TORONTO — Even in a pandemic, people are launching new airlines.
The latest is Connect Airlines, which looks to offer flights out of Toronto Billy Bishop City Airport to destinations in the northeast and midwest U.S. starting in October 2021.
Porter Airlines, operating out of YTZ since 2006, already flies to several U.S. destinations including Boston, Chicago (Midway), Newark and Washington-Dulles, as well as more than a dozen Canadian destinations. Porter’s operations are currently suspended through May 19 due to the pandemic.
The company behind Connect Airlines is based in Boston as a jet charter operator called Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA).
WMA says Connect Airlines will use Canadian-built Q400 turboprop aircraft, the same aircraft used by Porter. Connect Airlines is geared to “day-tripping business travellers” looking for direct flights into Toronto’s downtown core. The airline’s operations are still subject to regulatory approvals.
“We are passionate about how aviation brings people, cultures and business together. Especially in these challenging times, we are committed to delivering the world’s most rewarding premium travel experience with safety, service, convenience and reliability,” says WMA’s CEO, John Thomas.
Thomas is a 35-year veteran of the aviation industry, including a stint as Group Executive at Virgin Australia Airlines. He’s also on the board of Skyservice and Icelandair Group.
Connect Airlines isn’t the only airline looking to get off the ground in Canada amid a pandemic. In July 2020 OWG announced it was planning to offer flights from Quebec to sun destinations in the Caribbean, and teamed up with Hola Sun for service to Cuba.