Fewer flights, seats offered this winter at Charlottetown Airport
'Hopefully we'll see more frequency added the following year'
Two fewer flights will be offered this winter at the Charlottetown Airport and fewer seats overall, the airport says.
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WestJet is reducing its direct flights from Charlottetown to Toronto from four to three days a week starting Oct. 23, and is moving that flight time from early morning to "suppertime" Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
"It is significant ... obviously with the WestJet product going down, it is a bit of a disappointment," for the airport, said CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, Doug Newson.
"We feel that three times weekly will be the right amount of capacity for us to provide convenient service to the community while maintaining the route's profitability," said WestJet's Lauren Stewart in an email to CBC News. She added that the new flight times will provide good connections to other markets.
WestJet previously also announced it would no longer offer direct flights from Charlottetown to Orlando, Fla. after lack of demand.
Air Canada, less frequent but same number of seats
As well, Air Canada will have a new regional carrier providing non-stop service to Toronto, Sky Regional, with a larger jet than the previous carrier that will fly less often. Those changes start to take effect on Oct. 29, Newson said.
"They've reduced their frequency from three flights a day down to two, but it will be the same number of seats on a daily basis," said Newson,.
The two Air Canada flights will leave for Toronto at 6 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. Air Canada will also have two daily flights to Montreal.
The aircraft will have two-class seating with televisions at every seat, he notes.
"The capacity remains the same as we are using bigger aircraft twice a day," confirmed Isabelle Arthur with Air Canada media relations, via email Monday.
The airline sees a dip in demand during winter and so usually adjusts its schedule, Arthur noted.
Air Canada has assured the airport they will adjust their schedule if advance bookings are strong for the flights they are offering this winter, Newson said.
"Hopefully we'll see more frequency added the following year."
Tourist traffic is reduced dramatically in the winter, said Newson, leaving the airport relying mostly on local travellers.
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With files from Laura Chapin