The province’s airports took another blow with the announcement that Air Canada would suspend all flights to the Fredericton International Airport effective Saturday, January 23.
Air Canada confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday.
“We continue to experience stifled demand due to COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” said Pascale Déry, Air Canada’s communications director for Quebec, Eastern Canada and Europe, in an email.
“Therefore, we are suspending all passenger flights to Fredericton until further notice, effective January 23. “
Déry said the decision was not taken lightly.
“We regret the impact on our customers and our communities, but it is increasingly difficult to continue to operate in this difficult environment,” she said, noting that the overall capacity of the Air Canada network is currently down around 80% from 2019.
“We still operate Montreal-Moncton and Toronto-Moncton. ”
Air Canada also announced Tuesday, January 23, the following flight suspensions for Atlantic Canada, including Gander-Halifax, Goose Bay-Halifax and St. John’s-Toronto.
Air Canada will continue to assess and adjust its route network as needed in response to the effects of the pandemic and travel restrictions, she said.
The Fredericton flight suspension is just the latest blow to New Brunswick airports.
On December 8, the airline announced that it was indefinitely suspending all flights from Saint John Airport and all Toronto flights from Fredericton Airport, effective January 11, due to the second wave of the pandemic.
The last flight from Saint John Airport departed Monday.
Businesses hope this will be temporary, ”says chamber CEO
News of Air Canada’s decision to suspend operations in Fredericton was “disheartening,” but not entirely unexpected, said the CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
Krista Ross said Air Canada informed her of its decision on Tuesday and that she also received a phone call from a senior Air Canada executive thanking the chamber for its continued support.
“It’s been a tough year for businesses since it all started with the pandemic, and that’s just another challenge they will face,” Ross said in an interview on Tuesday.
“They clearly understand that companies have to make tough decisions, but unfortunately this has a big impact on our community. ”
Ross said it would take some time to assess the decision’s full impact on the city’s business community and the chamber’s 1,017 business members.
“We will have better management of this in the next few days, but it will certainly affect some of the companies that operate out of the airport. And this will impact all businesses that still need to travel in and out of our communities. . ”
In the meantime, says Ross, she is “very optimistic” that the suspension will be temporary.
“We were told that they would leave the flights in the system until April 12, which tells us…. They will monitor the situation, and it will depend on what happens between now and then ”in terms of health outcomes and travel restrictions, she said.
“So for me that’s a positive plan for the future,” Ross said. “We anticipate that with the vaccine rollout and as things calm down, we hope to be able to welcome Air Canada back to our airport and restore these flights. ”