PEI

Air Canada to suspend flights between Toronto and Charlottetown in new year

Air Canada is suspending its flights between Charlottetown and Toronto in the new year, but is adding flights between Charlottetown and Montreal.

After Jan. 11, only flights remaining will be between Charlottetown and Montreal

Air Canada currently has five flights a week between Charlottetown and Toronto. (John Robertson/CBC)

Air Canada is suspending its flights between Charlottetown and Toronto in the new year, but is adding flights between Charlottetown and Montreal.

Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, said that means there will still be seven Air Canada flights a week at the airport, but they will all be through Montreal with a 50-seat jet.

The changes take effective Jan. 11 until at least Feb. 10, Newson said.

Charlottetown currently has five flights to Toronto and two to Montreal each week. Newson said more flights could be added temporarily leading up to Christmas as demand increases.

That demand is expected to decrease in January, so he said he's not "totally surprised" Air Canada decided to suspend service to Toronto.

Charlottetown Airport CEO on Air Canada dropping Toronto flight in the new year

4 months ago
5:03
'I won't pretend that, you know, we're not disappointed ... Toronto would be our most popular route,' says Doug Newson. 5:03

"It is significant. I won't pretend that we're not disappointed," he said.

"In normal times, and we're a long way from normal right now, Toronto would be our most popular route so from that standpoint it's quite disappointing."

Newson said most people travelling by air are essential or rotational workers who will still be able to get to their destination through Montreal.

On Nov. 2, Westjet suspended all its flights in and out of Charlottetown. Newson said he remains confident the airport will survive the pandemic.

There has been little activity at the Charlottetown airport during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBC)

"The discussions that I've had with the carriers, both with Air Canada, Westjet and even some of the carriers that had planned to come here this summer, is that they are very optimistic about Prince Edward Island and they do want to come back and they do want to add service and we're in discussions with airlines about next summer right now."

In a statement to CBC, Air Canada said it will also be suspending all flights until further notice in Sydney, N.S., and Saint John, as well as service between Halifax and Deer Lake, Halifax and Ottawa, and Fredericton and Toronto.

"This decision was not taken lightly and we regret the impact on our customers and community partners, but it is increasingly difficult to continue to operate in this challenging environment, without specific financial support from government, with whom [we] continue to wait for negotiations to start. Air Canada is still carrying less than eight per cent of its normal passenger volumes due to factors beyond our control and with no horizon for recovery," the statement said.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Louise Martin

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