Pivot Airlines announced in a recent press release that they are partnering with the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF) to provide scheduled flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Windsor.
The press release states that service will commence upon receipt of the necessary approvals and is contingent on the removal of COVID-19 travel-related restrictions. Flights will be operated with Canadian made CRJ Jets and De Havilland Dash 8 Regional Turboprops.
Brock Henderson, Vice President of Operations Control at Pivot Airlines, said that “COVID-19 is affecting our launch date and we are watching very carefully how September plays out as students return to school. We are probably going to adjust our launch date.”
Upon commencement of flights, Pivot aims to maintain safety standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We intend for the launch of the airlines to be highly focused on sanitization procedures and seating arrangements when boarding the aircraft. We are also focusing on smaller facilities that are easier for facility keepers to maintain a high level of sanitization,” Henderson said.
The agreement will allow Pivot to build maintenance, operations, and office facilities at YKF.
“[The] Region of Waterloo has for a very long time maintained an excellent facility at the YKF. When we were looking for opportunities to re-enter the scheduled airline business, we looked around the Province and YKF stood out as the single really best opportunity in Southern Ontario and even in the country,” Henderson said.
Chris Wood, Airport General Manager for the Region of Waterloo International Airport, said that “[they’ve] been trying to secure additional airline service at the airport for a long time and Pivot was really interested in our market in potentially serving some business routes.”
“We have a large affluent population that want to travel to these destinations, and they haven’t historically been able to do that from their local airport. The only way to travel is through another airport. So, this will allow them to save time and also potentially allow same day trips,” Wood said.
Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Windsor are being offered as part of Pivot’s launch routes. “These cities are in our launch plan and our intention is to serve as many airports in Ontario as quickly as we can,” Henderson said. “From a market point of view, there are about 800, 000 people who aren’t really served, so we saw this as an opportunity to serve.”
The Region expressed interest in catering their services to students. “The university students are a market we are interested in working with,” said Wood. “We are also planning to implement a GRT bus route directly to the airport. Students can potentially board directly from the University of Waterloo LRT station and that will connect to the GRT route.”
The partnership hopes to serve the community while also creating local jobs. “It is absolutely critical that the community responds and utilizes the service being provided,” Wood said.
“YKF is also helping with the marketing as the Region has an established marketing team,” Henderson said.
In the future, Pivot plans to expand its operations to serve other cities across Canada and even the US. “We are collecting market data and are looking at other destinations in Quebec, Maritimes and possibly Manitoba. We are also definitely watching south of the border as well,” Henderson said.
Pivot intends to provide services year-round. “Our intention is to operate year-round, and Kitchener is going to become a hub to our operation,” Henderson said.
“We are really excited to be starting this partnership with the Region of Waterloo, and I really hope the people of Kitchener embrace this (Pivot) as Kitchener’s airline.”