WestJet pulls back from Atlantic Canada, cuts additional 100 jobs

Andrew Cummings
October 18, 2020

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.

The airline also said it will be laying off 100 corporate and operational support employees, as prospects for any recovery continue to fade and customer demand remains weak across its operations.

WestJet will indefinitely suspend operations in Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown as of November 2.

Canada's second largest airline announced Wednesday that it's slashing service to Eastern Canada due to declining revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2003, WestJet has successfully brought competition and lower fares to the Atlantic region through new service and routes, while driving tourism and business investments.

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

"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.

It's impossible to predict, he added, when the Atlantic routes will return.

In June, WestJet announced permanent layoffs to its workforce through its airport transformation and contact centre consolidation.

Spokesperson Morgan Bell says eight people from each of the affected airports in Moncton, Fredericton and Charlottetown will be released.

For now, WestJet is retaining its Halifax-to-Toronto, Halifax-to-Calgary and St. John's-to-Halifax routes. Those services will operate with 14, nine and 11 weekly flights respectively.

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