The City of Kingston and Tourism Kingston announced today that a Toronto-based airline, FLYGTA, will begin offering flights to Kingston this September. FLYGTA’s service between Norman Rogers Airport and Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island starts on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.
“We are thrilled that our beautiful airport will welcome visitors,” said Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston.
According to Cameron Thomas, spokesperson for FLYGTA, the flights will operate four days per week, with two daily trips on Thursdays and Fridays, and four flights on Saturdays and Sundays. Thomas said fares will range from $39 to $99 to start, during a three-month promotional period. The airline will operate an eight-passenger, King Air craft.
The City is calling it the first step towards potential daily air service down the road. It also fills the gap left behind by Air Canada, which discontinued flights between Toronto and Kingston in June.
Tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to Tourism Kingston, visitors flying into Kingston will be advised of local COVID-19 restrictions, and offered “specialized packages that combine return airfare with accommodations and regional attractions.”
“It is our mission to promote the local tourism industry, but the number one priority of every Canadian at this time is public health,” Knott said. “This is why the City and Tourism Kingston have worked closely with FLYGTA to ensure that every safety measure is in place so that when regional travellers arrive they know what will be expected of them while staying in Kingston.”
Kingston has been in Stage Three of provincial reopening since Friday, Jul 17, 2020, with relatively low local prevalence of COVID-19. The last five locally confirmed cases of COVID-19, dating back to Friday, Jul 24, were connected to travel outside of the area.
Meanwhile, the province seems to be experiencing a slight resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Ontario has reported over 100 cases per day for the past five days, after dipping as low as only 33 new cases on Tuesday, Aug. 11. The province added 148 new cases on Saturday, Aug. 29, the highest number since Friday, July 24, 2020.
Despite the pandemic, CEO of FLYGTA Group Chris Nowrouzi, said he feels this is the right time to introduce service.
“With most of the province in Stage Three and Ontarians looking for additional travel options, we remain dedicated to serving the needs of Kingston and the regional traveller,” he said. “We…hope together we can support the safe return of Canadian tourism.”
Mayor welcomes ‘new opportunities for air travel’
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said he’s thrilled to welcome FLYGTA to Kingston. “This partnership will benefit our city’s economic recovery and provide our residents with a fast and convenient link to Toronto,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how the expansion of our airport is creating new opportunities for air travel to and from Kingston.”
Thomas said the airline’s plan to expand into Kingston predate Air Canada’s exit, and the pandemic.
“Kingston was a main market that we’ve been targeting for a while,” Thomas said. “It’s a great summer market. Lots of great tourism to the Thousand Islands, etc. It’s a short flight, plus you’ve got all the schools and students needing to come and go.”
FLYGTA will also provide Kingstonians with a direct link to the Porter Airlines flight terminal on Toronto Island, and its network of North American destination cities.