On Wednesday morning, a Porter Airlines flight took off from Toronto Billy Bishop Airport to Montreal—it was the first time in nearly 18 months that the airline had a plane in the sky after suspending flight operations on March 21, 2020, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
As the Toronto-based airline officially “returned to the sky” today, hundreds of employees were recalled to “active status” as the first phase of flights was introduced. According to a press statement, more staff are being recalled or hired every week.
“We’ve recalled 700 team members and various groups have been going through extensive training and retraining, and, as well, getting ready to welcome customers back,” Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines, told BNN Bloomberg. He added that it’s been a “long 18 months” but they are happy to be operating again. “Over the next four weeks, we’ll progressively add destinations and frequencies to return our entire network back up and running.”
It is great to be flying again! Porter is officially back in the skies and today we’re welcoming passengers back to airports and onboard flights to Ottawa, Montreal, Thunder Bay and Toronto.
— Porter Airlines (@porterairlines) September 8, 2021
Flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay are the first to restart. Other Canadian destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, and Moncton.
U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6, with all routes currently available for booking.
In terms of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Porter is focusing on high levels of sanitization (i.e., their planes are fogged every 25 days with an electrostatic spray that continuously kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19), airport cleaning, and they have introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for team members.
“To support a safe and healthy workplace and travel experience, team members must present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift or be fully vaccinated,” the company noted in a statement.