Toronto flights returning to Fredericton as early as June 26
Air Canada and WestJet are both set to make a return to the Fredericton International Airport by late June
As higher vaccination rates are expected to bring loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the Fredericton International Airport is preparing to welcome the return of flights to cities like Toronto and Montreal by the end of June.
Johanne Gallant, the airport's president and CEO, said WestJet is set to bring back Toronto flights on June 26, while Air Canada is expected to bring back Montreal flights on June 28 and Toronto flights on July 1.
PAL Airlines will also start offering flights from Fredericton to Deer Lake, N.L., and St. John's, as well as Halifax and Ottawa later this summer.
Speaking on CBC's Information Morning Fredericton show, Gallant said the flights that are returning won't bring the airport back to its normal capacity, but it's a good start.
"So we had more frequency than that pre-pandemic, however, this is a really good start," Gallant said.
"And they [the airlines] will measure the demand. This is all [supply] and demand, so as the flight fills up and the demands grow, we'll see more and more flights."
Gallant said it's been a tough year for airlines, which have weathered a crash in demand due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel.
However, she said they're gearing up for a return to normal and making sure things are safe for passengers when they start flying again.
"And at the airport also, we're increasing, you know, the safety aspect — cleanliness and everything else. So we're hoping with the vaccination rates going up that things will start to resume to some normalcy."
In an email, WestJet spokesperson Madison Kruger said the company is watching provincial reopening plans and vaccine rollout efforts.
"We are encouraged by the provincial reopening plans announced that promote the return of travel in Atlantic Canada, based on science, data and vaccination levels as early as July 1, 2021, in New Brunswick," Kruger said.
"These plans provide a clear path and guidance towards allowing Canadians to safely travel to and from the province and will ensure WestJet can safely lead the restart of travel to this region."
Kruger confirmed WestJet will begin offering daily flights between Toronto and Fredericton as of June 26, as well as between Toronto and Moncton as of June 30.
Air Canada and PAL Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton