WestJet suspends services to four cities and cuts capacity

Carrier cuts more than 100 weekly flights or nearly 80% of seat capacity across Atlantic Canad

Calgary-based WestJet Airlines has indefinitely suspended operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, and Charlottetown in Atlantic Canada, while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St John’s, as the company describes the market as “unviable”.

WestJet 737-700
Until this announcement, WestJet was the only Canadian airline to have maintained 100% of its pre-COVID domestic network. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The reduction eliminates more than 100 weekly flights or almost 80% of seat capacity from the Atlantic region and will start on November 2.

Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, commented: “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.

“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.”

The company’s four stations at Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and Sydney will temporarily close because of the service interruption, further layoffs are expected at these bases as a result.

Sims added: “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.”

The Atlantic provinces will retain three routes Halifax-Toronto, Halifax-Calgary and St John's-Halifax. Each connection is expected to be operated 14, nine and 11 times weekly, respectively.