Just over one month ago, Connect Airlines received its United States certification to operate flights in the U.S. Today, Connect operated its first proving flight from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ).
One step closer to passenger operations
On July 5, Connect Airlines received its all-clear from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to begin flights once its proving flights were completed. At the end of June, the Department of Transportation had given interested parties seven days to argue against Connect’s application to operate passenger flights and received no pushback. A few weeks later, the approval was given, and the DOT issued the following statement:
“We issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Waltzing Matilda Aviation, LLC d/b/a Connect Airlines to engage in interstate scheduled air transportation in the form and subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations attached.”
In order to operate passenger flights to the United States, Connect Airlines has to meet three criteria. The first is the evidence of capital raised, which should not be a problem considering the airline has gotten this far in the process. The second is to inform the DOT if it plans to operate more than seven large aircraft on scheduled services. The final criteria that Connect must meet is to submit a progress report upon completing the first year of operations. None of these criteria are extremely demanding and as of last month, the airline already had two Dash 8-400s in its fleet and ready to fly.
Connect Airlines has plans to fly Canadian-built Q400 turboprop aircraft from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to airports in the United States Northeast and Midwest, operating in a model similar to Porter Airlines. The airline is eyeing flights to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and to Philadelphia (PHL). Connect Airline is a new concept created by Waltzing Matilda Aviation, which has been around for 15 years. Waltzing Matilda has offered chartered services from Boston using its own business jets and other aircraft in its fleet but to operate scheduled passenger flights, the airline had to change up its game plan.
Two of the biggest changes that Waltzing Matilda had to make were acquiring aircraft and changing branding so that both the American and Canadian markets would be attracted by the new airline. In addition, the airline had to acquire both Canadian and American operator certificates. The first step was to acquire the American certificate, and in turn, Connect was able to apply for Canada’s Foreign Air Operator Certificate. Canadian authorities had a 60-day window to approve the airline’s operator certificate. Connect Airlines CEO told Simple Flying that Canadian authorities were strongly supporting the new airline and had even promised to expedite the process.
Simple Flying has contacted Connect Airlines regarding a statement for this story and any additional information that can be provided about the process of the proving flights. At the time of publication, we have not received a reply. If we receive a reply, we will update our story.