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

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

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

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

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

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

New route details:

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

Resumption of services:

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

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

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

About Air Canada

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

Details of Financial Support to Air Canada

From: Department of Finance Canada | 12 April 2021

Backgrounder

The government’s financial support to Air Canada is being provided under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). The Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation (CEEFC) has committed to provide $4 billion in repayable loans and an equity investment in Air Canada of $500 million in newly-issued Class B Voting Shares at a 15 per cent discount to their recent trading price. CEEFC will also receive warrants on Air Canada stock in an amount equal to 10 per cent of the loan commitments (CEEFC’s news release contains detailed information regarding the warrants).

As a condition of its agreement with CEEFC, Air Canada has made a number of commitments as outlined below.

Refunds for Canadians

The agreement with Air Canada ensures that customers who had their flights cancelled, or took action to cancel a flight because of the pandemic, are not financially disadvantaged. Under the terms of the financing agreement, Air Canada has committed to offer refunds to any passenger who wants a refund for certain pandemic-related cancelations by the carrier that CEEFC will finance. Air Canada has committed to providing customers with their refunds as soon as possible – beginning April 30, 2021 at the latest. CEEFC will provide additional loan financing of up to $1.4 billion for Air Canada to provide these refunds. Travel agents may assist in the processing of refunds for tickets the travel agents sold but will not be required to refund their commission to Air Canada.

Protecting Jobs

As a condition of the agreement with CEEFC, Air Canada has committed to maintain jobs at current levels, to respect collective bargaining agreements, and protect workers’ pensions. Air Canada currently has 14,859 active Canadian employees.

As required more generally under LEEFF, Air Canada has also agreed to restrictions on dividends, buying back shares, and executive compensation. The company will also provide climate-related financial disclosures, including how its future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.

Restarting Vital Domestic Air Services

The terms of the financial support will ensure that Canadians and communities retain air connections to the rest of Canada, through the restart of service at airports temporarily suspended by Air Canada. For seven airports where Air Canada had permanently canceled service, the airline will seek interline agreements with other carriers with a view to ensure those Canadians continue to have convenient access to their preferred airports and the flights they need.

Service will resume by no later than June 1, 2021, at the following suspended airports based on public health advice:

  • Bathurst
  • Comox
  • Fredericton
  • Gander
  • Goose Bay
  • Kamloops
  • North Bay
  • Penticton
  • Prince Rupert
  • Saint John
  • Sandspit
  • Sydney
  • Yellowknife

Supporting Jobs in Canada’s Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry supported 235,000 Canadian jobs and contributed over $28 billion in gross domestic product to the Canadian economy in 2019.

This financing agreement will allow Air Canada to continue to be a vital customer of the Canadian aerospace industry by completing its planned purchase of aircraft as set out in its business plan, which includes aircraft built in Canada, such as the Airbus A220. Aerospace is one of the most innovative and export-driven industries in Canada. The negative impact of the pandemic on the bottom line of airlines has put the relationship between airlines and the aerospace industry at risk, threatening job security in the sector. Ensuring that Air Canada maintains its status as a key customer of Canada’s aerospace industry is important to ensuring the long term success of the sector and the thousands of jobs it supports.

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

From TravelPulse Canada – link to source story

JIM BYERS  JANUARY 14, 2021

Spotlight on Paris
Paris

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

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

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

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

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

Additional airport stations closed in Canada:

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

Additional domestic routes suspended

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

Transborder routes suspended

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

International flights suspended

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

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

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

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

Lack of federal government aviation plan contributes to new Air Canada layoffs

TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2021 /CNW/ – Unifor believes the recently announced workforce reductions at Air Canada could have been lessened if the federal government had developed a plan to support Canada’s aviation industry.

“Today’s announcement leaves airline workers with continued disappointment in the federal government’s lack of action to support the industry,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “For months, we have been demanding that the federal government develop a long-lasting plan and provide financial support to save the industry from total collapse.”

Group shot of Air Canada workers in uniform. (CNW Group/Unifor)

Air Canada announced plans to close its Yellowknife, Kamloops, Gander and Goose Bay regional offices and reduce its first-quarter capacity by 25% resulting in 1,700 job losses. The job cuts will also affect more than 200 workers at its Express carriers. This is in addition to the more than 20,000 layoffs previously announced last May.

“It baffles me that our federal government continues to remain silent when in the past week we have seen layoffs at WestJet and now Air Canada. The federal government can no longer operate as business as usual. Support for airline workers needs to be an immediate priority of the incoming Minister of Transport,” said Dias.

Though the CEWS program provided some job protection measures for Canadian airline workers, the sector has seen unprecedented layoffs and furloughed workers. Yesterday Unifor, alongside Air Canada Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association and Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association, issued a joint media release calling on the federal government to make a direct and meaningful financial contribution to the already devastated airline industry.

Air Canada suspending passenger service to Yellowknife on Jan. 23

From CBC News – link to source story

Airline cutting operations due to ‘stifled demand,’ travel restrictions, quarantine rules

CBC News · Posted: Jan 12, 2021

Air Canada, which is operating in one of the industries hardest hit by COVID-19, said on Tuesday it was suspending all passenger operations to Yellowknife effective Jan. 23. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada is suspending passenger service to Yellowknife on Jan. 23 until further notice.

The airline said in an email on Tuesday that it’s cutting flights to the Northwest Territories capital due to “stifled demand from ongoing travel restrictions and blanket quarantine rules” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Operating in this environment is not sustainable and we have made difficult decisions to suspend all passenger operations to Yellowknife airport until further notice, effective January 23, 2021.” 

In the email, the airline says its “overall network capacity” is down about 80 per cent from 2019.

Air Canada says it will continue to evaluate and adjust its routes based on the trajectory of the pandemic and travel restrictions. 

The airline did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

Air North’s service to Yellowknife has been suspended until further notice.

WestJet and Canadian North also run passenger flights to Yellowknife.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Canadian North said the company intends “to maintain our current services.”

WestJet said it continues to operate four flights a week between Yellowknife and Calgary.

The airline said it has been forced to suspend the vast majority of its flights across the country due to the pandemic and is operating at 80 per cent less capacity than a year ago.

N.W.T. to make masks mandatory inside airport terminal buildings

From CBC News – link to story

The order comes into effect Oct. 13

CBC News · Posted: Oct 08, 2020

Inside the arrival area of the Yellowknife Airport. Starting next week, masks will be mandatory throughout airport terminal buildings across the territory. (John Van Dusen / CBC)

Starting next Tuesday, travellers and employees will be required to wear a mask while inside Northwest Territories’ airport terminal buildings.

The territory announced the order on Thursday.

“While the best way to protect yourself and your community is to stay at home and not travel outside of the N.W.T., we want to ensure that people who need to travel, as well as airport staff, are safe in our airports,” read a statement by the territory’s Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie.

“The health and safety of N.W.T. residents and communities is our main priority and we ask and thank passengers for their cooperation.”

Since April, Transport Canada has required passengers to wear a mask while going through security and while on a flight.

The government says the public is encouraged to bring their own mask, though there may be some available at the 27 airports it operates across the territory.

The order does not apply to children under the age of two or people with a medical issue preventing them from wearing a mask.

Individuals will be allowed to temporarily remove their mask to eat, drink, take oral medications or for identification purposes.

“As passenger traffic continues to increase, this requirement will help keep travellers and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read. 

The territory also says that until further notice, only passengers, employees and service staff are permitted inside Northwest Territories’ airports.

Those who are dropping someone off or picking someone up are not allowed to enter.

WestJet expands August schedule, updates July flying

From WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership 

Schedule highlights airline’s continued service to 39 Canadian cities from coast-to-coast

Airline’s stringent health and safety measures ensure Canadians can travel safely to 48 destinations

CALGARY, AB, July 13, 2020 /CNW/ – WestJet today released its updated August schedule featuring more than 200 daily flights to 48 destinations across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. The schedule features service to 39 domestic airports and further highlights the airline’s commitment to ensuring air service and regional connectivity is available to Canadians from coast-to-coast.

The updated schedule is supported by the layered framework WestJet has built to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. The airline continues to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies for guests.

“With the many safeguards and procedures in place, we are certain Canadians can safely resume travel to destinations across our network,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “We continue to adapt our schedule to meet the needs of our guests and through our continued investments economies can begin to recover with the support of domestic tourism driven by air travel.”

Between July 15 through to September 4, 2020, WestJet will increase domestic frequencies and offer operations to 48 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S., two in Europe, one in the Caribbean, one in Mexico.

The airline will reintroduce non-stop Dreamliner service from Calgary to London (Gatwick) and Paris effective August 20, 2020 and will continue to serve five key transborder destinations including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York (LaGuardia) and Orlando. The airline will also offer service to Cancun, Mexico and will resume operations once-weekly to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Continued von zur Muehlen, “Despite these headwinds, we are committed to ensuring air travel remains affordable and accessible to Canadians from coast-to-coast during this difficult time. While an increase in flying is a positive sign, we are prudently monitoring our guests loads to ensure we are managing our airline and the health of our guests and crew responsibly.”

The August schedule reflects approximately a 10 per cent increase in flying from July, but a decrease of 75 per cent less flying from August 2019. It also includes select frequency reductions and temporary domestic route suspensions between stations across Canada due to continued border closures and provincial travel restrictions.  

At this time, the airline is planning on operating the following domestic routes and frequencies from July 16 to September 4. The below frequencies represent peak service within this time frame:

ALBERTA AND NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Calgary-Abbotsford2x daily
Calgary-Comox1x daily
Calgary-Cranbrook4x weekly
Calgary-Fort St. John2x daily
Calgary-Kamloops1x daily
Calgary-Kelowna3x daily
Calgary-Nanaimo1x daily
Calgary-Penticton1x daily
Calgary-Vancouver7x daily
Calgary-Victoria2x daily
Calgary-Edmonton6x daily
Calgary-Fort McMurray3x daily
Calgary-Grande Prairie3x daily
Calgary-Lethbridge3x weekly
Calgary-Lloydminster2x weekly
Calgary-Medicine Hat2x weekly
Calgary-Yellowknife4x weekly
Calgary-Brandon3x weekly
Calgary-Regina3x daily
Calgary-Saskatoon3x daily
Calgary-Winnipeg3x daily
Calgary-Hamilton4x weekly
Calgary-Kitchener/Waterloo4x weekly
Calgary-Toronto6x daily
Edmonton-Comox2x weekly
Edmonton-Kelowna6x weekly
Edmonton-Vancouver3x daily
Edmonton-Victoria1x daily
Edmonton-Calgary6x daily
Edmonton-Fort McMurray6x weekly
Edmonton-Grande Prairie6x weekly
Edmonton-Regina5x weekly
Edmonton-Saskatoon6x weekly
Edmonton-Winnipeg6x weekly
Edmonton-Toronto3x daily
Fort McMurray-Calgary3x daily
Fort McMurray-Edmonton6x weekly
Grande Prairie-Calgary3x daily
Grande Prairie-Edmonton6x weekly
Lethbridge-Calgary3x weekly
Lloydminster-Calgary2x weekly
Medicine Hat-Calgary2x weekly
Yellowknife-Calgary4x weekly

BRITISH COLUMBIA AND YUKON

Abbotsford-Calgary2x daily
Comox-Calgary1x daily
Cranbrook-Calgary4x weekly
Fort St John-Calgary2x daily
Fort St John-Vancouver4x weekly
Kamloops-Calgary1x daily
Kelowna-Vancouver1x daily
Kelowna-Calgary3x daily
Kelowna-Edmonton6x weekly
Nanaimo-Calgary1x daily
Penticton-Calgary1x daily
Prince George-Vancouver3x daily
Terrace-Vancouver1x daily
Vancouver-Kelowna1x daily
Vancouver-Prince George3x daily
Vancouver-Terrace1x daily
Vancouver-Victoria2x daily
Vancouver-Calgary7x daily
Vancouver-Edmonton3x daily
Vancouver-Winnipeg6x weekly
Vancouver-Toronto4x daily
Victoria-Vancouver2x daily
Victoria-Calgary2x daily
Victoria-Edmonton1x daily

ONTARIO

Hamilton-Calgary4x weekly
Kitchener/Waterloo-Calgary4x weekly
London, ON-Toronto6x weekly
Ottawa-Calgary6x weekly
Ottawa-Toronto4x daily
Ottawa-Halifax2x weekly
Thunder Bay-Winnipeg2x weekly
Thunder Bay-Toronto6x weekly
Toronto-Vancouver4x daily
Toronto-Calgary6x daily
Toronto-Edmonton3x daily
Toronto-Regina3x weekly
Toronto-Saskatoon3x weekly
Toronto-Winnipeg3x daily
Toronto-London, ON6x weekly
Toronto-Ottawa4x daily
Toronto-Thunder Bay4x weekly
Toronto-Montreal4x daily
Toronto-Quebec City4x weekly
Toronto-Charlottetown6x weekly
Toronto-Deer Lake4x weekly
Toronto-Fredericton5x weekly
Toronto-Halifax3x daily
Toronto-Moncton5x weekly
Toronto-St. John’s (NL)1x daily

SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA

Brandon-Calgary3x weekly
Regina-Calgary3x daily
Regina-Edmonton5x weekly
Regina-Toronto3x weekly
Saskatoon-Calgary3x daily
Saskatoon-Edmonton6x weekly
Saskatoon-Winnipeg2x weekly
Saskatoon-Toronto3x weekly
Winnipeg-Vancouver6x weekly
Winnipeg-Calgary3x daily
Winnipeg-Edmonton6x weekly
Winnipeg-Saskatoon2x weekly
Winnipeg-Thunder Bay2x weekly
Winnipeg-Toronto3x daily

QUEBEC

Montreal-Calgary6x weekly
Montreal-Toronto4x daily
Quebec City-Toronto4x weekly

ATLANTIC CANADA

Charlottetown-Toronto6x weekly
Deer Lake-Toronto4x weekly
Fredericton-Toronto5x weekly
Halifax-Calgary1x daily
Halifax-Ottawa2x weekly
Halifax-Toronto3x daily
Halifax- St. John’s (NL)1x daily
Halifax-Sydney2x weekly
Moncton-Toronto5x weekly
St. John’s (NL)-Toronto1x daily
St. John’s (NL)-Halifax1x daily
Sydney-Halifax2x weekly

At this time, the airline is planning on operating the following transborder and international routes from July 16 to September 4, 2020.

MarketPlanned frequency
Calgary – Los Angeles3x weekly
Calgary – Las Vegas2x weekly
Calgary – Atlanta4x weekly
Calgary – London Gatwick3 weekly effective August 20
Calgary – Paris2x weekly effective August 20
Vancouver – Los Angeles3x weekly
Toronto – LaGuardia5x weekly
Toronto – Orlando1x weekly
Toronto – Cancun1x weekly
Toronto – Montego Bay1x weekly

Temporary domestic route suspensions for July 16 – September 4, 2020.

MarketPrevious frequency
Vancouver – Nanaimo2x daily
Vancouver – Comox1x daily
Vancouver – Saskatoon1x daily
Vancouver – Cranbrook1x daily
Vancouver – Ottawa2x daily
Vancouver – Montreal13x weekly
Vancouver – Halifax6x weekly
Kelowna – Victoria2x daily
Calgary – Prince George1x daily
Calgary – London, ON2x daily
Calgary – Quebec City4x weekly
Calgary – Charlottetown4x weekly
Calgary – St. John’s1x daily
Edmonton – Yellowknife1x daily
Edmonton – Ottawa4x weekly
Edmonton – Montreal3x weekly
Edmonton – Halifax10x weekly
Edmonton – St. John’s4x weekly
Winnipeg – Regina1x daily
Winnipeg – Ottawa1x daily
Winnipeg – Montreal1x daily
Winnipeg – Halifax1x daily
Toronto – Victoria4x weekly
Toronto – Kelowna1x daily
Toronto – Sydney6x weekly
Halifax – Montreal2x daily

Self-isolation rules still apply to N.W.T, Nunavut residents travelling by air to Yukon

News from CBC News – link to story

Self-isolation is only waived for those that can come straight to Yukon through B.C.

Anna Desmarais · CBC News · Posted: Jul 02, 2020

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference regarding the start of the territory’s Phase 2 recovery plan on July 1. (Government of Yukon)

Northerners travelling to Yukon via southern airports outside of British Columbia will still have to self-isolate upon arrival, according to Yukon Premier Sandy Silver.  

On July 1, premier Silver extended the Yukon-B.C. travel bubble to include those from the N.W.T and Nunavut — only if they travel from their territory to Yukon or through British Columbia. 

Data from Google Flights shows that all Air Canada flights from Yellowknife to Whitehorse will have layovers either in Edmonton or Calgary, Alta., on route to Vancouver. Flights from Iqaluit to Whitehorse often travel through Ottawa or Winnipeg to get to the territory. 

In those cases, Premier Silver said northern residents arriving by air with layovers in provinces like Ontario and Alberta will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. 

‘Making our decisions … not just on geography’

“We’re making our decisions not necessarily just on geography or ease of getting here but also epidemiology,” Silver told reporters.

“At this time, we … are opening ourselves as well, knowing full well that it’s pretty hard for someone to come directly from Nunavut into Yukon.”

The N.W.T announced a new travel bubble with Nunavut on June 12 as part of its Phase 2 reopening plans. The move struck down the self-isolation requirement for people travelling between the territories.

Yukon was initially excluded from the travel bubble because of its plans to loosen self-isolation requirements with British Columbia. 

N.W.T. residents are still required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return from Yukon. 

Premier recommends reserving charters 

Silver said the travel bubble would directly benefit residents of Fort McPherson, N.W.T. — the closest community to Yukon along the Dempster Highway.

Residents of Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik, and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., are also able to drive directly into Yukon via the Dempster.

Communities in the Dehcho, including Fort Liard, Nahanni Butte and Fort Simpson, N.W.T., would also be able to travel into Yukon through British Columbia without having to self-isolate. People looking to drive into B.C. through the N.W.T.’s Highway 7 will have to make an appointment to cross the border either on a Tuesday or Friday. 

But, Silver continued, travel to Yukon from other parts of the territories “isn’t impossible.” He recommended that people consider chartering flights if necessary, but reinforced the message that travel should still be limited into the territory. 

“You could charter from Inuvik or smaller communities and you’d be allowed to if you could come in,” Silver said. 

Anyone travelling to Yukon is asked to go to Yukon.ca to figure out if they meet the self-isolation requirements. 

No direct flights to Whitehorse until mid-August

Air North, Yukon’s main commercial airline, wrote on its website that its Whitehorse-Yellowknife-Ottawa route will be starting up again on Aug. 15. Once that flight is available, northerners could fly from Yellowknife to Whitehorse without having to self-isolate. 

Kelly Lewis, a spokesperson for Canadian North, said in a statement that the N.W.T.’s main commercial airline will not be adding any direct flights between Yellowknife and Whitehorse during the northern travel bubble, because Yukon’s capital city is not in their purview. 

Canadian North is, however, adding a new flight from Yellowknife to the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut that will help residents travel between the N.W.T and Nunavut, Lewis said. The popular Yellowknife-Rankin Inlet route will not be reinstated in the meantime based on recommendations from the Nunavut government — but Lewis said they’re looking into it. 

“We understand that this is a routing that some people would like to see return so we will look at options to do so when the time is right,” the statement reads. 

‘Not entirely a bubble’ 

Julian MacLean, a dietitian living in Inuvik, will be one of the first people taking advantage of the new northern travel bubble this weekend. 

MacLean said he’s making the time to do the hours-long, 1,200-kilometre drive down the Dempster Highway to Whitehorse to do some vehicle maintenance and grocery shopping before a possible second COVID-19 wave.

“Restrictions will probably get tighter again, so if I don’t go now, I probably wont be able to go later,” MacLean told CBC. 

Maclean said his employer is letting him take the self-isolation time in the N.W.T. upon arrival as leave — but for many others, the N.W.T.’s self-isolation requirements upon return make travel less appealing.

Few flights and high prices burst northern travel bubble for some

From CBC News – link to story

Canadian North is running 50% of the flights it used to, with 10% of the passengers

CBC News · Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Rachel Marin isn’t sure she can travel to her home town of Ranklin Inlet, Nunavut, given the change in flight routes that will make it a costly trip. (submitted by Rachel Marin)

When Rachel Marin heard about the N.W.T.-Nunavut travel bubble, she thought her summer was saved. Though she’s lived in Yellowknife since 2001, she loves returning to her home town, Rankin Inlet. 

“I was like, ‘Wow this is so awesome!'” she said. “It’s pretty neat to have this [COVID-19-]free zone that you can travel in.” 

The mood shifted when she found out that the only airline with scheduled flights between the two territories is still running far fewer flights, at higher costs to customers. 

The airline has cancelled direct flights between Yellowknife to Rankin Inlet to Iqaluit. Passengers from Yellowknife now have to overnight in Cambridge Bay, then take a second flight that goes to Rankin Inlet and on to Iqaluit. A one-night stay in a hotel in Cambridge Bay costs about $250. 

“You know what?” Marin said. “I can’t really do that.” 

Inukshuk Aksalnik, who lives in Nunavut, looked into making the trip from Iqaluit to Yellowknife. She stopped when she found out the cost. 

“I’ll wait for the airline to reintroduce the Iqaluit-Rankin-Yellowknife flight and hope it doesn’t cost $9,000 for a family of three,” Aksalnik said. 

90 per cent drop in business

Andrew Pope, vice-president with Canadian North, said although the travel bubble came as “encouraging and welcoming news for our business,” the company has a long way to go before it’s back to business as usual. 

The airline has seen an 80 to 90 per cent drop in passengers since the onset of the pandemic, he said. It’s now offering about 50 per cent of the flights they had before. 

And even that leaves planes a lot emptier than they used to be, Pope said.

As for prices, Pope said they haven’t raised any, but in some cases, new routing has almost doubled the fare. 

The federal and territorial governments have given the newly merged airline millions of dollars to stay afloat through the crisis. 

In May, Canadian North got over $5 million in federal pandemic relief funds filtered through the N.W.T. government. Nunavut has offered federal pandemic bailout money along with payments to make up for what the government would normally pay for medical and government travel.

Pope said his company has been working closely with the territorial governments to maintain an essential level of service. He said that’s how they arrived at the revised routing of Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay to Iqaluit. 

However, he also said new flights and routes would be considered as demand returns. 

And while the company is grateful for the support it’s receive so far, he said the airline will need even more. 

“Even with some of the gains that we have seen in the last month, it still does look like a very long road to recovery.”

For Marin, who hopes to make her trip in August or September, she plans to wait and see what the options are before she books anything.   

She said a Canadian North travel agent she spoke to said the airline is now making plans “month by month.” 

“At one point we were day by day, week by week, now we’re month by month, which is pretty good,” said Marin. “Maybe soon we’ll be open and go wherever we please.”

Written by Sara Minogue, with files from Kate Kyle

WestJet releases July schedule to get Canadians exploring again

From WestJet, an Alberta Partnership

Airline continues to focus on significant safety and hygiene enhancements to ensure a safe travel journey

CALGARY, AB, June 15, 2020 /CNW/ – WestJet today released its updated July schedule, developed to allow Canadians the pleasure of summer travel while economically supporting communities across the country in safely reopening travel and domestic tourism. In addition, the airline has added flights to select U.S. markets.

To ensure guests can book with confidence, the airline maintains its stringent Safety Above All hygiene program and continues to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies.

“Today’s schedule reflects our commitment to orderly and safe travel while providing steps to allow Canadians to get out, explore, and take part in critical economic activities like staying in hotels, eating out, visiting tourist attractions or simply just travelling to see friends and family,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Governments and Canadians from coast-to-coast are working together to lessen the impact of this pandemic and we are grateful that these efforts have put us in a position to add more options for travel this July.”

From July 5 through August 4, 2020, WestJet will offer operations to 45 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S. and one in Mexico an increase of approximately 102 per cent more flights from June, but down 76 per cent from July 2019.

Continued von zur Muehlen, “As we emerge from the pandemic, health vigilance must be balanced with the gradual reopening of our economy. WestJet has done our part and spent millions of dollars to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and our people. We’re ready to get Canadians flying.”

On March 22, WestJet suspended its international and transborder operations. The airline’s schedule now contains flights to key transborder and international destinations including Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta (ATL) and Las Vegas (LAS).

“Jurisdictions around the world are opening, allowing citizens to begin flying once again which is kickstarting their economies for recovery. We’ve heard from the communities we serve and look forward to having Canadians safely participate and stimulate domestic tourism this summer,” stated von zur Muehlen.

At this time, the airline is planning on operating the following domestic routes and frequencies from July 5 – August 4.

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