Canadian charter start-up, Pivot Airlines (ZX, Toronto Pearson) is to launch scheduled domestic air services from Ontario’s Kitchener, the airline announced.

A start date has not been revealed, but routes would include Ottawa Int'l, Toronto Pearson, Windsor, and Montréal Trudeau in line with a partnership agreement aimed at developing regional markets serving Kitchener, also known as Region of Waterloo International Airport. “Service commences upon receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals and is contingent upon a loosening of COVID-19 travel-related restrictions. Flights will be operated with Canadian-made CRJ jets and De Havilland Dash 8 regional turboprops,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Edmondson said in a statement. The agreement also allowed Pivot to build maintenance, operations, and office facilities, he added. The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows Pivot Airlines currently leases four CRJ100ERs from Avmax Aircraft Leasing.

Pivot Airlines has close links to now-defunct Air Georgian (ZX, Toronto Pearson), which owed more than CAD41.5 million Canadian dollars (USD31.3 million) to unsecured creditors when it went bankrupt in June 2020, costing 260 employees their jobs. Edmondson has tried to downplay the connection. The Record reports he cancelled a scheduled interview last month because the newspaper wanted to ask questions about the new airline’s relationship with Air Georgian.

Pivot Airlines was established after purchasing the assets of Toronto Pearson-based Air Georgian, which went into difficulties in January 2020 after losing its partnership with Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) to Air Canada Jazz (QK, Halifax). Edmondson and other executives in charge of flight operations, maintenance, and operations control, all served in similar roles at Air Georgian.

Court documents showed Air Georgian’s assets were purchased by an Ontario company owned by John Binder. He also established Binder Capital Corporation, the Calgary-based private equity firm which owns Pivot Airlines. Court documents state Binder was associated with the holding company that owned Air Georgian and identified him as one of Air Georgian’s two former directors.

However, Region of Waterloo Airport General Manager Chris Wood believed the connection was a positive thing, as it meant Pivot’s management was experienced in running a regional airline in Ontario. “They’re very familiar with these routes…(and they have) a very experienced and well-funded owner,” he said.

Region of Waterloo Regional Chairperson, Karen Redman, said demand for air travel was growing. The new service would encourage investment and create jobs in the Waterloo region, Canada’s 10th largest urban area, which last year accounted for 154,300 air trips to the announced destinations, she said.

“The regional airline model in Canada is changing, and we are ideally positioned to play a critical role. We believe as people return to travel, modern regional airports will play a larger role than what we have seen in the past,” Edmondson said.