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WestJet to suspend service to four cities in Atlantic Canada, reducing service to two others

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Airline cuts more than 100 weekly flights across region

CALGARY, AB, Oct. 14, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet announced it will be indefinitely suspending operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s. The suspension eliminates more than 100 flights weekly or almost 80 percent of seat capacity from the Atlantic region starting November 2. Details can be found at bottom of release.

“It has become unviable to serve these markets and these decisions were regrettably inevitable as demand is being obliterated by the Atlantic bubble and third-party fee increases,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Since the pandemic’s beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports, but we are out of runway and have been forced to suspend service in the region without sector-specific support.”

For a video message from WestJet President and CEO, Ed Sims, click here.

With today’s announcement, all flights to and from Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown will be discontinued as of November 2. A return to service date is unknown at this time. Guests impacted will be contacted directly regarding their options for travel to and from the region.

In June, WestJet announced permanent layoffs to its workforce through its airport transformation and contact centre consolidation. Regrettably, active WestJetters from the airline’s stations in Fredericton, Moncton, Sydney and Charlottetown will be impacted by further layoffs as of November 2, 2020.

“We understand this is devastating news to the communities, our airport partners and the WestJetters who rely on our airline, but these suspensions were unavoidable without the prioritization of rapid-testing or support for the introduction of a safe Canadian bubble,” continued Sims. “We remain committed to the Atlantic region and it is our intent to resume operations as soon as it becomes economically viable to do so.”

Atlantic Canada suspensions by the numbers

  • Elimination of more than 100 weekly flights or almost 80 percent of seat capacity from the Atlantic region.
  • Temporary closure and service to four Atlantic stations (Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton and Sydney).
  • Halifax seat capacity will be reduced by 70 per cent year over year.
  • The Atlantic provinces will retain three routes Halifax-Toronto, Halifax-Calgary and St. John’s-Halifax.
  • Service between Halifax and Toronto will operate with 14 weekly flights.
  • Service between Halifax and St. John’s will remain with 11 weekly flights.
  • Service between Halifax and Calgary will remain with nine weekly flights.

Since 2003, WestJet has successfully brought competition and lower fares to the Atlantic region through new service and routes, while driving tourism and business investments. As of 2019, the airline had added more than 700,000 annual seats to the region since 2015, while creating the opportunity for travel to, from and within the region on 28 routes. The airline has also worked to grow Halifax as the Atlantic gateway to Europe through the introduction of successful nonstop transatlantic service to London-Gatwick, Paris, Glasgow and Dublin since 2016, providing key economic and tourism links between the regions. Up until this announcement, WestJet was the only Canadian airline that maintained 100 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic network.

Temporary Route Suspensions:

RoutePlanned 2020
Frequency
(Pre-COVID)
Current
Frequency
Frequency Effective Nov. 2,
2020
Halifax – Sydney1x daily2x weeklySuspended
Halifax – Ottawa1x daily2x weeklySuspended
Moncton – Toronto3x daily4x weeklySuspended
Fredericton – Toronto13x weekly4x weeklySuspended
Charlottetown – Toronto3x weekly2x weeklySuspended
St. John’s – Toronto1x daily5x weeklySuspended

Planned service in Atlantic Canada as of Nov. 2, 2020:

RouteFrequency Effective Nov. 2, 2020
Halifax – Toronto2x daily
Halifax – Calgary9x weekly
Halifax – St. John’s11x weekly

You might also like other travel articles from totimes.ca and mtltimes.ca

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