Air Canada suspends flights into 4 N.B. airports
Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Bathurst flights affected until April 30
Air Canada has postponed a number of domestic flights that will affect four New Brunswick airports until the end of April.
Air Canada has reduced its domestic flights from 62 airports to 40 until April 30, a move that affects flights departing from the Fredericton International Airports and from the Saint John Airport.
The suspension also affects Air Canada flights arriving at the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport and the Regional Bathurst Airport.
The suspended flights include:
Flights between Ottawa and Moncton from March 23 until April 30.
Flights between Saint John and Toronto from March 23 to April 30.
Flights between Montreal and Bathurst from March 23 to April 30.
Flights between Fredericton and Toronto from April 1 to April 30.
Saint John Airport director of Commercial Development, Jacques Fournier said even before the announcement, the number of travellers on departure flights had already fallen off dramatically.
"There's a lot of people arriving, and not a whole lot leaving, said Fournier. "Obviously everybody is scrambling to get back home. We believe that April will obviously be very slow until the curve [of Covid-19 cases] can be settled down a little bit."
Fournier said the airport still has flights to Montreal and Halifax, where travellers can connect to other centres.
A complete list of suspended flights across the country can be found on Air Canada's website.
"We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers and our business of the various travel restrictions that are being made by governments at unprecedented speed without advance warning," Air Canada said in a news release.
Air Canada said its main priority is protecting the safety and well-being of its employees, customers and communities where it operates.
In its release, the airline also said it's "exploring options" with the federal government to maintain essential operations and help as many Canadians as possible return home and support the shipment of goods and cargos.
At the Moncton airport, CEO Bernard LeBlanc said there is a possibility passenger service in the region could be suspended entirely as the situation develops.
"If we got to a point where no passenger airlines are flying or directives are from the federal government that no passenger airlines should fly, we may just want to keep the airport open for cargo activity or for essential services or emergencies," said LeBlanc.
Cargo traffic through Moncton remains strong and passengers will resume travelling at the same levels as before, says LeBlanc, once the danger is past.
"No one doubts we'll come out of it, it's just when will that happen."
There are three new presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 11 confirmed or presumptive cases, the chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell announced Wednesday.
Air Canada continues to operate a limited number of international flights between Canada and London, England; Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Air Canada is now only flying out of six international airports, outside of the U.S., instead of its regular 101.
Beginning April 1, Air Canada will continue its service in select U.S. cities. Those cities include airports in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
WestJet Airlines has suspended all international flights, including those to the U.S. for 30 days beginning March 22.