Mixed feelings as COVID clip snowbirds wings
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Daily fall forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
What you need to know about COVID-19: October 20, 2020
WestJet announced drastic cuts to its flight service in Atlantic Canada Wednesday.
Effective Nov. 2, more than 100 weekly flights — representing almost 80 per cent of its seating capacity for the region — will be eliminated. All operations at airports in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Sydney, N.S., are suspended for what WestJet termed to be a “temporary closure” according to a news release. Halifax seating capacity year-over-year will be reduced by about 70 per cent and St. John’s will lose its direct flight to Toronto — it was previously reduced from five-times weekly to once a week.
What WestJet cut
- Halifax seating capacity reduced 70 per cent year-over-year
- All operations in Fredericton, Moncton, Sydney and Charlottetown suspended
- St. John's loses direct flight to Toronto
- 80 per cent reduction in seating capacity for Atlantic Canada
"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," Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, said in the release. "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."
Effective November 2, we will be suspending our operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s. This is a result of the impact of domestic quarantines, and continued decrease in demand. pic.twitter.com/78sr9PSz3v— WestJet (@WestJet) October 14, 2020
The airline said travellers with reservations impacted by the route suspensions will be contacted. The release confirmed the move will result in further layoffs at airports in Fredericton, Moncton, Sydney and Charlottetown. The company previously announced layoffs in June.
The airline industry has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions dramatically decreasing passenger traffic at airports throughout the world.
For now, WestJet is retaining its Halifax-to-Toronto, Halifax-to-Calgary and St. John's-to-Halifax routes. Those services will operate with 14, nine and 11 weekly flights respectively.
Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, WestJet was reportedly the only Canadian airline still retaining 100 per cent of its pre-pandemic domestic flight network.