MIAMI – Citing a sluggish demand caused by a travel bubble imposed in the Atlantic Canada region, WestJet (WS) has announced the suspension of flights in four of the region’s destinations, a Routes Online report stated.

WestJet will suspend services to Charlottetown (YYG), Fredericton (YFC), Moncton (YQM), and Sydney (YQY) effective November 2, removing 100 flights a week and cutting 80 percent of the capacity in Atlantic Canada.

“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,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims stated in the report.

Atlantic Canada’s four provinces—New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador-per the article, have established a travel bubble that has been “in place since mid-summer that permits travel between them” with no restrictions, but for people “traveling into or out of the region face restrictions, including 14-day quarantines.”

Photo: Casey Groulx

Demand Drop Due to Measures

As a result of these measures, travel demand fell across the region. “In normal times, we would fly more than two million guests every month,” Sims mentioned in the report, adding that “since the onset of the pandemic in March, we have flown just over one million guests in total.”

Although 60 percent of the airline’s aircraft have been parked and some international destinations have been cut, WS has maintained services to all its 39 Canadian destinations, and it will keep services from Halifax (YHZ) and St. John’s (YYT) to Toronto (YYZ) and Calgary (YYC), as well as between both Atlantic cities.

The move will also bring more layoffs to the airline, with all the employees at the four affected stations and 100 corporate staff on target. Despite the reduction, some airports have increased fees for tenant airlines to compensate the lower traffic. In response, WS increased surcharges for its passengers.

Featured image: Liam Funnell