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Porter and Air Canada Rouge return to the skies months after COVID-19 groundings

Porter says it has enhanced its health standards with high levels of sanitization to protect passengers and employees
A Porter Airlines plane lands next to a taxiing plane at Toronto's Island Airport on November 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Porter Airlines and Air Canada Rouge flights have resumed for the first time in months after being grounded by COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

Porter flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay are the first to restart, followed by other Canadian destinations such as Halifax, Quebec City, St. John's and Moncton, N.B. within the next 10 days. Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington return Sept. 17 while other year-round destinations will resume Oct. 6.

“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” stated airline president and CEO Michael Deluce.

The Toronto-based airline is recalling hundreds of workers as the resumption of operations accelerate following a nearly 18-month grounding.

Porter says it has enhanced its health standards with high levels of sanitization to protect passengers and employees.

Employees must be fully vaccinated or present negative COVID-19 tests administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

Bookings made before Sept. 30, will be eligible to change or cancel with no fees. Passengers also have the option to pay $40 plus taxes to receive a full refund upon advance cancellation of their flight for any reason.

Air Canada's leisure airline, Rouge, resumed service on Tuesday with flights between Toronto and Las Vegas, Orlando and Regina, with other southern destinations being added in September.

"As we emerge from the pandemic, we anticipate increased demand for vacation travel and from customers flying to enjoy overdue visits with family and friends," stated Jon Turner, president of Rouge operations.

Rouge had been suspended since last spring.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC).

The Canadian Press