Porter Airlines announced on Tuesday it has pushed back its restart date until December 15. This represents the sixth time the Canadian carrier has deferred resuming operations since suspending flights back in March.
The airline cited ‘continuing travel restrictions associated with COVID-19’ as the primary reason for the latest pushback. Before recent developments, Porter Airlines had planned to get flights back up and running by November 12.
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Details of new changes
After striving to resume flights by November 12, the airline made the decision to extend its suspension of flights as official travel restrictions show no sign of abating. President and CEO of Porter Airlines, Michael Deluce, said in a statement,
“The flare up of COVID-19 cases in certain markets during the last month dampened any expectation of changes to government restrictions that will enable us to begin flying again in November.”
As a gesture of goodwill to passengers, Porter Airlines is waiving all cancellation and booking change fees through December 15. However, the airline won’t be offering refunds on flights. Porter Escapes vacation packages are also eligible for free changes and cancellations.
Will they push back flights again?
Given that the airline has suspended its resumption of flights multiple times this year, travelers may take the December 15 date with a pinch of salt. Whether or not flights resume in December is dependant on many external factors outside the carrier’s control. Porter Airlines stated on its website,
“We are closely watching developments and know that Porter will be an important part of providing people with travel options as the economy recovers.”
If demand for air travel fails to pick up and tight travel restrictions remain in place, the airline may have no choice but to defer its resumption date yet again. Despite Porter Airlines operating its first flight in September, scheduled commercial flights won’t be back until December at the earliest.
Navigating difficult territory
It’s been particularly difficult for Porter Airlines to stay afloat during the COVID pandemic. Canadian travel restrictions are among the strictest worldwide, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for all incoming passengers. Additionally, the US-Canada border has been shut off to all non-essential travel since March 21.
The airline remains optimistic about resuming flights in the near future. However, prospects will look increasingly grim if Canadian restrictions are not eased off. CEO Michael Deluce has suggested that the matter is ultimately out of their hands:
“The federal government is indicating that they need more confidence about what course the pandemic will take before restrictions are reconsidered. We hope that lifting of travel restrictions will soon be possible given evolving technology, such as rapid testing, and health and safety investments that the travel industry is making.”
Do you think travel restrictions in Canada are too harsh? Let us know in the comments.