Air Canada's new Ottawa-Toronto Island route to take flight this month

Air Canada Express Jazz

In another sign that Canada’s hard-hit aviation industry is regaining altitude, Air Canada says it plans to start flying between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Ottawa at the end of the month.

The country’s largest airline said Thursday the service will begin Oct. 31 with four return flights daily to Ottawa and four to Toronto. The frequency will eventually increase to eight return trips a day next summer.

The route will be operated by Air Canada Express Jazz using De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft. It’s the first time in 15 years that the carrier will offer service between the nation’s capital and the Toronto Island airport.

“Additional travel options for our passengers on popular routes are always appreciated,” Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, said in a statement. “As the airport and industry recover from the effects of the pandemic, YOW’s growing air service is meeting the needs of our community members who have been waiting to travel.”

Over the past few months, a growing number of airlines have announced they’re resuming service at Ottawa International Airport as the travel industry looks to lift itself out of its pandemic-fuelled slump.

Sun destinations

Newfoundland-based PAL Airlines began serving the capital in July after scuttling plans to launch its Ottawa routes in 2020 due to the pandemic, while Porter Airlines resumed its Ottawa service in September after grounding flights early last year. 

Sunwing Airlines said in late August it plans to start flying to 11 destinations in Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic in November, with weekly flights running until March or April 2022.

While the number of flights serving the city has picked up in recent months, air traffic is still down dramatically compared with pre-COVID levels. 

As a result, the airport – which relies on improvement fees charged to passengers as well as terminal and landing fees, concession revenues and parking fees for most of its revenues – racked up a net loss of $51.2 million in 2020 and expects to incur an even bigger deficit this year.