Canada’s first Ultra Low Cost Carrier announces service to Hawaii from Vancouver Island

Canada’s first Ultra Low Cost Carrier announces service to HawaiVANCOUVER ISLAND, BC, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ – The Comox Valley Airport Commission is pleased to announce a twice-weekly non-stop service from Comox to Honolulu onboard the nation’s first Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC), Fly YQQ.

The airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Comox Valley Airport Commission and has successfully overcome other ULCC hopefuls in the race to raise sufficient capital to commence commercial service in Canada.

“The Comox Valley Airport Commission has raised $20 million to fund the operation of Fly YQQ, including the purchase of one Boeing 737-700 series jet, from an unnamed source,” confirmed Frank van Gisbergen, Chair of the Comox Valley Airport Commission. “With a focus on low-price air fares and a genuinely innovative operating model, we are confident we can make this airline work and change the way airports approach air service development in the future.”

The idea for the airline came after more than a decade of air service development work by the Airport Commission which did not produce the non-stop route to Hawaii that local residents were demanding.

“The stiff competition for routes among Canadian airports makes it virtually impossible for an airport of our size to attract a carrier to serve a long-haul route like Hawaii,” explained Comox Valley Airport CEO, Fred Bigelow.  “We realized that we needed to look at our business case from another angle.  The resulting model is a way to provide our passengers with the route they want, while providing another revenue generation operation for the Comox Valley Airport Commission.”

Bigelow explained the Commission will take a cutting-edge approach that utilizes its 55 Airport Volunteers for above-wing services including ticketing, check-in and cabin crew. Pilots will be drawn from the large cadre of retired Air Force and airline pilots in the Valley and will offer their services for free, in exchange for complimentary flights on board Fly YQQ. Airport Commission employees will be trained to provide all below-wing services including baggage handling.

“This means everyone from the CEO to the Marketing Manager will be tossing suitcases into the belly of the plane,” said Bigelow.  “The money we save on labour will ensure a healthy return on our investment.  All revenue from the airline will go directly into the operation of the terminal building, helping to keep our fees low for our other carriers like Air Canada and WestJet.  Frankly, it is a win-win for everyone.”

Service to Honolulu is planned for winter 2015/16 with the first flight tentatively scheduled for November 1, pending the completion of a cabin remodel that will accommodate the ULCC operating principles of Fly YQQ’s business model. If all moves ahead according to schedule, ticket sales could begin as soon as July 2015.

“Ticket bookings will be through the Comox Valley Airport’s website and we will be asking passengers to pick up and pay for their tickets at the airport,” explained Bigelow. “To keep administration costs as low as possible, the only form of payment we will be accepting will be cash or travellers cheques.  While we understand this is a bit old-school, we believe the low-cost pricing structure of our airline will make this minor inconvenience worthwhile for passengers.”

Tickets on board Fly YQQ will begin at $150 per direction for the least desirable* seat, ranging up to $250 for the most desirable seat. Checked bags, carry-on luggage and sitting next to your children will cost extra. Though Bigelow jokes that parents may consider this a perk. Since galley kitchens will be converted to accommodate additional seating, passengers will need to bring their own food and water onboard. Fly YQQ will not carry an entertainment system but volunteer flight attendants will be trained to lead sing-alongs.

*Depending on capacity, least desirable seat could mean standing room only. Seatbelts will be provided to comply with Transport Canada regulations.

About FlyYQQ
Fly YQQ is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Comox Valley Airport Commission. Its purpose is to provide low-cost fares to Vancouver Island residents who are willing to forgo their own comfort to travel onboard our airport employee and volunteer run airline.  Fly YQQ prides itself on providing employment opportunities – particularly for those who are willing to work for free.  We believe in removing barriers to air service development for small Canadian airports– even if we have to start our own airline to do it.

Caution regarding forward-looking information
Certain information set forth in this news release is considered forward-looking information.   By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond Fly YQQ’s control. Readers are cautioned that undo reliance should not be placed upon any information contained in a press release that is issued before noon on April 1, 2015.

SOURCE Comox Valley Airport

TAM Airlines Launches New Gateway Toronto

TAM AIRLINES - TAM Airlines Launches New Gateway TorontoTORONTO, March 30, 2015 /CNW/ – Today, TAM Airlines, part of LATAM Airlines Group, celebrated the addition of Toronto as the fifth gateway for the Group in the USA and Canada and the launch of new service from Toronto Pearson International Airport to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The Canada milestone was celebrated with an event at Pearson with airport officials, LATAM Airlines Group executives and VIP guests.

The new TAM Airlines flights from Toronto Pearson to New York (JFK) will operate five times a week as an extension of existing TAM flights JJ8102 and JJ8103, which already link JFK with Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo. Flight JJ8102 will take off at 11:15 am ET from New York (JFK) and land in Toronto at 1:00 pm ET. Flight JJ8103 will take off from Toronto at 4:35 pm ET and land in New York at 6:40 pm ET.

“With this launch, Canadian passengers can easily travel from Toronto via JFK to over 115 South American destinations in the LATAM Airlines Group network including Santiago, Chile, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” said Pablo Chiozza, Senior Vice President, LATAM Airlines Group, USA, Canada and Caribbean.

“We are dedicated to continually offering an air travel product with the greatest connectivity in the Americas. At the same time, since 2011, we have been striving to be more efficient and make better use of our assets, given the current scenario of major competition and the increase in operating costs,” said Claudia Sender, CEO of TAM Airlines. “This route expansion has the added benefit of further optimizing aircraft use, as it takes advantage of the time during which the aircraft used on the São Paulo – New York route are idle on the ground at JFK.”

“Toronto Pearson is a hub for the movement of people and goods across the country, the continent and around the globe,” said Craig Bradbrook, Vice President, Aviation Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “The introduction of this new route from TAM Airlines offers more opportunities for passengers to connect to South America supporting our goal to offer them more choices in reaching many parts of the world.”

TAM Airlines will operate modern Boeing 767-300ER aircraft from Toronto. The aircraft is configured with 191 seats in Economy Class and another 30 in Premium Business, featuring seats that recline up to 180 degrees full flat.  For flights from Toronto Pearson to Sao Paulo via JFK, Premium Business class passengers can also enjoy an award-winning wine list with some of the best vintages from South America and Europe as well as an in-flight menu designed by the region’s leading chefs incorporating the flavors of South America with international cuisine. Economy Class passengers can enjoy ergonomic, reclining seats and adjustable headrests, as well as carefully selected, delicious meals, on-demand entertainment, individual flat screen TVs in each seat, free meals, wine and spirits, headphones, eye mask, blankets, pillows, etc.

The interiors of the redesigned TAM 767-300 aircraft were designed to provide a comfortable experience with the charm of South America. The interior design was inspired by the warm colors and textures of South America and reflects the attention to detail, reliability, and warmth that characterize the region.

TAM Airlines is the only Brazilian airline operating in Canada and is part of the oneworld® alliance.

About LATAM Airlines Group S.A.
LATAM Airlines Group S.A. is the new name given to LAN Airlines S.A. as a result of its association with TAM S.A. LATAM Airlines Group S.A. now includes LAN Airlines and its affiliates in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador, and LAN Cargo and its affiliates, as well as TAM S.A. and its subsidiaries TAM Linhas Aereas S.A., including its business units TAM TransportesAereos del Mercosur S.A., (TAM Airlines (Paraguay)) and Multiplus S.A. This association creates one of the largest airline groups in the world in terms of network connections, providing passenger transport services to about 135 destinations in 24 countries and cargo services to about 145 destinations in 27 countries, with a fleet of 323 aircraft. In total, LATAM Airlines Group S.A. has approximately 53,000 employees and its shares are traded in Santiago, as well as on the New York Stock Exchange, in the form of ADRs, and São Paulo Stock Exchange, in the form of BDRs.

Each airline will continue to operate under their current brands and identities. For any inquiry of LAN or TAM, please visit or, respectively. Further information at


Collision with terrain involving an Air Canada Airbus A320 at Stanfield International Airport, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The occurrence

C-FTJPOn 29 March 2015, at approximately 1240 a.m., Air Canada flight ACA 624, an Airbus A320, on a scheduled flight from Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, collided with terrain approximately 1100 feet from the threshold of Runway 05, eventually coming to rest about 1100 feet down the runway. There were 133 passengers and 5 crew members on board; all of whom exited the aircraft. Twenty-five people were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries.

What we know

The initial impact was significant and caused substantial damage to the aircraft. The main landing gear separated and the underside of the aircraft was heavily damaged (fuselage and wings). During this impact, the aircraft collided with a localizer antenna array – part of the instrument landing system – and became airborne again, travelling forward on Runway 05. There is an extensive debris field between the localizer antenna location and the threshold of the runway.

During the first day on site, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigators documented the wreckage, the impact marks and the debris field. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) were recovered from the aircraft and have been sent to the TSB Engineering Laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario.

Investigation team work

The investigation team is led by the Investigator-in-Charge, Doug McEwen. Mr. McEwen has been an investigator with the TSB for 18 years. He is assisted in this investigation by experts in flight operations, air traffic services, weather, aircraft structures, aircraft systems, aircraft engines, and human performance.

Some of these experts come from within the TSB, but assistance is also being provided by the following organizations: Transport Canada (TC), NAV CANADA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Airbus, and France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses. This is a normal part of any investigation, as these experts play a key role in helping the team uncover and understand all of the underlying factors which may have contributed to the accident.


Although more analysis is required, this accident displays some of the characteristics of an approach-and-landing accidents which is on TSB’s Watchlist.

Next steps

The investigation is ongoing and the next steps include the following:

  • survey the impact and wreckage site
  • continue examining and photographing the wreckage
  • removing the aircraft from the runway to restore normal operations
  • gather Air Traffic Control voice and data recordings
  • conduct witness interviews
  • gather meteorological information
  • collect operational information from the aircraft
  • preliminary review of the recorders at the TSB Lab to assist field investigators
  • determine which wreckage to collect for closer examination
    • further examination will be at the TSB Lab

Communication of safety deficiencies

Should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, they will be communicated without delay so they may be addressed quickly and the aviation system made safer.

The information posted is factual in nature and does not contain any analysis. Analysis of the accident and the Findings of the Board will be part of the final report. The investigation is ongoing.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations

National Geographic Studios Presents LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES

Harrison Ford Narrates Breathtaking Film of How Aviation Has Changed the World, Shot in 95 locations, 18 countries, 7 continents

Opens in IMAX®, Giant Screen, 15/70 Dome and Digital Cinemas in North America Beginning April 10, 2015

Airplanes 27x40 PosterWASHINGTON, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — This spring, National Geographic Studios presents an immersive new giant screen film experience that offers a fresh perspective on a modern-day miracle that many of us take for granted: flying. Using spectacular aerial and nature photography, LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES carries audiences across 200,000 years of history and around the globe on an epic journey to 95 locations in 18 countries spanning seven continents to remind us how, in a single century, aviation has changed our world forever. The world premiere of LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES will take place at theSmithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on April 8, 2015.

Narrated by actor and pilot Harrison Ford, LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES will premiere in IMAX®, giant screen, 15/70mm dome screens and digital cinemas nationwide beginning April 10, 2015.

Produced and directed by Brian J. Terwilliger (“One Six Right“), LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES features an original score by Academy Award®-winning composer and pilot James Horner (“Avatar,” “Titanic”) and cinematography by Andrew Waruszewski.

The film highlights the astonishingly rapid advancements that have led to a world in which 100,000 flights take off and land every day. During the vast majority of mankind’s existence, walking was the fastest means of travel. Yet today, just 175 years after the introduction of the steam engine, boarding a jet to travel thousands of miles in a matter of hours is more often viewed as an inconvenience than a world-changing technological marvel.

“Since we were all born into a world with airplanes, it’s hard to imagine that jet travel itself is only 60 years old, just a tick on the timeline of human history,” said Terwilliger. “With this film, we want to reignite people’s wonder for one of the most extraordinary aspects of the modern world.”

LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES is the perfect film for National Geographic,” said Mark Katz, president of distribution for National Geographic Studios. “It combines the best of exploration and adventure, anthropology, geography and aviation — using captivating visuals to inspire and engage audiences on a variety of levels.”

LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES will open nationwide in close to 20 locations including Washington, Boston, New York and Dallas. For a full list of theaters or to view the trailer, visit Become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @airplanesmovie. For downloadable images and video, log in to the press assets site: (username: press; password: press)

About National Geographic Studios
National Geographic Studios is the video and film production division of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, whose mission is to inspire, illuminate and teach. From television series and specials to giant screen, from mobile video to digital news and educational content, National Geographic Studios’ productions embody the Society’s long-standing reputation for stunning visuals and captivating storytelling. National Geographic Studios has received nearly 150 Emmy Awards and almost 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards, DuPont Columbia Awards, multiple film and museum industry awards and the highest honors from natural history film festivals. National Geographic Studios also produces and distributes giant screen and digital 3D films for the museum cinema industry. Brooke Runnette is president of National Geographic Studios.

About Terwilliger Productions
Terwilliger Productions is an independent production company based in Los Angeles that produces high-quality, thought-provoking films. The company is best known for the aviation documentary “One Six Right,” a film that celebrates local airports as unsung heroes, which was distributed worldwide. For more information, visit

SOURCE National Geographic Studios