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Pascan Aviation begins airline service at Kingston Airport

A photo of the SAAB340 aircraft on the airport runway. Photo Credit: Pascan Aviation

On Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, the City of Kingston announced that the airline Pascan Aviation will begin service to Kingston Airport in March 2022.

At present, Pascan Aviation serves 11 locations in Quebec and Labrador, including two airports in Montreal and one in Quebec City. The airline currently operates 90 daily commercial flights, and in 2022 will be expanding service into Ontario.

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson expressed his enthusiasm for the inclusion of Kingston in Pascan Aviation’s planned expansion. “I’m thrilled to welcome Pascan to Kingston. Air service has been impacted across the globe as a result of the pandemic and Kingston was no exception. I applaud the outstanding efforts of airport staff and community partners in helping to bring air service safely back to the community.”

Speaking at a press conference, Craig Desjardins, Acting Commissioner of Corporate Services and the Accountable Executive at Kingston Airport, agreed. “Like many sectors in our economy, the aviation sector and our airport have been extremely hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic. This has been incredibly frustrating given that we had made a significant investment in our airport, the expansion of our terminal, an extension of our runways, just before the pandemic hit. We’re so pleased [to announce] this significant investment by a partner.”

Mayor Paterson added that this new partnership is poised to offer a major boost to economic recovery in the Kingston region from the effects of the pandemic. “Now is the time to build new partnerships and begin exploring new opportunities for air travel, and this partnership is the beginning of a new season of air travel,” he noted. “Tourism is poised for a strong recovery. This partnership with Pascan Aviation will connect Kingston with a key market in Montreal, providing ease of access for visitors.”

When asked about the estimated economic impact that this partnership is expected to have on the Kingston area, Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston noted that the overall economic impact of tourism in Kingston, going by pre-pandemic numbers, is over $500 million annually. “And so now we’ll have the ability to offer travelers more of an ease to come to Kingston more effectively and efficiently. And also it allows us to grow within each sector, whether it’s film, whether it’s sports… Our ability to grow those sectors now with reliable flights is only going to grow the impact of the tourism economy in Kingston.”

Additionally, Pascan Aviation notes that the company has formed interline agreements with Air Canada and Air Transat, allowing passengers to plan flights that “seamlessly connect anywhere in the world where Air Canada and Air Transat fly.”

Pascan Aviation CEO Julian Roberts praised Kingston’s leadership and organization throughout the partnership process. “It was one of the determining factors that really got us to jump in and start working with [Kingston] so rapidly. We’re so impressed by every level of your organization, of your community. We’re excited to start our first flights on the 12th of March.”

Yani Gagnon, Executive Vice-President of Pascan Aviation, described the aircraft that will be stationed in Kingston. “It’s a SAAB340, it’s a 34-seater with full-service onboard. So for passengers that were previously travelling on Air Canada, it’s pretty similar to the Dash-8 37-seater that Air Canada was offering.”

In an interview, Gagnon described some of their airline’s efforts to address environmental and sustainability concerns about the impact of air travel, particularly given the local context of the City of Kingston’s declaration of the reality of a climate emergency. “The SAAB340 is known for its performance. It’s roughly 20% less in fuel consumption per seat than some of its competitors. So we’re really proud about that.”

Roberts added that SAAB has recently announced that their aircraft could use up to 50% biofuel. “We are certified by the manufacturers and the engine manufacturers to use biofuel. The problem is, is having access to biofuel in Canada is almost impossible. And [it’s] 10 times higher than the price of regular fuel. So, you know, until we can get some kind of incentive program, maybe from the government, we want to do it, we have the technology to do it. We just need access to a reasonable pricing on that biofuel.”

Flight service will be offered Monday through Friday at 6:10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., and flights will depart from Kingston on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Paterson summed up the benefits of this partnership by stating, “This is really a huge step forward for us in being able to offer great air service for Kingstonians to get to the rest of the world and for the rest of the world to come to Kingston.”

Kingston City Councillor Wayne Hill, who represents the Lakeside District and acts as the Chair of the Airport Advisory Committee, noted in the press conference that strong communication about these new travel options for residents of the Kingston area will be an important next step. “We’re going to get out there and make sure that people understand what kind of service is available to them, and how broad it is… As Mayor Paterson said, it links us to the world again.”

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