Canadian Dash 8 operator Porter Airlines has once more pushed back the date for its service resumption. The regional carrier, based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, will remain grounded until at least May 19th, citing government travel restrictions as the reason for the prolonged delay.
Early spring start ‘unviable’
The woes for Canadian airlines continue. With protracted travel restrictions, the country’s commercial aviation industry remains under intense pressure. Toronto-based regional carrier Porter Airlines announced Monday it would again push back its return to service.
The carrier previously intended to return to the skies on March 29th. However, in light of the ongoing crisis, the new date for operation resumptions has been set for May 19th. The decision, it said, was directly influenced by the more severe restrictions imposed by the authorities on travel.
“The implementation of more restrictive travel rules by governments since our last update makes an early spring restart unviable,” said Michael Deluce, CEO and president of Porter Airlines, in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
“While there are signs of progress in containing the pandemic, it is necessary to reset our sights based on changing conditions. We remain optimistic that things are moving in the right direction, but it is possible that this tentative date may also need to be modified if vaccinations don’t accelerate to enable the easing of travel restrictions,” Mr Deluce continued.
Moving the target
This means that none of the airline’s 29 De Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8s will have carried any passengers for over a year. Porter Airlines suspended operations on March 21st, 2020, due to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. Since then, its planned flight resumption has been pushed back at least five times, not counting today’s announcement.
At first, the airline meant to begin flying again by June. It then pushed the date back to October, and subsequently to November, and December, and then to March. Its entire fleet has now been parked for close to a year, apart from one that performed a series of flights across the region back in September last year.
Canada’s latest restrictions
Porter Airlines is based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) on the Toronto Islands in Ontario. Before the suspension of services, it operated to 17 destinations in Canada, including its hub at YTZ and five cross-border destinations.
The latest announcement comes after Canada’s new hotel quarantine rule came into effect on February 22nd. Besides providing a negative PCR-test result no older than 72 hours prior to departure, international arrivals must now quarantine for three days in a designated hotel while awaiting new test results.
Furthermore, international passenger flights remain restricted to Canada’s four largest airports – Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. While there are no federal domestic travel restrictions, some provinces and territories have their own quarantine rules.