Jazz announces temporary suspension of Toronto City Centre Airport services
Jazz Air LP today advised Air Canada it will be temporarily suspending service to and from Toronto City Centre Airport for the month of March 2006.
HALIFAX, Feb. 15 /CNW/ – Jazz Air LP (Air Canada Jazz) today advised Air Canada that due to the continuing uncertainty created by its eviction from the Toronto City Centre Airport, and the unwillingness of the Toronto Port Authority to assist in securing an alternate facility, it will be temporarily suspending service to and from Toronto City Centre Airport for the month of March 2006. Air Canada Jazz operates five weekday round trips to Ottawa. This service suspension leaves the Toronto City Centre Airport without commercial air service.
At the present time, bookings will not be accepted for travel during the month of March 2006 on flights to and from the Toronto City Centre Airport, and Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz are taking the necessary steps to ensure that those passengers who have already booked their travel are protected on alternate services at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
"We apologize to the many loyal Toronto City Centre Airport customers who will be impacted by this situation", said Bill Bredt, Air Canada Jazz's Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "We view this suspension as a temporary measure made necessary by an unforeseen eviction, and the surprising
unwillingness by the Toronto Port Authority to assist its longest-standing commercial airline in finding alternate facilities at the Island Airport. Jazz will pursue every recourse available to re-establish operations at the City Centre Airport as soon as possible", he added.
Air Canada Jazz operates 10 of its 738 system-wide weekday departures through the Toronto City Centre Airport. It is the sole airline to have maintained uninterrupted service to the Island Airport for the past 16 years, and is currently the only provider of scheduled air service from this airport. Over those 16 years, Jazz has paid approximately $53 million in landing, terminal and other user charges to support the operations of the Toronto City Centre Airport.
On January 31, 2006, City Centre Aviation Limited, controlled by Robert Deluce, served a 30-day Notice of Termination to Air Canada Jazz, ending the lease agreement at Toronto City Centre Airport. Since receiving the termination notice, Air Canada Jazz has been working with airport stakeholders to secure an alternate lease arrangement. Several initiatives, including discussions with the Toronto Port Authority's CEO, Lisa Raitt, have not resulted in a resolution of this issue.
"Although we have continually stressed the need for quick resolution to this matter in order to protect the interests of our customers and employees, discussions with the Toronto Port Authority have not progressed substantially beyond their basic unwillingness to assist Jazz in finding alternate accommodations", added Bill Bredt. "We regret that the lack of meaningful progress leaves us with no alternative but to temporarily suspend our operations at Toronto City Centre Airport".
As a result of the service suspension, Air Canada Jazz is forced to issue furlough notices to all Jazz employees based at the Toronto City Centre Airport. The carrier will endeavour to provide the affected staff with alternate employment elsewhere within the Jazz network. The Toronto City Centre Airport is a public facility which has been built over the years with public dollars. Air Canada Jazz will continue to pursue every option, including legal action, to protect its interests, those of its Toronto City Centre Airport customers, its employees and the traveling public. Fair and equal access to this public facility is needed to ensure Jazz's long-term presence at Toronto City Centre Airport.
Jazz Air LP (Air Canada Jazz) is the largest regional airline and the second largest airline in Canada after Air Canada, based on fleet size and number of routes operated. Jazz forms an integral part of Air Canada's domestic and transborder market presence and strategy. Pursuant to the capacity purchase agreement between Jazz and Air Canada, Jazz provides service to and from lower density markets as well as higher density markets at off-peak times throughout Canada and to and from certain destinations in the United States. As of February 1, 2006, Jazz operated scheduled passenger service on behalf of Air Canada with approximately 738 departures per weekday to 56 destinations in Canada and 22 destinations in the United States with a fleet of 127 aircraft.