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North Bay airport will see return of Air Canada flights

National carrier lands federal relief package with pledge to restore regional service
Jack Garland Airport
Jack Garland Airport, North Bay

A massive federal aid package for Air Canada is paying immediate dividends for the people of North Bay.

After cutting service to the northeastern Ontario airport last summer, the national air carrier pledges to resume flights to Jack Garland Airport after striking an agreement with Ottawa this week.

The airline can access up to $5.4 billion in loans provided regional service is restored, executive compensation is capped, and passengers are refunded for flights cancelled because of the pandemic.

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Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota said regional airports are important to business and residents across Canada, and the federal government is doing its part to support the return of commercial air traffic across the entire aviation sector.

Assuming travel bans are lifted, Air Canada will resume service to all suspended stations by June 1.

Air Canada has given Ottawa their assurance that service will not be suspended on any additional routes and have committed that each regional airport where service is restored will "receive a minimum level of service."

In a news release, Rota said he's been working on this since last July.

“I’ve been working closely with North Bay Mayor Al McDonald and council and city staff to ensure we could find a way to bring Air Canada service back to North Bay. I want to thank Mayor McDonald and everyone else involved for pushing this issue and showing how critical transportation infrastructure is to the city and the region.”

Under Ottawa's Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, Air Canada has access to $4 billion in loans, including $1.5 billion as a secured loan, and $2.5 billion in unsecured loans. Air Canada will also have access to an additional unsecured tranche of financing that bears a lower interest rate (based on government bonds) and a longer term (seven years) than the company’s more general liquidity loans. The maximum amount of financing available for voucher reimbursement is $1.4 billion.

A condition of this agreement is that Air Canada must maintain its current workforce of 14,859 employees.