All Airbus: Air Canada Rouge Goes Full Narrowbody

From Simply Flying – link to source story – Thanks CW

by James Pearson | September 20, 2021

Air Canada Rouge, the lower-cost subsidiary and leisure airline of the Canadian flag carrier, took to the skies again in September. With the B767-300ER gone, its 39-strong fleet is now exclusively Airbus. They’re used on 60 routes until the end of the year as it rebuilds its network.

C-FJOK_Air_Canada_Rouge_Airbus_A321-211
The A321 is crucial to Air Canada Rouge, with this example delivered directly to the carrier in 2015. Photo: Liam Allport via Flickr.

Air Canada Rouge has resumed flying

Air Canada Rouge relaunched with an initial three routes from Toronto: Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, in the distant province of Saskatchewan. These were joined by Toronto to Cancun and Tampa a few days later, with all five routes using 200-seat A321ceos.

These were its first flights since February, with the seven-month grounding due to Canada’s non-essential travel ban and the suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico – two of its essential markets – at the request of the Canadian government. Rouge’s resumption coincided with Canada reopening its borders on September 7th to fully vaccinated foreigners.

Air Canada Rouge A321
Most international routes are by the A321 with stronger economics than the A319/A320. Remember, it is a lower-cost airline, i.e. about the cost of production rather than fares. Photo: Air Canada.

Now exclusively Airbus

Rouge’s fleet is now entirely narrowbody, ch-aviation.com shows, with 20 A319s, 14 A321s, and just five A320s. This follows the retirement of its B767-300ERs, of which it had 25 at one point.

Its 767s were, of course, mainly used long-haul, including across Europe and South America, and the type’s routes had an average of 2,378 miles, OAG indicates. At 5,063 miles, Toronto-Athens was its longest-ever 767 route, but Toronto to Las Vegas had the most flights.

Air Canada Rouge A319
Air Canada Rouge has 20 A319s, with an average age of 23.5 years. Photo: Air Canada.

Currently, five aircraft are active

According to Planespotters.net and confirmed by Flightradar24, only five of its 39-strong fleet – some 13% – is currently active, all A321s. Its A321 fleet has an average age of just 6.1 years, far younger than its A319s (23.5 years; to be retired) and A320s (14.2 years). The younger A321s were delivered directly to Air Canada Rouge.

No widebodies go hand-in-hand with Rouge previously saying that it’ll concentrate on routes within narrowbody range. Air Canada will instead operate suitably good-performing long-haul routes – many have already switched – in a rejigging of networks and focusing on relative strengths.

One of many examples is Toronto to Edinburgh, which was by Rouge’s 767s and from 2022 will instead be by its parent’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s from June 1st. It’ll compete directly with WestJet. Another: Toronto to Bogota, in Rouge’s hands from 2016, is now by Air Canada’s B787s and A330-300s.

Air Canada Rouge
Air Canada Rouge had up to 25 B767-300ERs. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

What’s the plan to the end of the year?

Between September 20th and December 31st, Rouge has scheduled 60 routes. Thirty-nine of these are to/from Toronto, with most of the rest from Montreal. With over 2,700 outbound flights planned, the domestic market has almost four in ten departures, comprising eight routes from Toronto.

Air Canada Rouge's network Sept 1st to Dec 31st
This is Air Canada Rouge’s network between September 20th and December 31st. Image: OAG Mapper.

Toronto to Québec City has the most flights

Some 13 international countries will welcome Rouge’s flights, with the US the most-served, followed by Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. Toronto to Miami has the most international flights, as shown below, although the 456-mile domestic link from Toronto to Québec City (YQB) is the most-served, with 28 weekly departures from November.

  1. Toronto-Québec City
  2. Toronto-Moncton
  3. Toronto-Thunder Bay
  4. Toronto-Miami
  5. Toronto-Las Vegas
  6. Toronto-Tampa
  7. Toronto-Fort Myers
  8. Toronto-Fredericton
  9. Montreal-Orlando
  10. Montreal-Miami

Condor’s flights to Canada take off…..

From Air101 – link to source story

19 September 2021

Following the lifting of restrictions at the Canadian border, the german leisure airline Condor has started flights to Toronto.  Leaving from Frankfurt airport, German tourists now have a new way to connect to the wider province of Ontario after a month-long pause. The airline has also reintroduced connections to Halifax in Nova Scotia, another great gateway to other Canadian cities and regions.

Condor flies from Frankfurt three times a week to Toronto and twice a week to Halifax.  “Our guests have had to wait a long time to be able to travel across the big pond to North America again. Now Canada has invited all North America fans who are fully immunized to join them again and we are pleased to offer five connections per week from Frankfurt to Canada,” said Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor.

“We are very pleased that Condor is offering attractive destinations in Canada again as of today after a long break. The relaunched weekly connections to Halifax and the metropolis of Toronto are not only a positive signal for Frankfurt Airport and the entire region, they also underline Condor’s important role at Germany’s central air traffic hub. This is a tradition for us, as Condor has been connecting Frankfurt with destinations around the globe for more than 60 years. We wish Condor “Always Happy Landings” at Frankfurt Airport on its new routes” said “Dr Pierre Dominique Prümm, Executive Board Member Aviation and Infrastructure, Fraport AG”

Toronto and Halifax are ideal starting points for round trips to experience the famous Indian Summer. From there, guests can also reach ten other destinations in Canada with Condor partner WestJet. The best time to travel for the colourful natural spectacle is September and October.

Air Transat’s Manchester flights to resume earlier than planned

From TravelWeek – link to source story

Air Transat’s Manchester flights to resume earlier than planned

Date: Sep 14 2021

By: Travelweek Group

MONTREAL — Air Transat is resuming operations to Manchester, England earlier than originally planned in anticipation of significant passenger demand for the United Kingdom.

Following eased travel restrictions in the U.K., with Canada now on its green list of approved countries, the airline will start offering direct flights to Manchester from Toronto on Oct. 19.

Air Transat is also resuming direct flights between London Gatwick and Toronto on Sept. 15 after months of inactivity. Flights will initially operate three times weekly between the two hubs and will gradually increase over the coming months.

Direct flights from Glasgow to Toronto are also scheduled to resume on Dec. 16.

Air Transat previously announced that it will fly to nearly 50 destinations as part of its winter 2021/2022 flight program. It previously celebrated its return to the skies on July 30, following a six-month pause in operations due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Summer travel surge has WestJet and Air Canada asking for volunteer help

From CBC News – link to source story

Passenger traffic has reached its highest point since pandemic began

Kyle Bakx · CBC News · September 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has ground an unprecedented number of flights in Canada and around the world. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

A surge in summer travel across the country has forced Canada’s two biggest airlines to ask staff to help volunteer at airports to overcome staffing challenges — a move that is creating pushback from unions.

In an email to all employees, WestJet described how the rapid growth in passenger numbers is causing operational problems at several airports, including its flagship airport in Calgary.

The “growing pains of recovery requires all-hands-on-deck,” read the message, which included an open call for any staff members to sign up to volunteer to help guests requiring wheelchair assistance at the Calgary International Airport.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has needed extra personnel at Toronto’s Pearson airport since “airport partners are stretched beyond their capacity, which led to significant flight cancellations and missed connections,” read an internal memo.

In late August and early September, air passenger traffic reached its highest point since the pandemic began. The increase in business is critical to the aviation industry, which was devastated early on in the crisis as many countries restricted international travel.

The industry is not immune to the staffing challenges faced by many sectors as lockdowns started to lift; airlines continue to cope with changing government restrictions, while also following a variety of COVID-19 protocols at domestic and international airports.

In the U.S., American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also asked staff to volunteer at airports this summer.

At Toronto’s Pearson, the international arrival process can take up to three hours, as passengers are screened by Canada Border Services Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada agents, collect bags and possibly take a COVID-19 test.

“As the technology for sharing and displaying vaccine documents improves, passengers become more comfortable with the new process and vaccine-driven changes in border protections take effect, we hope to see further improvement in wait-time conditions in the terminals,” a Pearson spokesperson said in an email statement, which highlighted other steps to reduce delays.https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/mrCsu/1/

Union objections

But several unions have advised their members to avoid volunteering for a variety of reasons.

CUPE, which represents flight attendants at WestJet, declined to comment. However, in a letter, it told members that “the company is imploring you to provide free, volunteer and zero-cost labour. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.”

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents WestJet’s pilots, also declined to comment. But in a message to members, it highlighted how “if you are injured doing this work, you may not be covered by our disability insurer.”

Unifor, which represents customer service agents at both of Canada’s major airlines, said its members were upset about the call for volunteers and the union wasn’t happy that there wasn’t any advanced warning or conversation.

“Take a group of workers that is already very stressed by the kind of operation that’s going on, the quantity of passengers, the amount of extra processes that are in place because of COVID in order to travel — and then adding these pieces on is not helpful,” said Leslie Dias, Unifor’s director of airlines.

During the pandemic, WestJet decided to outsource the work of guest-service agents, who would help passengers that require wheelchairs, assist with check-in kiosks and co-ordinate lineups.

But the contractor is struggling to provide enough workers, said Dias, and that’s why there was a call for volunteers.

After flying more than 700 flights daily in 2019, WestJet flew as few as 30 some days during the pandemic. Currently, there are more than 400 flights each day.

“WestJet, as is the case across Canada and across many industries, faces continued issues due to labour hiring challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said spokesperson Morgan Bell in an emailed statement.

“As WestJet looks ahead to recovery, we continue to work toward actively recalling and hiring company-wide, with the current expectation we will reach 9,000 fully trained WestJetters by the end of the year, which is more than twice as many WestJetters as we had at our lowest point in the pandemic some five months ago,” she said.

Air Canada said it only asked salaried management to help volunteer at Pearson airport. 

Unifor said the airline was short of workers because the company didn’t have enough training capacity to accommodate recalled employees and couldn’t arrange restricted-area passes on time.

Thousands of airline workers lost their jobs, were furloughed or faced wage reductions last year, although the carriers are bringing back workers as travel activity increases.

Officials at Toronto’s Pearson airport say they are trying to reduce delays and wait times by bringing back the international-to-domestic connection process, which helps some arriving international passengers that are connecting onward in Canada to complete the customs process faster and go directly to their next flight. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Returning staff

At WestJet, its customer service agents have been recalled, according to Unifor. Many employees in other positions, though, remain out of work, including about 500 furloughed pilots.

Air Canada said it has been continually recalling employees since last spring, including more than 5,000 in July and August.

Asking for volunteers is an “unusual” occurrence in the industry, said Rick Erickson, an independent airline analyst based in Calgary. But he said it’s not surprising since cutting a workforce is much easier than building it back up.

Airlines have to retrain staff, secure valid certification and security passes, and find new hires as well.

Erickson said he even spotted WestJet CEO Ed Sims helping at the check-in counter in Calgary in recent weeks, as passenger activity was at its peak so far this year.

“This has been the most challenging time, honestly, in civil aviation history; we’ve never, ever seen anything approaching 90 per cent of your revenues drying up,” said Erickson, noting that airlines still have to watch their finances closely.

WestJet CEO Ed Sims is shown at the airline’s headquarters in Calgary. He’s been helping at the check-in counter at the Calgary airport in recent weeks. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Asking employees to volunteer isn’t illegal, but it does raise some questions, said Sarah Coderre, a labour lawyer with Bow River Law LLP in Calgary. 

“Whether or not it’s fair, and the sort of position it puts the employees in, if they choose not to volunteer, that would be concerning for me from a legal standpoint,” said Coderre.

Air Canada is currently operating at about 35 to 40 per cent of its 2019 flying capacity, but said one bright spot on the horizon is bookings for winter getaways toward the end of this year and the beginning of 2022.

“When looking to the sun leisure markets, we are very optimistic about our recovery,” a spokesperson said by email. “We are currently observing demand growth that is above 2019 levels.”

Swoop Heats Up Winter Schedule with Addition of Los Cabos

Ultra-low cost carrier brings back non-stop service to the Baja Peninsula from Edmonton and announces new direct route from Toronto       

CALGARY, AB, Sept. 15, 2021 /CNW/ -Today, Swoop announced the addition of non-stop service to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) to its winter schedule from both Edmonton and Toronto, bringing more choice to Canadians looking to travel south of the border at an affordable price. Swoop’s non-stop service will operate twice weekly from Toronto and once weekly from Edmonton.  

“We are thrilled to expand our winter schedule just in time for our travellers in Toronto and Edmonton to book that long-awaited vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial & Finance, Swoop. “With non-stop flights available for as low as $139.00 †  one-way, we are pleased to be offering even more affordable travel options to Canadians, while strengthening our position as Canada’s ultra-low cost carrier with the most flights to popular sun destinations.”

Los Cabos joins Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán as the fourth Mexican destination available for booking this winter, all at Swoop’s always available ultra-low fares. With demand for international travel and all-inclusive Getaway packages returning, today’s announcement signals another strong sign of recovery for the airline as it gears up for further growth through the addition of its tenth aircraft, expected to enter service this winter.

Details of Swoop’s Winter Service to Los Cabos

RoutePlanned Start DatePeak Weekly FrequencyTotal one-way price (CAD)Base fare (CAD)Taxes and Fees (CAD)
Edmonton – Los CabosNovember 20, 20211x Weekly$139 † CAD $43.10$95.90
 Los Cabos – EdmontonNovember 20, 20211x Weekly$139 † CAD $64.83 $74.17
Toronto – Los CabosDecember 4, 20212x Weekly$139 † CAD $40.70$98.30
Los Cabos – TorontoDecember 4, 20212x Weekly$139 † CAD $64.83$74.17
†Special introductory fares are limited quantity. Book by Sep 22, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET) or while seats last, for travel between November 20, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Blackout dates between December 16, 2021 and January 6, 2022, March 11, 2022 – April 4, 2022.

“Thank you Swoop for supporting the return of international flights to EIA. We’re thrilled to add another sunny location to our growing list of non-stop destinations. Health and safety continue to be our top priorities for our passengers as they access the world, non-stop from EIA.”

– Myron Keehn, Vice-President, Air Service and Business Development, EIA

“Los Cabos International Airport has been one of the most resilient airports in Mexico. As the recovery continues, we are glad to welcome Swoop with their brand-new route, Toronto, and the return of Edmonton”, said Raúl Revuelta Musalem, CEO of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico. “Just in July, we experienced a 25% rate of growth in the international segment compared with 2019, and we are confident that Swoop will be a key player to keep Cabos in the international spotlight.”

To learn more about Swoop visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity has safely carried more than 3 million travellers in three years of operation. Flyswoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

Sunwing announces its return to Cuba – a perennial favourite among Canadians – with flights from gateways across the country

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amid easing entry requirements and soaring vaccination rates in Cuba, along with competitive pricing for pre-departure PCR tests at $30 USD per person, Sunwing is pleased to announce that it will be offering weekly flights to the Canadian favourite destinations of Varadero and Cayo Coco. Flight service will be available from several gateways across Canada starting in October and November, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. As winter progresses, more Canadian departure gateways and popular Cuban destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand.

“We’re thrilled to be helping our customers head back to the sunny shores of Cuba this fall under our wing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “Cuba has been an integral part of our operations ever since our inaugural flight took off from Toronto to Varadero in 2005. Our Cuba program has continued to grow since then, and has been one of our most popular destinations over the past decade. The resort towns of Varadero and Cayo Coco both offer serene beach locations and secluded tourist areas for a relaxing retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.”

The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Toronto and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 9, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 16, 2021
  • Between Calgary and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021
  • Between Edmonton and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021

With its pristine beaches, warm weather and a wide variety of resorts for every travel style, it’s no wonder that Canadian sun-seekers return to Cuba year after year. Grand Memories Varadero is a popular choice with fun-filled activities and a sprawling beach that’s perfect for soaking up the sun and building sandcastles. Vacationers headed to Cayo Coco may choose to stay at Iberostar Selection Playa Pilar, with oceanfront suites and the area’s only water playground; or Memories Flamenco Beach Resort, offering a range of water sports like snorkelling and catamaran rides.

Plus, all vacation packages booked by October 15, 2021 for departures between now and October 31, 2021 will include complimentary COVID-19 coverage at no additional charge.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Swoop Announces New Non-Stop Service between Toronto and Kingston, Jamaica

Ultra-low cost carrier celebrates expansion of service in Jamaica with fares as low as $129 CAD all-in

TORONTO, Sept. 10, 2021 /CNW/ – Swoop today announced new non-stop service between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Kingston Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in Jamaica. As part of the airline’s winter schedule, the new service will operate twice weekly, beginning December 8, 2021. To celebrate today’s announcement, Swoop is offering a limited quantity of introductory one-way fares between Kingston and Toronto starting from just $129† CAD all-in.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our presence in Jamaica with the introduction of service to Kingston to connect friends and families this holiday season and year ahead,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial & Finance, Swoop. “Our travellers have embraced our always affordable flights to Jamaica and we look forward to building on our success in the region with our new non-stop service connecting Toronto and Kingston.”

The ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) is also set to resume service between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Montego Bay Sangster International Airport (MBJ) tomorrow at 7:00 am EST.  Swoop’s return to Montego Bay marks the beginning of the airline’s restoration of its international network, with flights to the U.S. and Mexico set to resume through the fall.

“The return of Swoop to MBJ is a welcome one and we are elated at Swoop’s commitment to ensure that passengers from our second largest market, Canada, and specifically the province of Ontario, have a low-cost option when visiting Jamaica to see family and friends or those who wish to vacation on our beautiful island,” said Shane Munroe, CEO of MBJ Airports Ltd. “We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our citizens and visitors in keeping with our mission of providing a “Safety-Assured” environment welcoming travellers safely to our island of Jamaica.”

Details of Swoop Service to Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica

RoutePlanned Start
Date
Peak
Weekly
Frequency
Total one-way
price (CAD)
Base fare
(CAD)
Taxes and
fees
(CAD)
NEW Toronto (YYZ) – Kingston (KIN)December 8, 20212x weekly$129 CAD$13.44$115.56
NEW Kingston (KIN) – Toronto (YYZ)December 8, 20212x weekly$129 † CAD$6.36$122.64
Toronto (YYZ) – Montego Bay (MBJ)September 11, 20213x weekly$129† CAD$13.44$115.56
Montego Bay (MBJ) – Toronto (YYZ)September 11, 20213x weekly$129 † CAD$30.94$98.06

†Special introductory fares are limited quantity. Book by Sep 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET) or while seats last, for travel between October 2, 2021 and January 18, 2022. Blackout dates between December 11, 2021 and January 6, 2022.

To learn more about Swoop please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

Additional Quotes

“The Jamaica Tourist Board is thrilled to see Swoop returning to the destination with the resumption of its Montego Bay flight this month, in addition to the exciting launch of the airline’s new Kingston service this December,” said Angella Bennett, Regional Director, Canada, Jamaica Tourist Board. “Swoop is an important airline partner for us in the Ontario market and we truly value their continued support and confidence in the destination. Whether you’re looking for sun and sand or a cultural city escape, Jamaica is ready to welcome customers for a safe and seamless getaway this fall and winter season.”

“We’re excited to support the introduction of this new route as well as Swoop’s resumption of flights to Montego Bay,” said Janik Reigate, Director, Strategic Customer Relationships, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “Swoop passengers will find Toronto Pearson has many measures in place to protect their health and safety throughout the airport, such as improved air quality, low and no-touch check-in and bag drop and contactless shopping and dining options.”  

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity has safely carried more than 3 million travellers in three years of operation. Flyswoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.  

Expect longer wait times at Pearson Airport, passengers told due to border change on Tuesday

From CBC News – link to source story

On Sept. 7, Canada will welcome fully vaccinated foreign travellers who meet entry conditions

Muriel Draaisma · CBC News · Posted: Sep 05, 2021

Travellers arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Feb. 22, 2021. As of Tuesday, Canada will welcome fully vaccinated foreign travellers who meet entry requirements. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is warning passengers that they should expect longer wait times as of Tuesday when Canada opens its borders to fully vaccinated foreign travellers who meet entry conditions.

International travellers will be allowed to enter Canada without having to quarantine for 14 days, starting on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. ET. They will be allowed into the country for non-essential reasons and that includes tourism. Most non-essential foreign travellers have been barred from entering Canada since the start of the pandemic. 

Travellers, however, must have proof that they have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before arrival, be asymptomatic and have taken a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test. They must also be willing to take a COVID-19 test if selected.

In a statement this week, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) said it is anticipating greater numbers of international travellers arriving at Pearson starting on Tuesday due to the border change. 

“We do expect to see an increase in international travellers as a result of this change, and we’ll continue working with our agency partners and airlines to best manage the flow of passengers,” the GTAA said.

The GTAA noted that international travellers arriving at Pearson should prepare for the arrivals process to take one to three hours or longer due to new COVID-19 screening measures. 

The process involves clearing the Canada Border Services Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada screening, collecting bags and possible COVID-19 testing if a traveller is required to be tested.

“At this time, the extended passenger wait times are something that is created by necessary conditions in the airport such as reducing crowding where possible, which requires more holding, and enhanced screening in customs, which protects our borders and adds time to every passenger’s journey,” the GTAA said. 

Number of passengers largest since pandemic began

The GTAA said an increase in COVID-19 public health measures, along with a greater number of passengers, has led to delays and the holding of passengers on planes and in waiting areas within terminals.

“These delays, when they occur, primarily occur during peak international arrival periods that begin as early as midday and run until late evening. We are working closely with airport partners to maintain a safe and efficient operation,” the GTAA said. 

In a statement on its website on Sunday, Pearson Airport reminded passengers that the “airport experience” is different now than it was before the pandemic. 

“For departing domestic passengers, we ask that you arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes in advance of your flight. For departing international passengers, please arrive at least 3 hours in advance. The arrivals process for international travellers could take three hours or longer depending on your specific set of circumstances,” the airport said.

Beverly MacDonald, spokesperson for the GTAA, said in an email on Sunday that the average weekly passenger volumes at Pearson appear to be the largest that it has seen since the pandemic started.

“Government agencies at Toronto Pearson are working to process passengers as safely and efficiently as possible,” she added. 

With files from Sophia Harris

‘It’s pure barry!’ WestJet introduces new flights to Scotland from Toronto

Airline adds Toronto to Edinburgh to its international network and new non-stop service between Glasgow and Toronto

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 31, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced new service between Toronto and Scotland with the addition of non-stop flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow beginning in Spring 2022. Adding to the airline’s international destination map, service between Edinburgh and Toronto is set to launch on June 2, 2022, while flights between Glasgow and Toronto will begin on May 20, 2022.   

“As we continue to rebuild our international network, we’re pleased to offer our guests new options to connect via our Toronto hub for business and leisure to these incredible cities,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “This spring, guests on both sides of the Atlantic will benefit from more choices and lower fares when travelling between Canada and Scotland.”

With the addition of Edinburgh to the airline’s international network, service between Toronto (YYZ) and Edinburgh (EDI) is set to operate three-times weekly effective June 2, 2022, while service between Toronto and Glasgow (GLA) will operate four-times weekly as of May 20, 2022.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Edinburgh to our international network and strengthening travel and tourism between our two countries,” continued Weatherill. “Whether travellers are looking to discover Edinburgh’s enchanting castles and cobbled streets or exploring the vibrance of Toronto and beyond, we’re committed to introducing new destinations and routes to our network.”

By Spring 2022, WestJet will offer service to two Scottish destinations with service from Toronto to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the resumption of flights between Halifax and Glasgow.

Details of WestJet’s new services between Toronto and Scotland:

RouteFrequencyStart date
Toronto-Glasgow4x weeklyMay 20, 2022
Toronto-Edinburgh*3x weeklyJune 2, 2022

*New WestJet destination

Additional quotes

“We are excited to see our partners at WestJet bringing these new routes to Toronto Pearson,” said Janik Reigate, Director, Strategic Customer Relationships, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “From curb to gate and back again, when you’re ready to travel, you can do so knowing that your health and safety is our top priority. You’ll notice our Healthy Airport commitment in action across all touchpoints of your airport journey, from parking, check-in and bag drop to shopping, dining and more.”

“I welcome WestJet’s commitment to Scotland and the launch of their new services to Toronto from both Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports,” said Graeme Day, Minister of Transport, Scotland. “It is encouraging to see airlines develop their connectivity with Scotland at this time. Canada is an important market for Scotland, and I am sure these routes will be welcomed by both business travellers and tourists in both our countries. I also welcome the use of WestJet’s latest generation aircraft that will help minimise carbon emissions. I wish WestJet and the airports every success with these routes.” 

“We know there is huge interest in North America and Canada in particular, so welcoming a fantastic airline like WestJet to Edinburgh Airport is hugely exciting and we are glad to welcome them to Scotland’s capital,” said Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport. “People are beginning to plan those family reunions and longed for holidays so we hope new additions where possible will help to satisfy that demand, and the route will also present a great opportunity to strengthen business links. We look forward to welcoming WestJet to Edinburgh and showing off our fantastic capital city and everything else that Scotland has to offer.”

“The announcement today that WestJet will launch Toronto services direct into both Glasgow and Edinburgh in spring 2022 is hugely welcome for the recovery of Scotland’s inbound tourism markets. With Canada now a green list destination, making it easier for Canadians to visit, this adds further grounds for optimism for the return of one of Scotland’s key international markets, said Denise Hill, Head of Engagement, Visit Scotland. “VisitScotland has enjoyed a very positive partnership with WestJet in promoting their continuing Halifax to Glasgow service and we look forward to working closely with them to make these additional services a success also. With a strong latent demand for travel, these new air routes present an opportune moment for Scottish tourism businesses to re-engage with this important market.”

About WestJet 

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 promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Sunwing expands flight service from Toronto and Montreal after returning to the skies last month

TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Following an overwhelmingly positive response to its return to service on July 30, Sunwing has announced it will be offering Canadians even more ways to head to the tropics this fall. The tour operator will be adding several new routes from its two largest gateways, Toronto and Montreal, with direct flights to the vacation hotspots of St. Maarten, Aruba and Los Cabos.

“Following positive customer demand for our initial destinations of Cancun, Punta Cana and Montego Bay, and based on increasing demand to travel in the early fall, we decided to expand our flight service and destination offerings ahead of schedule,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “Our customers are looking for even more choice and flexibility. We’re excited to help them plan their dream getaway with ease under our wing, and we look forward to announcing additional flight routes in the near future.”

“In addition to seeking out the frictionless travel experiences we provide, we’re seeing more Canadians searching for bucket list destinations and exotic islands that are off the beaten path,” commented Samantha Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Sunwing. “By adding Los Cabos, Aruba and St. Maarten to our offerings, customers will have even more options to choose from so they can personalize their vacation to their travel style.”

The flight schedule for the three additional destinations will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Los Cabos, Thursdays starting September 16, 2021
  • Between Toronto and Aruba, Mondays starting September 20, 2021
  • Between Toronto and St. Maarten, Thursdays starting September 30, 2021
  • Between Montreal and St. Maarten, Thursdays starting November 4, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Los Cabos, Thursdays starting November 11, 2021

Vacationers can choose from a range of popular resorts across these exotic destinations. In Aruba, guests can stay on the world-famous shores of Palm Beach at Riu Palace Aruba, an elegant resort offering activities and amenities for all ages. Sun-seekers can explore all that St. Maarten has to offer while staying at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino and Spa, an all inclusive oasis just steps from local shops and nightlife. Couples and friends headed to Los Cabos can stay at the adults only Riu Palace Baja California, where they can lounge by glamorous infinity pools overlooking the coast and enjoy complimentary access to the weekly RIU Pool Parties.

To help Canadians make their return to paradise, Sunwing is offering incredible last minute vacation deals. Travellers can enjoy flexible booking options including reduced deposits of just $100 per person (down from $250 per person), an extended final payment window of 25 days before departure and monthly payment options through Uplift.

Plus, customers who book their getaway by September 9, 2021 for departures between now and October 31, 2021 will receive complimentary COVID-19 Coverage underwritten by Manulife included in their package (terms and conditions apply).

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.