Encouraging sign of recovery as PAL Airlines announces regional route restoration in Atlantic Canada

For immediate release

[Halifax: April 8th, 2021] – Atlantic Canada’s airports are pleased regional partner PAL Airlines will be adding 6 Atlantic Canada airports to their route network this spring and summer. New service will begin between May 10th and August 2nd out of airports in Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Saint John and Bathurst and new routes added at airports in Deer Lake, Moncton, Goose Bay, Gander and St. John’s.

“This is an encouraging sign for our airports and the potential for air travel recovery for our region. Some of these inter-regional routes in Atlantic Canada were the first to be cut amid the pandemic last June,”

says Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association.

She says, “We are pleased to see PAL Airlines, an established regional carrier that has been operating in our region for over 40 years, indicate their plans to enhance air service in our communities and partner with national carriers to bolster connectivity to our region.”

With the expected Atlantic Bubble opening on April 19th there is potential for more leisure travel within our Atlantic Provinces. Starting in May, PAL Airlines is adding service between Fredericton-Deer Lake-St. John’s, Goose Bay-Halifax, Gander-Deer Lake-Halifax, Sydney-Halifax and Moncton-Halifax.

Beginning August 2nd, new routes are scheduled servicing Halifax from Charlottetown, Saint John and Fredericton. As well as, a new service from Bathurst to Montreal and Fredericton to Ottawa.

“When our population is vaccinated and the time is right to travel, these will be important routes to connect our region to the rest of Canada,” notes Pasher. “We are certainly encouraged to see an established and reputable Atlantic Canadian company like PAL Airlines stepping up to serve our communities.”

“Our region’s airports will continue to work closely with PAL Airlines and other industry partners going forward to build sustainable aviation services here in Atlantic Canada.”

Pasher says that now is the time to plan ahead for the safe recovery of our region’s tourism sector. These air routes announced for August are based on cautious optimism that our provincial governments will set a target date and plan for a safe reopening to all Canadians and let our tourism industry know what to expect for the upcoming season.

The single greatest question that remains is – what scenario do public health officials envision that will result in a decision to lift mandatory self-isolation requirements for fellow Canadians arriving in Atlantic Canada once our population is vaccinated. Even though now is clearly not the time to travel, our industry needs to plan ahead and know what the key targets are, so we can begin planning and be in a proper ready state as the safe re-opening of our economies continues.

Pasher notes, “Planning ahead for a safe restart is critical for our sector, as is government financial support. Our airports still have a long, hard road ahead to recover financially from the havoc that COVID-19 has had on air travel,” says Pasher.

Atlantic Canada’s airports business has been decimated throughout COVID. Down 90%, they have experienced a net loss of over $80 million in 2020.

Media Inquiries:

Monette Pasher, Executive Director, Atlantic Canada Airports Association
Cell: (902) 802-5651
Email: Monette@acairports.ca

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