PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Starting next spring, it will be much easier for local travelers to visit Toronto.
Air Canada announced Wednesday it will be offering daily flights between Ontario’s capital and T.F. Green Airport in Warwick beginning May 17, 2018. The route will be a “summer seasonal” route, according to the airline, meaning it will be operated through Oct. 8, 2018.
Flights are already available to purchase. For the first one-way flight, the fare starts at about $200 for an “economy tango” ticket. The flight time is 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Lisa Pierce, senior director of USA sales and marketing development for Air Canada, said if the summer season is a success, the airline will look at adding flights year-round.
Air Canada is the fifth airline to expand service to T.F. Green this year. Norwegian Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Airlines and OneJet have also added routes.
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“In this market, we see a lot of opportunity,” Pierce said.
“We did fly here in the past, but now that we’re growing internationally and we’ve expanded our network we have a lot more opportunity to promote business traffic and leisure traffic from the world to Providence and in the reverse,” she added.
Governor Gina Raimondo said growth at the airport will help grow Rhode Island’s economy.
“When I’m recruiting companies, they want to know, ‘Do you have a good airport? Is it easy to travel? Can you get all over the world from your airport?’ And increasingly I’m able to say, ‘Yes!'” Raimondo said.
The growth also shows in the numbers. According to data from the R.I. Airport Corporation (RIAC), the number of seats in November is up 22% compared to last November.
“I’ve got to tell you, things are getting tight around here!” said Iftikhar Ahmad, president and CEO of RIAC.
Ahmad said he expects the growth to continue. Though he won’t say which airlines or routes he’s targeting, he says passengers should expect more options out of Green in the near future.
“I think that you should anticipate certainly more domestic [flights],” Ahmad said. “We are working on some domestic. We need to increase our footprint. Once we gather that certain mass, then we’re going to make a move on the West Coast.”
The growth will come at a cost to taxpayers. The state recently created a fund that covers some marketing costs for new airlines and expanded service.
According to the R.I. Commerce Corporation, new international routes are eligible to receive up to $750,000 and domestic routes are eligible to receive up to $250,000.