WestJet indefinitely suspending flights to Atlantic Canada, laying off staff | Venture

  • WestJet indefinitely suspending flights to Atlantic Canada, laying off staff | Venture

WestJet indefinitely suspending flights to Atlantic Canada, laying off staff | Venture

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.

The Canadian low-priced carrier said it would operate two daily round-trip flights between Halifax and Toronto, nine weekly flights between Halifax and Calgary, and 11 weekly flights between Halifax and St. John's.

"The lack of travel demand combined with domestic quarantines means that sadly we can no longer maintain our full Canadian network of service, " CEO Ed Sims said in a video post. "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". WestJet has already laid off thousands of its staff since the effect of the pandemic took hold.

WestJet is eliminating more than 100 flights weekly to Atlantic Canada.

The airline is also suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City. Almost half of those suspended routes serviced Atlantic provinces. "Our intent is to return as soon as it becomes economically viable to do so".

The Calgary-based airline's move, announced Wednesday, will result in the layoff of 100 corporate and operational support employees. The company previously announced layoffs in June.

Spokesperson Morgan Bell says eight people from each of the affected airports in Moncton, Fredericton and Charlottetown will be released. A WestJet flight from Calgary arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Monday, July 6, 2020. Those services will operate with 14, nine and 11 weekly flights respectively.