WestJet says it is indefinitely suspending operations to several east coast cities, as well as suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City. A WestJet flight from Calgary arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Monday, July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

WestJet says it is indefinitely suspending operations to several east coast cities, as well as suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City. A WestJet flight from Calgary arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Monday, July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

WestJet cutting flights to Atlantic Canada, laying off staff

The airline is also suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City

WestJet Airlines Ltd. is suspending operations to four cities in Atlantic Canada and reducing service to others in the region as the pandemic continues to take a toll on the airline industry.

WestJet said Wednesday it will indefinitely halt routes to Fredericton, Moncton, N.B, Sydney, N.S., and Charlottetown, while paring down service to Halifax and St. John’s, N.L.

The airline is also suspending operations between Toronto and Quebec City.

The cuts eliminate more than 100 flights weekly starting Nov. 2, and remove nearly 80 per cent of WestJet’s seat capacity from the Atlantic region, WestJet said.

“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, but we are out of runway and have been forced to suspend service in the region without sector-specific support.”

The airline also said Wednesday 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, West flew more than two million passengers per month on average. Since the onset of COVID-19 in March, it has flown a total of just over one million passengers, or about seven per cent of the number it would typically transport during that time.

More than 70 per cent of the carrier’s fleet remains grounded.

The four Atlantic provinces continue to enforce a travel “bubble” that requires a two-week quarantine for those arriving from outside the region.

Canada, unlike its G7 counterparts, has opted to hold off on financial aid tailored to the airline sector, instead offering measures such as federal wage subsidies available across industries.

READ MORE: Airline unions call on Trudeau for $7 billion in loans for ailing industry

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Air TravelWestJet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff and board members from Port Alberni Family Guidance Association, from left, Jennifer Minard, Craig Summers, Laurel Lenormand, Melanie Stevenson, Brenda Kraneveldt, Nancy Anslow-Tooke and Doreen Grant, are celebrating the association’s 50th anniversary Oct. 24, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni Family Guidance gets $19K for COVID-19 renovations

Community gaming grant will help keep counselling services running smoothly

Crystal Knudsen, president of Rotary Club of Port Alberni, restocks the little free library in front of Ladybird Engraving on Margaret Street. The Rotary club is working with Literacy Alberni to revive the libraries. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni Rotary Club helps revive little libraries

“We used to have a huge warehouse space but we had to give that up before COVID.”

John Edmondson, left, from Bread of Life, Colin Minions and Capt. Michael Ramsay from the Salvation Army demonstrate Port Alberni’s first community food pantry, located on Tebo Avenue outside Jericho Road Church, Jan. 22, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Free food pantry opens in Port Alberni

Volunteers will monitor the pantry to make sure it stays stocked

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Carol Hanson and Ellen Frood of ACAWS were two of the first 100 people to raise $500 for the Coldest Night of the Year 2021 event across Canada. They received these hoodies in recognition of their efforts. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Coldest Night of the Year goes virtual for 2021

Port Alberni organizers urging people to share photos of their walks to create community feel

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read