WestJet to cut service to eastern Canada
The Calgary based airline said it will be indefinitely suspending operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John's. The airline is also suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City.
The suspension eliminates more than 100 flights weekly or almost 80 percent of seat capacity from eastern Canada starting Nov. 2.
"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," said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO.
"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," said 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," he added.
The airline also said it will lay off 100 corporate and operational support employees, on top of the 4,000 workers it has laid off since March.
The cuts do not include airport staff from the affected Atlantic airports due to an earlier restructuring.
In 2019, WestJet flew more than 2 million passengers per month on average. Since the onset of coronavirus in March, it has flown a total of just over 1 million passengers, or about seven percent of the number it would typically transport during that time.
More than 70 percent of the carrier's fleet remains grounded, incurring maintenance and storage costs without drawing revenue. ■