Windsor left off list of airports able to accept international flights as of Nov. 30

From CTV News – link to source story

Melanie Borrelli, CTV Windsor Web Writer / Reporter | November 3, 2021

Windsor International Airport (YQG) in Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday, July 27,2021. (Chris Campbell/CTV Windsor)


Windsor International Airport is not included in the federal government’s new list of Canadian airports able to accept international flights as of Nov. 30.

Transport Canada announced Tuesday the easing of the restrictions on international flight arrivals, but Windsor was left off the list of eight additional airports.

Effective on Nov. 30, 2021, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following additional Canadian airports:

  •  St. John’s International
  •  John C. Munro Hamilton International
  •  Region of Waterloo International
  •  Regina International
  •  Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International
  •  Kelowna International
  •  Abbotsford International
  •  Victoria International

The decision to leave YQG off the list is a financial blow to the City of Windsor.

“People from Windsor can cross the border, catch a flight from Detroit or one of the surrounding airports in Michigan but they can’t fly to international destinations from their own airport. It makes no sense whatsoever,” councillor Fred Francis who also serves as YQG board director said.

The city faces a $13 million deficit, a large part of it coming from YQG according to Francis.

“It adds to the deficit we have and then you don’t tell us if you’re going to give us money to make us whole again,” he said. “It’s either one or the other. Either give us money to make us whole again or you don’t cut us off at the knees and let us run our airport like we can where it makes money.”

YQG airport CEO says losing revenue from flights isn’t the only issue.

“It’s not just the flights. It’s the revenue from parking from all those kinds of things and it’s something that you’re looking at three to four flights a week, the 737 going to those destinations so it’s a significant revenue impact to us,” said Mark Galvin, CEO YQG Airport.

Sunwing had issued a statement in May announcing the return of sun destinations departing from Windsor this winter. It is unknown if further restrictions will be lifted to allow these flights to take off.

“Sunwing sun destinations to Cuba, Dominican Republic, which we’ve enjoyed seasonly for years and they were ready to go,” Galvin said.

The government said “consideration will be given to adding additional airports as conditions dictate, based on demand, operational capacity, the epidemiological situation in Canada, and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada.”

The 10 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights are: Halifax Stanfield International, Québec City Jean Lesage International, Montréal-Trudeau International, Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International, Toronto Pearson International, Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International, Edmonton International, Calgary International, and Vancouver International.

The news comes after the YQG control tower was to be part of a study by Nav Can in an effort to safely streamline its operations.

Earlier this year, the group announced air traffic control would not be removed from the airport.

“We still don’t know the specific reasons for the second time so how do you fix something when you’re actually not provided a list of the things that are wrong,” Windsor West MP Brian Masse said.

Masse penned a letter to the minister of transport calling for an explanation as to why Windsor was not approved and for the situation to be corrected before “fundamental market structure damage becomes permanent.”

He also notes the City of Windsor has suffered “significant economic repercussions” due to the closure of international passenger traffic, and residents have had to travel hours to alternative travel areas and business has also been lost due to complications of connections to supply and demand issues.

“This has impacted the local vendors of the airport that provide private aviation services to the business workforce. Accordingly, this has led to large revenue losses for the City of Windsor as the owner of YQG,” Masse said.

He says the resident and municipality are owed an explanation for the decision and what can be done to allow international air passenger service to be restored.

“This is ridiculous. They certainly should come to Windsor because based on what I’m seeing and the reasoning, they have no idea what’s happening in Windsor,” Francis said. 

– With files from CTV Windsor’s Angelo Aversa

Windsor Airport officials hoping for OK to resume international flights

From Windsor Star – link to source story

Brian Cross  •  September 1, 2021

The exterior of the Windsor International Airport is shown on Friday, January 29, 2021. PHOTO BY DAN JANISSE /Windsor Star

Officials at Windsor Airport are hoping they will soon be allowed to resume international flights, after a pandemic-caused suspension that’s lasted 18 months.

Until recently, only four major Canadian airports — in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver — were allowed international flights. That expanded Aug. 9 when five more airports — in Quebec City, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax and Ottawa — were added by the federal government.

“So obviously for us, we want to be in the next cohort that expands, as we have Sunwing (Airlines) returning to Windsor in December of this year,” airport CEO Mark Galvin said Wednesday.

Sunwing had been running seasonal flights out of Windsor to such locales as Punta Cana and Cuba for many years until COVID-19 shut things down in April of 2020. Galvin said Sunwing is scheduled to resume flights out of Windsor starting in December, as long as Windsor Airport is cleared for international flights.

“We want to have our seasonal sun destinations starting in December, so it is crucial to us to have those flights come in and out and for Windsor and Essex County residents to have the choice to fly to Cuba or Punta Cana,” he said.

He said officials at the airport, also known as YQG, are working actively with the federal government to ensure it’s cleared for international travel in advance of Sunwest’s scheduled return.

“We certainly anticipate that will happen in short order.”

Staff from the Canada Border Services Agency are not permanently stationed at the airport. Instead, a crew of CBSA officers who normally work at the tunnel or bridge assemble at the airport prior to an arrival to clear passengers, Galvin said.

The airport currently is only running domestic flights including three daily Air Canada Jazz flights to Toronto’s Pearson International and two WestJet flights per week to Calgary. Porter Airlines flights to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport are set to resume in October with two flights daily.

More options for Windsor travellers as Porter launches new jet service across North America

From CTV News – link to source story – thanks PN

Stefanie Masotti, CTV Windsor Reporter | Monday, July 12, 2021

porter airlines

WINDSOR, ONT. — It has been nearly 18 months since Porter suspended flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

Flights from Windsor’s International Airport to Toronto Pearson International Airport are scheduled to resume Oct. 6.

At the same time, the airline company has announced 80 brand new state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Embraer E195-E2 aircraft will be added to their fleet.

Destinations will include the west coast, and sunny spots in the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Although the new aircrafts won’t touch down at YQG, it will provide Windsorites with more options if they choose to make a pit stop first, for example in Toronto.

New routes will be finalized ahead of aircraft deliveries in mid-2022.

Tourism and hospitality begin to rebound in Windsor-Essex, as COVID-19 eases

From CBC News – link to source story

Flights are gradually resuming and people are returning to patios

CBC News · Jul 06, 2021

Danielle Moldovan is the marketing and events co-ordinator at Wolfhead Distillery in Amherstburg. She said clients have come from elsewhere in Ontario, and even out of province. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

As COVID-19 cases decrease and vaccination rates ramp up, the urge to get out of the house is growing.

And while it still isn’t as easy as it once was to take a vacation or enjoy an event — key attractions such as Caesars Windsor remain closed as the province remains in Step 2 of its reopening framework  — travel and dining are slowly becoming more accessible.

According to those in the local hospitality and tourism industries, the public appears to be looking to make up for lost time.

At Wolfhead Distillery and Restaurant in Amherstburg, the crowds are back. Not all of the guests are local residents, according to Danielle Moldovan, the marketing and events co-ordinator. 

Wolfhead Distillery in Amherstburg has had a steady flow of bookings, according to Moldovan. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Moldovan said the distillery is seeing daytrippers from Chatham, Sarnia and Toronto, and is starting to see tourists from as far away as western Canada.

“Our phone rings every three minutes so I definitely see that pent up demand, folks wanting to make reservations, and being very respectful about booking in advance,” she said.

“I just can’t believe that people want to book three, four weeks in advance because they really want to be able to go out.”

Mark Galvin, CEO of Windsor International Airport, said flights are gradually ramping up at the airport as the pandemic eases. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

While travel is picking up within Ontario, the appetite to travel outside of the province and country is growing as well. At Windsor International Airport, booking a flight is starting to get easier.

The airport is seeing the gradual return of flights and passengers, said CEO Mark Galvin.

“Air Canada has added a flight, Westjet came back June 26, Sunwing has announced they’re coming back in December for their seasonal service to sun destinations,” he said in an interview on Monday.

“And today Porter announced the resumption of their service in September and two flights daily to Billy Bishop from YQG starting Oct. 6.” 

Travel agent Sandra McLeod of Red Door Travel in Windsor said Canadians are itching to travel abroad. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

With cruise lines and tour operations ramping up, travel agent Sandra McLeod from Red Door Travel in Windsor said she is getting lots of inquiries. People are antsy to resume travel though there is some concern about international travel.

But COVID-19 is still running rampant in some parts of the world so booking trips, even next year, comes with some uncertainty.

“Clients read the news and they can see what’s happening,” she said. “So although they want to go and they are booking for next year, we just kind of book and sit and wait and hope for the best.” 

Staycation tax credit 

There could be a perk for those who choose to travel closer to home, though not in time for this travel season.

As announced in the 2020 provincial budget, the government wants to introduce a tax credit for those who support local tourism operations.

So far, however, that credit hasn’t been implemented. A spokesperson for the finance minister’s office said that this summer there was uncertainly about when would be safe and appropriate to introduce it.

“Further information will be available before January 2022 when it is safe to travel from a public health perspective and when Ontarians and Ontario businesses have more time to take full advantage of the benefit for the year,” spokesperson Emily Hogeveen said in an email to CBC News.

With files from Jacob Barker

WestJet reconnecting Alberta routes

Airline to restart 10 routes across province and inaugurate new service from Edmonton to Penticton, Kamloops and Nanaimo

Non-stop service between Calgary-Charlottetown to launch on July 29

CALGARY, AB, June 25, 2021 /CNW/ -WestJet is further restoring Alberta’s domestic and interprovincial connectivity with the restart of 10 routes to and from destinations across British Columbia, the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia from Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat. The airline will also start operation of three new routes to and from Edmonton and begin non-stop service between Calgary and Charlottetown. Full schedule details and resumption dates are outlined below.

“We continue to work towards the restoration of our pre-COVID domestic network to ensure that when our guests are ready to travel, we are there for them,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “WestJet remains committed to building back stronger for the betterment of all Canadians, and as we look ahead to reconnecting friends, family and loved ones, the safe restart of travel is essential to Canada’s economic recovery.”

Connecting Alberta to Prince Edward Island non-stop

After being delayed due to the pandemic, WestJet will bridge new domestic connections between the east and the west with the introduction of new twice-weekly, non-stop service between Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Calgary, beginning July 29. The service connecting the two provinces was previously scheduled to start in June 2020.

WestJet’s investments are critical to ensuring Alberta’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and this July, WestJet will offer non-stop service from Calgary to 42 cities and from Edmonton to 16 cities. 

“This week’s meeting with more than 70 Northern Alberta industry partners demonstrates the value of listening to our partners as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic. We thank Premier Kenney and his government for leading the safe restart of travel for Albertans. While progress has been made in Alberta, we continue to advocate for a safe travel framework from the Government of Canada,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President.

Love Where You’re Going Again – WestJet’s Latest Video

For more than 17 months, Canadians from coast-to-coast have been separated from the people and places they love. WestJet’s latest brand moment is a reminder to Canadians that it’s time to love where they’re going, again.

Alberta route restarts between now and July 6, 2021

RoutePeak FrequencyRoute restart date
Edmonton – Nanaimo*2x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Regina 6x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Comox 5x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Calgary – Prince George4x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Calgary – London, Ont.4x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Winnipeg 6x weeklyJune 30, 2021
Calgary – Windsor2x weeklyJune 26, 2021
Calgary – Whitehorse2x weeklyJune 27, 2021
Calgary – Medicine Hat5x weeklyJune 27, 2021
Edmonton – Halifax 2x weeklyJuly 1, 2021
Edmonton – Penticton*2x weeklyJuly 3, 2021
Edmonton – Kamloops*2x weeklyJuly 4, 2021
Edmonton – Saskatoon 6x weeklyJuly 6, 2021
Calgary – Charlottetown *2x weeklyJuly 29, 2021
*New route

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 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.

Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group Launches its Prestige Concierge Service

MONTREAL, May 17, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group (“IEAG”) announced today that it has expanded the Concierge services capability of both of its Aircraft Management and Charter operating units for the benefit of its clients via the introduction of its Prestige Concierge Service by IEAG.

With aircraft based across Canada including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, the Prestige Concierge Service will help IEAG engage its customers by opening doors to high-touch personalized service, a wealth of special offers, as well as access to extraordinary experiences. This service expansion speaks to IEAG’s unwavering commitment to improving the customer experience and establishing a true travel support capability for our valued clients.

This Prestige Concierge Service is a true testament to our customer service philosophy and our efforts to consistently and continuously improve the travel experience for our clients, said Michael Fedele, President, Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group.

Since 1967, corporate aircraft owners have trusted IEAG to manage their aircraft with a fully-integrated service offering and unique capability that supports its customers throughout their aircraft life-cycle.

This new Service will allow IEAG clients to benefit from offers and privileges worldwide across a wide range of lifestyle services, including hotels and villas, VIP experiences, culinary adventures, exquisite vacation packages and more.

We have been providing dedicated Concierge services to our client for years, however we are extremely excited to be launching this service enhancement in response to our clients’ growing full-service travel needs. This is an important milestone in our services evolution and reinforces our 100% commitment to providing a true lifestyles support experience for our customers, said Michael Fedele, President, Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group.

About Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group

IEAG is a leading full-service provider of aviation and technical support services to business aircraft OEMs, owners, operators, and commercial airlines. Based in Montreal, Quebec, IEAG offers a full range of aircraft interior/exterior refurbishment and technical services, including non-destructive testing, and has maintenance capabilities and FBO services at airports across Canada including a long history supporting Cessna aircraft from our Authorized Service Facility at Toronto Pearson for over 40 years. With a comprehensive fleet of business aircraft under management, IEAG has complete flight operations capabilities, as well as a large portion of its business jet fleet available for charter under the Execaire and Image Air brands.

IEAG is a business unit of IMP Group, a Halifax-based company focused on global sustainable growth, and with over 3,500 experienced people delivering service, quality and value to customers across diverse sectors, such as aerospace, aviation, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, and property development.

Sunwing returns to Windsor this winter with convenient weekly flights to popular Cuban destinations

TORONTO, May 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Residents of Windsor and the southwestern Ontario region will be able to return to paradise with ease this winter with Sunwing. The tour operator has announced they will be returning to Windsor International Airport for the 2021/2022 season with weekly flight service to the popular vacation destinations of Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba. Flights will begin in December 2021 and operate until mid-April 2022.

“Our service from Windsor International Airport has been consistently well received and we’re looking forward to returning for the 2021/2022 winter season,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing. “Our regional gateways including Windsor are at the forefront of our operations and we’re excited to be offering residents convenient departures from their local airport under our wing.”

The flight schedule from Windsor will be as follows:

  • Between Windsor and Cayo Santa Maria, Tuesdays from December 14, 2021, until April 5, 2022
  • Between Windsor and Varadero, Thursdays from December 16, 2021, until April 14, 2022

“We are looking forward to welcoming Sunwing back to Windsor International Airport,” said Mark Galvin, CEO of Windsor Airport. “Sunwing provides convenient vacation destinations at a time when rest and relaxation are much needed.”

Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor and the Chair of the YGB Board of Directors, also celebrated the news. “Sunwing is an important partner for YQG and the Windsor-Essex region. We are happy that Sunwing is returning to provide amazing vacation experiences right from our doorstep.”

Travellers can choose from a range of vacation packages for every budget in Cuba. Sun-seekers can kick back and relax on Varadero’s world-famous shores at Grand Memories Varadero, with plenty of resort-offered water sports on the white-sand beach. Those planning an adults only retreat may choose to stay at Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, offering sophisticated getaways for vacationers aged 18+ with convenient amenities and top-notch butler service.

Residents of southwestern Ontario can book with peace of mind during the tour operator’s extended Freedom 21/22 Sale. From now until May 31, 2021, travellers can receive up to $1,000 in value on select vacation packages and enjoy flexible booking options with the freedom to change or cancel their plans with ease. Customers can also rest assured that the highest Canadian standards are in place throughout their entire vacation experience with the Safe with Sunwing commitment, created under the advisement of global healthcare leader Medcan.

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.

Air traffic control services to continue for Canadian communities

OTTAWA,ON, April 15, 2021 /CNW/ – NAV CANADA confirmed today that it will maintain air traffic control service to Canadian communities, including Fort McMurray AB, Prince George BC, Regina SK, Saint-Jean QC, Sault Ste. Marie ON, Whitehorse YT and Windsor ON.

Last fall, NAV CANADA launched 29 aeronautical studies in an effort to safely streamline its operations, ensuring that air navigation services align with market demand. After considerable consultation with airlines, airports, industry associations, local officials and internal stakeholders, NAV CANADA has elected to limit changes to services across the country. 

NAV CANADA is committing that there will be no site closures at air traffic control towers or flight service stations across the country. In addition, the Company will suspend aeronautical studies currently underway related to remote or northern locations until further notice.

“Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of NAV CANADA’s aeronautical study process. The valuable input we have received indicates that a balanced approach is warranted as the industry navigates the ongoing pandemic. We are proactively taking these steps to maintain a consistent level of service as the aviation industry and our many partners shift their focus to recovery,” said Ray Bohn, President and CEO.

The aeronautical studies, which are still in progress, will consider other alternatives to safely streamline operations, including changes to hours of operation. Aeronautical studies that were related to hours of operation from the outset or that are related to Remote Aerodrome Advisory Services will also continue, except for those pertaining to remote or northern locations.

To enhance stakeholder awareness and input, NAV CANADA will be undertaking a Notice of Proposal process that will afford stakeholders an additional opportunity to provide feedback on NAV CANADA’s specific recommendations.  

NAV CANADA remains unwavering in its commitment to safety, and any changes to the delivery of our services will be first and foremost evaluated in this context. The Company will continue to provide the air navigation services required to support industry today and throughout recovery.

Quick Facts

  • A private, non-profit corporation, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometers of Canadian domestic and oceanic airspace.
  • Under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act, NAV CANADA recovers its operating expense through service charges from its customers on a breakeven basis. Its customers include airlines, air cargo operators, air charter operators, air taxis, helicopter operators, and business and general aviation.
  • Aeronautical Studies consider all relevant factors, including traffic volume, mix and distribution throughout the day; weather; airport and airspace configuration; surface activity; and the efficiency requirements of operators using the service. Formal consultation with stakeholders is central to all Aeronautical Studies.
  • NAV CANADA’s safety record is irrefutably one of the best in the world amongst air navigation service providers. We have achieved this record based on a regulated decision-making approach with safety at the very core of all that we do.


NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1996, providing air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace.

The Company is internationally recognized for its safety record, and technology innovation. Air traffic management systems developed by NAV CANADA are used by air navigation service providers in countries worldwide.

Sault Airport one of seven under review by Nav Canada

From SooToday – link to source story

Study of air traffic service and aviation weather requirements expected to be presented to Transport Canada for safety review this spring

By: SooToday Staff | 23 Febrauary 2021

20200301-Sault Ste. Marie Airport, winter, stock-DT-01Sault Ste. Marie Airport file photo. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Nav Canada, the non-profit body that runs the country’s civil air navigation service, is currently reviewing seven airport towers in small Canadian cities, including Sault Ste. Marie.

Others under review are those located in St-Jean, Que.; Windsor, Ont.; Regina, Sask.; Fort McMurray, Alta.; Prince George, B.C.; and Whitehorse, Yukon.

At the heart of each review is whether air traffic at the airports warrants having a control tower as opposed to an advisory service for pilots, reports the Canadian Press.

In a Terms of Reference (TOR) issued in November of last year, Nav Canada explained that “the total annual aircraft movements have ranged from 55,225 to 65,228. These movements are either below or are at the lower levels of the established guidelines for the provision of Airport Control Services based on the Nav Canada Policy Delivery of Air Navigation Services.”

“We have to operate the right service, at the right place, at the right time,” Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada’s director of stakeholder and industry relations, told the Canadian Press. “The COVID-19 pandemic does give us additional stimulus because of the financial environment; however, the studies are warranted regardless of COVID-19.”   

The aeronautical study to review air traffic service and aviation weather requirements at the Sault Airport is expected to be presented to Transport Canada for safety review this spring.

“A strong system of airports is essential to supporting recovery from COVID-19 for our travel and tourism sector, as well as our trade-based regional and national economies,” Terry Bos, the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation’s president and CEO, said in a news release issued on Feb. 9. “Canada’s airports and our air sector partners want to play a leading role in this recovery but may not be able to effectively do so without intervention by government.”

Earlier this month, the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation reported record low passenger levels.

Passenger traffic dropped by more than 89 per cent in January from the previous year.

Also in January of this year, the airport announced a 41 per cent reduction in staff as flights were cut due to the ongoing pandemic.

Today, the Canadian Press reports that aviation is among the hardest hit industries as federal travel restrictions continue and public health officials discourage travelling.

‘I don’t want a small town:’ Regina’s airport leaders rally to save control towers

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story


James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina International Airport, poses for photo at the airport in Regina on Feb. 18, 2021.MICHAEL BELL /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Eleven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, silence fills Regina’s airport.

Empty check-in counters line one side of the terminal while the odd employee moves behind reception along a row of vehicle rental desks.

There’s no one on the staircase passengers use upon arriving in Saskatchewan’s capital city. The number of flights scheduled to land on Monday: four.

“It’s almost like a ghost town,” said James Bogusz, chief executive officer and president of the Regina Airport Authority.

Canada’s aviation industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, because of federal travel restrictions and public-health advice urging would-be travellers to stay home.

Mr. Bogusz said he’s concerned that any comeback in air travel could be hampered in Regina by service reductions to air traffic control.

Nav Canada, the non-profit body that runs the country’s civil air navigation service, is reviewing airport towers in Regina and six other small Canadian cities. That has triggered concerns from local leaders about the effect on their airports and community businesses.

“I don’t want a small town,” Mr. Bogusz said. “I want my mid-size city airport back.”

The other airport towers under review are in St-Jean, Que., Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George and Whitehorse.

At the heart of each review is whether air traffic at the airports warrants having a control tower as opposed to an advisory service for pilots.

“We have to operate the right service, at the right place, at the right time,” said Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada’s director of stakeholder and industry relations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic does give us additional stimulus because of the financial environment; however, the studies are warranted regardless of COVID-19.”

He explained that an air traffic controller provides instructions to pilots during times including takeoff; an advisory service offers guidance through information that includes weather and runway conditions.

Mr. Bagg said the reviews will not compromise safety and Nav Canada is looking at air traffic numbers at the airports before the pandemic.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens wants his city off the list because of its proximity to Detroit, which makes airspace more complicated.

Mr. Dilkens, who also chairs the airport’s board, questions how losing the airport’s tower would affect attracting new airlines and routes.

“Anything that causes them an additional level of concern that makes us less competitive – that’s our economic concern.”

WestJet has said control towers don’t influence its operations.

Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said losing towers “would have an impact on overall efficiencies as airline operations become significantly more complex.”

She cited possible delays at non-controlled sites and the need for additional fuel to cover delays or diversions to other airports.

“These inefficiency factors all increase operating costs and can affect the overall commercial viability of routes.”

RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, said closing its tower could affect future efforts to diversify tourism in the region.

“German charter carriers will not fly to an airport that doesn’t have a tower,” he said. “When so much of the industry is in flux, it’s not a good time to make a decision like this.”

Mr. Bagg said Nav Canada hopes to present by spring its recommendations for the seven towers to Transport Canada, which must give final approval.

Six premiers have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay a decision until after COVID-19 is under control enough so travel restrictions can be lifted.

In a statement, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Transport Canada would do its own safety review of any proposed changes.

Mr. Dilkens said it would be a mistake for Ottawa to ignore economic implications. The government has spent millions of dollars improving Windsor’s airport.

Notices about layoffs were issued to air traffic controllers last month, raising concerns that closures have already been decided. “This has eroded our trust in the process,” Mr. Bogusz said.

Mr. Bagg said letters were sent because the collective agreement requires employees be notified that their jobs may be at risk. The layoffs are subject to the outcome of the reviews.

The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, which represents air traffic controllers, has said about 60 jobs would disappear if the seven towers were closed.