On June 24, 1941, American Airlines operated its first-ever international passenger flight from Buffalo, New York, to Toronto, Canada. The aircraft operating this historic flight was a Douglas DC-3 aircraft with 21 customers onboard.
Eighty years later, and despite the toughest year on record for the aviation industry due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Canada remains an integral part of American’s international network. The carrier has provided critical service during the pandemic from four airports: Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR). Three additional stations, Halifax (YHZ), Quebec (YQB) and Ottawa (YOW), are scheduled to resume operations in Spring 2022.
“I want to thank and congratulate our incredible team members in Canada who have formed our proud history operating our Canadian routes for 80 years,” said José A. Freig, American’s Vice President of International Operations. “Our first flight to Toronto paved the way for our international network expansion, I am grateful to our customers, Toronto Pearson Airport, and our team members for being part of this remarkable journey.”
“Toronto Pearson is proud to be a part of this historic milestone for American Airlines,” said Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “Over the last 80 years, Toronto Pearson has grown to be Canada’s largest airport, and our strong partnership with American Airlines has been key to our growth story. This partnership will remain vital as travel restrictions begin to ease and we work collaboratively to continue prioritizing health and safety when welcoming back passengers.”
Other key milestones for American this summer include 39 years of service to London, including 30 years of flying to London Heathrow (LHR); 25 years of service to Rome (FCO); 20 years of service to Aguascalientes, Mexico (AGU); and a decade of service to Morelia, Mexico (MLM).
Restarting international travel safely
American is committed to the safe reopening of travel and has been working directly with policymakers at all levels as they work to establish acceptable travel protocols.
“We’re eager to build back our service to Canada as the recovery from the pandemic progresses,” said Nate Gatten, Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs for American Airlines. “As Canadian officials consider the path forward for travel and deliberate the easing of restrictions still in place, American stands ready to reconnect friends and family, enable long-awaited getaways, and support the economic connection between the U.S. and Canada ― all with an unwavering focus on the health and safety of our customers and team members.”
American was the first U.S. airline to introduce VeriFLY, a mobile health passport which helps customers understand and verify their travel requirements. Customers can use the free VeriFLY app when travelling on American from all international destinations to the U.S.