Porter Airlines says it will restart flight services to Canadian destinations beginning on Sept. 8 after more than a year of closures.

The Toronto-based airline company announced the decision in a statement on Monday, saying service would resume after nearly 18 months of closures due to COVID-19 case counts, as well as public health and travel restrictions.

“This is the moment our team members, passengers and the communities we serve have been waiting for,” Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, said.

“The pandemic has progressed to the point that we can now begin restoring service across our network.”

The airline company, which is headquartered at Billy Bishop Airport, stated that it would also restart service on its U.S. flights beginning on Sept. 17.

The flight schedule is returning in phases, the company said, with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John’s, Thunder Bay and Toronto.

The airline said that flights to U.S. destinations, including Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, would follow on Sept. 17.

After nearly 16 months of rigid travel restrictions, Canada has begun loosening the rules for fully vaccinated travellers. Effective today, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to skip the 14-day quarantine, and three-day hotel stay.

“Being grounded for more than a year has been incredibly difficult for everyone involved,” Deluce said in a statement released on Monday.

“In true Porter fashion, our team members have displayed remarkable levels of commitment, engagement and optimism over this uncertain period of time, despite the vast majority being unable to work.”

The company said they would call about 500 team members back to work as the first phase of flights are introduced, adding that more staff will be brought back in subsequent months as flights and destinations return to the schedule.

To provide flexibility and give travellers peace of mind, the airline said they are making all fares purchased by July 20, for travel through Dec. 15, 2021, fully refundable, with no fees.

Travel restrictions between Canada and the United States banning non-essential travel across the border are due to expire July 21.