Air Canada cuts all service in Labrador, St. John’s to Toronto route axed

Air Canada is cutting three flight routes in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to an email from a company spokesperson Tuesday.

Service between Gander and Halifax, Goose Bay and Halifax, and St. John’s and Toronto ends Jan. 23.

“We continue to experience stifled demand due to COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” the company’s media spokesperson told CBC News in a statement.

“As a result, we are suspending until further notice all passenger flights to these destinations.”

The statement goes on to say the company regrets the impact on customers and communities, but maintains it’s increasingly difficult to operate.

The spokesperson said the airline’s overall capacity is down 80 per cent from last year.

“Air Canada will continue to evaluate and adjust its route network as required in response to the trajectory of the pandemic and travel restrictions,” the statement says.

The company also slashed all flights in Yellowknife and Fredericton on Tuesday.

Only 1 flight left out of Labrador

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor Wally Andersen, reached by phone Tuesday evening, said the loss of the Halifax route leaves Labradorians with only one remaining carrier: PAL Airlines.

“It’s concerning,” Andersen said, describing a limited and complex range of travel options for those flying for health or family responsibilities. 

It’ll cost more to get anywhere outside the province, he said, and will require multiple transfers.

“Numbers are down everywhere, but there’s a need for a carrier from Labrador to other parts of the country,” he said.

Given Newfoundland and Labrador’s restrictions and mandatory quarantine rules, Andersen said he doesn’t think a federal bailout package could have necessarily prevented the loss of that route.

However, he says it’s a question he and other Labrador leaders will be asking in the coming days.

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