WestJet slashing 100 flights per week to Atlantic region
WestJet Airlines Ltd. will indefinitely suspend operations in Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, and Charlottetown, while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John's, the company said Wednesday.
The suspensions, which also include discontinued service to Quebec City, will take effect Nov. 2 and will result in the elimination of 100 flights per week.
"It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets," WestJet CEO Ed Sims said in a release. "Since the pandemic's beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports, however, demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies and third-party fee increases that have left us out of runway without sector-specific support."
“While we remain committed to the Atlantic region, it's impossible to say when there will be a return to service without support for a coordinated domestic approach. Our intent is to return as soon as it becomes economically viable to do so."
The move will result in 100 jobs losses for corporate and operational support employees. WestJet has already laid off thousands of its staff since the effect of the pandemic took hold.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau called WestJet’s decision to cut service “unfortunate.”
“We continue to work to analyze the impact of COVID-19 on the air sector including finding solutions to ensure its recovery,” Garneau said in a statement. “We continue to work closely with industry, provincial governments and local stakeholders to find solutions and the right tools to ensure that regional links remain operational to serve these communities on a long term basis.”
Airlines have been calling on the federal government for financial aid to help weather COVID-19-related travel restrictions, but have yet to receive any targeted support.