WestJet suspends service to four cities in Atlantic Canada

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.”

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 center 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:

Route Planned
2020

Frequency
(Pre-COVID)

Current

Frequency

Frequency
Effective Nov. 2,

2020

Halifax
– Sydney
1x
daily
2x
weekly
Suspended
Halifax
– Ottawa
1x
daily
2x
weekly
Suspended
Moncton
– Toronto
3x
daily
4x
weekly
Suspended
Fredericton
– Toronto
13x
weekly
4x
weekly
Suspended
Charlottetown
– Toronto
3x
weekly
2x
weekly
Suspended
St.
John’s – Toronto
1x
daily
5x
weekly
Suspended

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

Route Frequency
Effective Nov. 2, 2020
Halifax
– Toronto
2x
daily
Halifax
– Calgary
9x
weekly
Halifax
– St. John’s
11x
weekly

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