WestJet cuts capacity in Atlantic Canada by 80% as pandemic makes service ‘unviable’

WestJet announced it is indefinitely suspending flights across Atlantic Canada as the coronavirus pandemic continues to broadly affect the travel industry.

In a press release, WestJet said it is indefinitely suspending flights to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown, while “significantly” reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s.

Flights to Quebec City have also been indefinitely suspended.

READ MORE: Air Canada indefinitely suspends 14 routes in Atlantic Canada, closes 2 stations

In total, more than 100 flights made to the region will be “eliminated.” WestJet says that is equivalent to nearly 80 per cent of its seat capacity to Atlantic Canada.

The flight suspensions begin Nov. 2.

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“It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets,” said Ed Sims, president and CEO of WestJet, in the press 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.”

As of Nov. 2, WestJet will only operate the following flights in the region:

Halifax to Toronto two times daily; Halifax to Calgary nine times weekly; and Halifax to St. John’s 11 times weekly.

“We understand this news will be devastating to the communities, our airport partners and the WestJetters who rely on our service,” Sims said.

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“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.”

Click to play video 'Atlantic airports still vacant after provinces ease travel restrictions' Atlantic airports still vacant after provinces ease travel restrictions

Atlantic airports still vacant after provinces ease travel restrictions

In addition to the flight changes, WestJet said it would be laying off an additional 100 corporate and support employees.

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