The first Porter Airlines plane does a fly past at the city centre airport in Toronto, Tuesday Aug. 29, 2006. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Porter Airlines has extended its temporary flight suspension until after the holiday season and into the new year.

The airline, which is headquartered at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, temporarily halted operations in March as non-essential travel was banned and public health restrictions were put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Flights were originally slated to resume on June 1 but the suspension has been extended numerous times.

In a news release issued on Monday morning, the airline said that it now hopes to resume services by Feb. 11, 2021.

Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, said the decision to defer service until 2021 was not something the airline had anticipated.

“Every delay to restarting flights has the greatest effect on our team members, who are eager to do their part to help serve customers under safe conditions,” he said in a statement Monday.

“Unfortunately, the continued and cumulative effects of restrictive travel advisories, border closures and quarantines have suffocated travel demand to the point that a return to sustainable levels of passenger traffic is highly unlikely in 2020.”

Porter Airlines said they chose to start planning to restart flights after “the traditionally slow post-holiday January period” to give more time for the government to lift travel restrictions and for the development of rapid COVID-19 testing.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March. The restrictions were last extended until Nov. 21.