TORONTO, ONTARO — The American startup carrier Connect Airlines, navigating US and Canadian regulatory processes, is poised to launch with Philadelphia International and Chicago O'Hare to Toronto as its inaugural routes, pending approval of its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the US Department of Transportation and Foreign Air Operator's Certificate (FAOC) (Canada) from Transport Canada. The official launch date remains unannounced.

The airline confirmed it has been granted permission to operate in ten US cities from Toronto. Destinations include Boston, Baltimore Thurgood Marshall, Chicago O'Hare, Philadelphia International, Nashville International, Charlotte International, Newark, Greenville/Spartanburg International, Milwaukee General Mitchell, and Raleigh/Durham.

However, Connect Airlines clarified it has no immediate plans to operate that many routes. A spokesman explained that earlier discussions with ACL may have influenced potential slots and spots for FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) proving runs.

Connect Airlines represents the Part 121 scheduled operations of US charter carrier Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA).

The ACL report reveals that WMA has secured 3,386 new slots at Toronto Billy Bishop for summer 2023, accounting for 10.9% of all air traffic movements (ATMs) at the airport and 250,564 seats. In comparison, Porter Airlines holds 22,564 slots (72% of ATMs), and Air Canada has 5,060 slots (16.3% of ATMs).

In July 2022, the US DOT granted Connect Airlines a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for US interstate scheduled flights, followed by a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for foreign scheduled air transport in September 2022. The carrier is in the process of completing the five-phase AOC process and obtaining its FAOC from Transport Canada.

The fleet plan involves leasing eight DHC-8-Q400s (seven in service and one spare) by March 2023. WMA Chief Executive Officer John Thomas hinted at a May 2023 target launch date, as reported by Narcity, but the spokesman suggested this timeline might be delayed due to ongoing regulatory and start-up procedures.