Economy

Westjet Announces Suspension of Operations to Four Cities in Atlantic Canada

Westjet Announces Suspension of Operations to Four Cities in Atlantic Canada”

In addition to the Atlantic Canada service changes, WestJet also announced the airline will be laying off an additional 100 corporate and operational support employees as prospects for any near-term recovery continue to fade and demand remains weak across its operations.

WestJet says it is indefinitely suspending operations to several east coast cities, as well as suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City. 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.

"It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets", WestJet CEO Ed Sims said in a release.

Elimination of more than 100 weekly flights or nearly 80 percent of seat capacity from the Atlantic region.

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.

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Prior to Wednesday's announcement, WestJet was reportedly the only Canadian airline still retaining 100 per cent of its pre-pandemic domestic flight network. Anyone travelling to Atlantic Canada is required to quarantine for 14-days, but residents living in the so-called Atlantic bubble are allowed to travel within the four provinces without quarantining.

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.

All flights to and from Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City will be discontinued as of November 2.

Sims said restrictive travel policies have cut passenger traffic.

It's impossible to predict, he added, when the Atlantic routes will return.



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