Connect Airlines still aims to launch trans-border operations this Fall. An updated Department of Transportation filing sheds light on additional details for how the company plans to fill its planes headed to and from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport downtown.
Feed from American
An interline agreement with American Airlines, executed in March 2021, allows for passengers to move between Connect and American on a single ticket. But the two airlines expect deeper ties than that. They expect to negotiate a “definitive codeshare agreement” before Connect operations begin.
Connect expects this codeshare will increase load factors on its flights and also yield, helping to improve the year one revenue forecast (confidentially) filed with the DOT.
Presumably the flights would also be eligible for earning (and potentially redemption) in the AAdvantage loyalty program.
Despite Connect Airlines operating as a US-registered airline and subsidiary of Waltzing Matilda Aviation, the pilots will be based in Canada.
The Toronto crew base also means the pilots will be paid on a Canadian scale, though the DOT appears keen to extract assurances of rates similar to regional aircraft pilots at US operators as well.
And, while thus far the company’s route network conversation has been all about trans-border flights, the application also suggests that some domestic US routes may be on offer. Those trips “will be operated by pilots that hold United States work authorization.”
Comfy Cabin Config
The aircraft is slated for configuration with 74 economy class seats on board. In their previous life at FlyBe the aircraft carried 78 seats on board.
Incidentally, the more spacious, 74-seat configuration is what competitor Porter Air used to have in its planes. That carrier updated its interior configuration over the past 18 months, adding an extra row to now carry 78 passengers.
While plenty of things can still change, the company remains hopeful of launching operations in early October.
The timeline in the updated filing suggests proving runs will start just after Labor Day and run for three weeks, with a certification issued at the end of September. Operations would commence two days later.
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