80 years strong: American Airlines celebrates decades of service to Canada

80 years strong: American Airlines celebrates decades of service to Canada

TORONTO — American Airlines is celebrating 80 years of service to Canada as it looks to ramp up operations from additional Canadian gateways next spring.

On June 24, 1941, the airline operated its first-ever international passenger flight from Buffalo, New York to Toronto Canada with a Douglas DC-3 aircraft carrying just 21 customers onboard.

Now 80 years later, and despite the toughest year on record for the aviation industry, American has maintained its close ties to Canada by providing critical service during the pandemic from four airports: Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR). Three additional gateways – Halifax (YHZ), Quebec (YQB) and Ottawa (YOW) – are scheduled to resume operations in Spring 2022.

“I want to thank and congratulate our incredible team members in Canada who have formed our proud history operating our Canadian routes for 80 years,” said José A. Freig, American’s Vice President of International Operations. “Our first flight to Toronto paved the way for our international network expansion. I am grateful to our customers, Toronto Pearson Airport and our team members for being part of this remarkable journey.”

Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), added that the airport is proud to have played a role in American’s history. 

“Over the last 80 years, Toronto Pearson has grown to be Canada’s largest airport and our strong partnership with American Airlines has been key to our growth story,” he said. “This partnership will remain vital as travel restrictions begin to ease and we work collaboratively to continue prioritizing health and safety when welcoming back passengers.”

This summer American is offering service from Toronto (Charlotte 2x/daily, Chicago 1x/daily, and Dallas-Fort Worth 1x/daily), Calgary (Dallas-Fort Worth 2x/daily), Montreal (Charlotte 1x/daily) and Vancouver (Dallas-Fort Worth 1x/daily).

Noting that the Canadian government is beginning to ease travel restrictions, Nate Gatten, Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs for American Airlines, said the team is eager to build back its service to Canada as recovery progresses.

“As Canadian officials consider the path forward for travel and deliberate the easing of restrictions still in place, American stands ready to reconnect friends and family, enable long-awaited getaways and support the economic connection between the U.S. and Canada – all with an unwavering focus on the health and safety of our customers and team members,” said Gatten.

American was the first U.S. airline to introduce VeriFLY, a mobile health passport that helps customers understand and verify travel requirements. Customers can use the free app when travelling on American from all international destinations to the U.S.