PEI

Montreal only destination for flights at Charlottetown Airport

Until at least Feb. 10 — likely longer — all passengers departing from Charlottetown Airport will have to go to or through Montreal.

CEO says travellers should be able to connect in Montreal to get to wherever they need to go

There hasn't been much demand for air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the airport's CEO. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

Until at least Feb.10 — likely longer — all passengers departing from Charlottetown Airport will have to go to or through Montreal.

Passengers looking to travel on elsewhere will have to make connections from there. The change is one of a series of flight reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Obviously the demand for air travel is not that strong given the climate and the restrictions," said Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson.

"Really, our priority is to make sure that those travellers that do need to travel, especially for workers that are rotational workers that need to get to where they're going, that we have a flight schedule that they can do that."

The departure board now shows only one flight leaving Charlottetown Airport. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

The flights from Charlottetown to Montreal leave daily at 6:15 a.m., meaning travellers with a connection can get to western Canada by "lunchtime," Newson said.

The flight from Montreal arrives in Charlottetown at 9:36 p.m. The plane remains at the airport overnight before leaving again in the morning.

We honestly think that we'll be in this situation at least through the first quarter, maybe into the spring.— Doug Newson

Until Monday, Air Canada had been offering five weekly flights to Toronto and two to Montreal, but last month it announced that would change to a daily flight to Montreal from Jan. 11-Feb. 10. WestJet suspended all of its flights in and out of Charlottetown on Nov. 2.

Saint John, N.B., and Sydney, N.S., had all their flights suspended.

Newson said it's likely Charlottetown's new flight schedule will extend beyond Feb. 10.

"We honestly think that we'll be in this situation at least through the first quarter, maybe into the spring."

Newson said talks are ongoing with airlines and government about what might happen this summer.

"We'd obviously like to see more flights but the reality is we don't have the demand for more flights right now and we're hoping in the coming months, when things start to get better, we'll see those flights return."

Newson said the new flight schedule did not result in any additional layoffs at the airport.

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