman Rogers Airport and Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island starts on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.

“We are thrilled that our beautiful airport will welcome visitors,” said Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston.

According to Cameron Thomas, spokesperson for FLYGTA, the flights will operate four days per week, with two daily trips on Thursdays and Fridays, and four flights on Saturdays and Sundays. Thomas said fares will range from $39 to $99 to start, during a three-month promotional period. The airline will operate an eight-passenger, King Air craft.

The City is calling it the first step towards potential daily air service down the road. It also fills the gap left behind by Air Canada, which discontinued flights between Toronto and Kingston in June.

Tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic

According to Tourism Kingston, visitors flying into Kingston will be advised of local COVID-19 restrictions, and offered “specialized packages that combine return airfare with accommodations and regional attractions.”

“It is our mission to promote the local tourism industry, but the number one priority of every Canadian at this time is public health,” Knott said. “This is why the City and Tourism Kingston have worked closely with FLYGTA to ensure that every safety measure is in place so that when regional travellers arrive they know what will be expected of them while staying in Kingston.”

Kingston has been in Stage Three of provincial reopening since Friday, Jul 17, 2020, with relatively low local prevalence of COVID-19. The last five locally confirmed cases of COVID-19, dating back to Friday, Jul 24, were connected to travel outside of the area.

Meanwhile, the province seems to be experiencing a slight resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Ontario has reported over 100 cases per day for the past five days, after dipping as low as only 33 new cases on Tuesday, Aug. 11. The province added 148 new cases on Saturday, Aug. 29, the highest number since Friday, July 24, 2020.

Despite the pandemic, CEO of FLYGTA Group Chris Nowrouzi, said he feels this is the right time to introduce service.

“With most of the province in Stage Three and Ontarians looking for additional travel options, we remain dedicated to serving the needs of Kingston and the regional traveller,” he said. “We…hope together we can support the safe return of Canadian tourism.”

An interior view of the 8-seater King Air craft. Photo provided by FLYGTA.

Mayor welcomes ‘new opportunities for air travel’

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said he’s thrilled to welcome FLYGTA to Kingston. “This partnership will benefit our city’s economic recovery and provide our residents with a fast and convenient link to Toronto,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how the expansion of our airport is creating new opportunities for air travel to and from Kingston.”

Thomas said the airline’s plan to expand into Kingston predate Air Canada’s exit, and the pandemic.

“Kingston was a main market that we’ve been targeting for a while,” Thomas said. “It’s a great summer market. Lots of great tourism to the Thousand Islands, etc. It’s a short flight, plus you’ve got all the schools and students needing to come and go.”

FLYGTA will also provide Kingstonians with a direct link to the Porter Airlines flight terminal on Toronto Island, and its network of North American destination cities.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Announces Launch of Safe Travels Program

Safe Travels Program is an operational program and awareness campaign designed to help passengers, staff and partners travel through Billy Bishop Airport safely and with confidence.

TORONTO, Aug. 31, 2020 /CNW/ – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) today announced the launch of its Safe Travels Program, a comprehensive initiative developed in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic that includes operational measures and safety protocols that have been implemented to ensure a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and partners at Billy Bishop Airport.

Billy Bishop Airport has responded to the emergence of COVID-19 with a comprehensive health and safety program that is aligned with expert guidance and new industry best practices. Under the guidance of provincial and federal agencies such as Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, Billy Bishop Airport has worked closely with its partners to implement a number of enhancements, procedures and new infrastructure to provide a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and partners.

Porter Airlines and Air Canada temporarily suspended commercial airline service from Billy Bishop Airport in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Safe Travels Program has now been launched and will be in place when the airlines resume operations later this fall.

“The extraordinary impact of this crisis has required an equally extraordinary response on the part of the aviation industry to ensure that passengers feel confident travelling again. The Safe Travels Program encapsulates our commitment to delivering a safe experience for our passengers as well as those who work in the airport,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice-President, PortsToronto and Billy Bishop Airport. “Billy Bishop Airport is unique in many ways: its island location, its proximity to Toronto’s downtown core, its unmatched, scenic approach and award-winning passenger experience. It is also unique in that this crisis and the resulting temporary suspension of commercial airline service at Billy Bishop Airport has afforded our team the time to step back, observe and get this right. We look forward to welcoming our passengers back to an enhanced version of the Billy Bishop Airport experience they already know and love.”

While Billy Bishop Airport will continue to incorporate new procedures and innovations to ensure the airport can offer a safe and healthy travel environment, the measures currently in place include:

  • Requiring that face covering/masks be worn by all airport travellers and staff at the airport;
  • Requesting that only travellers with boarding passes and airport staff enter YTZ, with exceptions made for those requiring special assistance;
  • Designated ambassadors at key locations throughout the airport to facilitate passenger flow, communicate occupancy limits, and answer questions;
  • Occupancy limits implemented in close-proximity spaces such as elevators;
  • Implementing clear physical distancing and directional signage throughout the traveller journey to provide information and guidance;
  • Installation of Plexiglas and traffic-flow protocols at face-to-face interaction points;
  • Touchless processing of passenger belongings and documentation to the greatest degree possible;
  • All passenger touch points including counters and screening machines sanitized often;
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures across all high-touch areas and in public spaces, including Foggers and Electrostatic Sprayers equipped with an all-natural, environmentally safe product that eliminates 99.99% of viruses; and,
  • Providing additional hand sanitization stations throughout the airport.

The Safe Travels Program will complement programs in place with resident airlines Porter Airlines and Air Canada and is inclusive of all airport partners including Nieuport Aviation (terminal owners/operators); Stolport (parking) as well as government agencies including CATSA (screening and security) and CBSA (border protection).

Flying through YTZ soon? Click here to chart your path to safe travels.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Wins Airports Council International (North America) Environmental Achievement Award for Master Plan

Third time since 2017 Billy Bishop Airport Has Won Prestigious Environmental Achievement Award

TORONTO, Aug. 26, 2020 /CNW/ – PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, has won the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Environmental Achievement Award for Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources for the airport’s updated Master Plan. Fittingly entitled Cleaner, Greener, Quieter, the updated Billy Bishop Airport Master Plan demonstrates the significant results that the airport has achieved in sustainability since its 2012 Master Plan was released, and refines its vision to be a global leader in how a modern airport operates in an urban environment.

Established in 1997, the annual Airports Council International Environmental Achievement Awards recognize airports that strive to protect and preserve the environment through their programs, initiatives and projects. The updated Billy Bishop Airport Master Plan, which was released in November 2019, focuses on areas such as infrastructure requirements, activity forecasting, environmental initiatives and future planning, and was developed through a planning process that involved comprehensive public consultation and stakeholder engagement. Over a two-year period, more than 90 meetings were held with neighbourhood associations, agencies including First Nations leaders, elected officials, local businesses, airport stakeholders and community groups. The final plan details priorities for Billy Bishop Airport as well as outlining key recommendations to support the airport’s commitment to managed growth that balances airport operations with community interests.

“Environmental sustainability is a top priority for North American airports, and these award recipients are a testament to our members’ extraordinary commitment to protecting the environment and supporting their communities,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “By consistently challenging themselves to innovate and adopt sustainable practices, the 2020 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award recipients stand out as industry leaders. I’m proud of the work underway at airports and look forward to continued progress.”

“One of the key factors in realizing many of our environmental goals is our collaborative approach to community and stakeholder engagement, which, in the case of our updated Master Plan, involved going building to building in our community to hear first-hand about the challenges that exist today and how to mitigate these issues in the short- and long-term,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice President of PortsToronto and Billy Bishop Airport. “We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts to maintain thorough and transparent community and stakeholder outreach, to which we can attribute many of our positive results in sustainability thus far as well as the future strategic initiatives detailed in our Master Plan.”

This is the third time that Billy Bishop Airport has won an Airports Council International (ACI-NA) Environmental Achievement Award. In 2019, the airport won Best Innovative Project for the successful completion of its three-year Airfield Rehabilitation Program, which modernized the airfield with sustainable infrastructure that reduced energy usage by 75 per cent. Further, in 2017, the airport won the top award for its Noise Management Program. In addition, Billy Bishop Airport has won a series of passenger-driven awards, including being named one of the top airports globally and in North America in both the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality Awards and Skytrax World Airport Awards. Billy Bishop Airport has also been ranked as the fourth Best International Airport by Condé Nast Traveler and has ranked top ten on Private Fly’s list for Most Scenic Airport Approaches in the world for five consecutive years.

The 2018 Billy Bishop Airport Master Plan is available in English and French on the PortsToronto website, and on the project website: www.BillyBishopAirportMasterPlan2018.com. The project website also includes additional information such as a FAQ section that details questions and answers presented at the public meetings as well as presentations and resource material.