Hope Air Celebrates 100,000th Flight


Hope Air, the unique national charity that arranges free flights for Canadians who are in financial need and must travel to healthcare, celebrated its 100,000th flight yesterday (Dec. 3).

Hope Air was established in 1986 and for the past 29 years has helped thousands of Canadians get to crucial medical appointments.
Hope Air’s 100,000th flight was provided to 56-year-old Richard Giroux of Hanmer, Ont. Giroux suffers from liver disease and is on the waiting list for a liver transplant. He must travel from Sudbury to Toronto every few months to see his doctors, but because of his condition cannot sit for long periods of time – making travel by car intolerable. Through the charity service provided by Hope Air and its gift of flight, he is able to reduce his travel time from an onerous and very uncomfortable five hours to only 45 minutes.

Hope Air arranges flights for clients to fly with an escort – often a family member – when it is deemed medically necessary by the client’s doctors, meaning that Giroux’s wife Joanne is able to accompany him to Toronto to help him manage the travel.

“It’s truly been a blessing. We are both on fixed incomes, so flying was never an option for us due to the costs. But now with free flights from Hope Air, so much pain, stress and hassle has been lifted,” says Joanne Giroux.

Hope Air executive director Doug Keller-Hobson says that families like the Giroux’s are why Hope Air exists.

“Our clients live long distances from the vital healthcare they need. When you’re ill, worrying about how you will manage a painful, hours-long bus ride to get specialized care is a burden that we believe Canadians shouldn’t have to bear. But for many low-income Canadians, this is a reality they face – the financial cost of being sick and getting to treatment is huge for many families and adds to an already stressful situation,” Keller-Hobson says.

Hope Air’s client surveys show that many clients would cancel or reschedule their appointments, postponing vital medical treatment that can have significant impact on their health.

Hope Air’s airline partner Porter Airlines flies the Giroux’s between Sudbury and Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport, close to Toronto General Hospital where Richard sees his doctors.

Hope Air helps individuals from across Canada, of all ages and with any illness travel to the care they need. Keller-Hobson is proud of the work the charity has done.

“Arranging 100,000 flights is an enormous accomplishment. We have a lot to be proud of, but there is still a lot of work to be done to make healthcare accessible to all Canadians and Hope Air will continue to do its part.”

Clients need to meet some eligibility requirements, which can be viewed at