Commercial service resumes at Toronto's Billy Bishop airport following 18-month suspension
After an 18-month suspension of commercial flights at Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport due to COVID-19, planes are once again taking to the sky.
Porter Airlines, one of two carriers that operate out of the Toronto Islands airport, first suspended commercial flight operations back on March 21, 2020 but was forced to repeatedly push back its scheduled return to operations due to the evolving nature of the pandemic.
“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” Porter Airlines President and CEO Michael Deluce said in a news release issued Wednesday.
“We currently have over 900 team members who have put in countless hours to get everything ready for our return to service, with more being recalled or hired every week. Everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again."
Last month, Porter introduced a COVID-19 vaccination policy for all of its team members mandating that they must either be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to their shift. Porter claimed to be the first Canadian airline to introduce such safety measures.
Days later, Air Canada, which also operates flights at the airport, introduced a similar policy for its employees. However, Canada’s largest carrier went a step further in mandating that all staff members who are not vaccinated by Oct. 30 would face termination or be sent on unpaid leave.
Today we mark a return to commercial service at Billy Bishop Airport and a return to the business, passengers and experiences that make our airport truly unique and inspire our love of travel.
Welcome back, from all of us at @BBishopAirport. #YTZ #FlyYTZ #TorontoCityAirport pic.twitter.com/dGUvLUvtEe
Mayor John Tory and Ontario Minister Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod were on hand to mark the commemorative first flight.
Currently, Billy Bishop is only hosting domestic flights to Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John’s, and Thunder Bay.
Flights to the U.S. out of Billy Bishop are expected to resume on Sept. 17.
Event organizers say the resumption of commercial flights coincides with the 82nd anniversary of the airport’s first commercial flight in 1939.