Canada’s second largest airline announced Wednesday that it’s slashing service to Eastern Canada due to declining revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calgary-based WestJet said 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 per cent of seat capacity from Atlantic Canada starting Nov. 2, the company said in a press 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 in a statement 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.”
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
It is not clear when the airline will resume service to affected communities, Sims said.
“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.”
The changes come amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically reduced demand for air travel.
WestJet typically used to transport about two million paying customers a month on its flights, but since the pandemic began in March, it has only sold about 1 million tickets, total.
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press