New Brunswick

It's official: First Air Canada flight will touch down at Saint John Airport on June 29

The first post-pandemic flights into and out of Saint John Airport have now been confirmed, with Air Canada touching down on the runway on June 29.

Airport readies for post-pandemic relaunch as airline announces resumption of service dates for 50 airports

Saint John Airport acting CEO Greg Hierlihy says airline staff are onsite at the airport, training and preparing for flight resumption in two weeks. (Credit: Brian Comeau)

The first post-pandemic flights into and out of Saint John Airport have now been confirmed.

On June 29, exactly two weeks from today, Air Canada Flight ACA8790 from Montreal will touch down at YSJ at 9:18 p.m., officially reopening travel out of the airport. It will be the first commercial flight the airport has seen since January.

The airport's first departure will follow on June 30 with an Air Canada flight to Montreal.

"It's exciting," acting CEO Greg Hierlihy said in an interview on Tuesday. "We've been waiting for this."

From June 29 on, there will be three Air Canada flights a week to Montreal from Saint John, and four flights a week to Toronto, beginning in July.

Flair Airlines, an ultra low-cost carrier that has chosen Saint John Airport as its only New Brunswick destination, has confirmed it will begin flights out of YSJ on Saturday, July 3, Hierlihy said.

News comes as N.B. moves to Phase 1 of reopening

Earlier Tuesday, Air Canada released its resumption-of-services dates for 50 Canadian cities, including three new Western Canada routes.

Also on Tuesday, New Brunswick's Chief Medical Officer of Health announced the province had hit its target of 75 per cent of the eligible population having a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

That launches Phase 1 of the province's reopening plan at midnight, with loosened restrictions that will include the elimination of the steady-15 contacts requirement and allowing residents of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Cumberland County in Nova Scotia, and Avignon and Témiscouata, Que., to visit without having to isolate or get tested.

Hierlihy said he has not heard whether there will be any COVID-19 testing required at the airport.

"We don't decide that," he said. "As far as I know, there'll be no testing, there's been no talk about testing. That's a Public Health decision ... and we'll follow whatever the protocol is."

In the meantime, he said, the airport has brought office staff back full time, and several airlines also have staff onsite.

"Air Canada staff are in the building this week and are doing training" in preparation for the relaunch, as are Flair Airlines staff, Hierlihy said.  

"That's a welcome sight," he said. "That's how we know it's really real, seeing the people who are going to be manning the counter here, in the building. It's great." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Sutherland is a web writer with CBC News based in Saint John. You can reach her at marie.sutherland@cbc.ca.

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