WestJet suspends other direct flights in the east of the country

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WestJet suspends other direct flights in the east of the country

Flights departing from Halifax to Montreal, Ottawa and Saint John in T.-N.-L. will be suspended.

Travelers looking for a direct flight between Halifax and Montreal, Ottawa or St. John's in Newfoundland and Labrador will not be able to use WestJet this winter.

Flights between Halifax and Montreal will be suspended as of October 28. Flights between Halifax and Ottawa and those between Halifax and Saint John in Newfoundland and Labrador will be suspended in early January.

WestJet announced earlier this summer that flights between Halifax and Charlottetown, Fredericton and Sydney would also be suspended on November 15.

In June, the Calgary-based airline said that x27;it would concentrate the majority of its fleet in Western Canada.

WestJet Chief Commercial Officer John Weatherill says the decision was not taken lightly .

We understand this is disappointing news and we apologize for any disruption this may cause our customers, he said.

As the national airline, we will continue to engage with these communities and stakeholders as we seek to improve service to the East and Atlantic with direct routes to Western Canada, a leisure destination.

The director says the move will cement the airline as the most reliable and affordable airline for many years to come.

WestJet has not said whether the suspended routes will resume in the spring.

WestJet's nonstop services to Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto will continue to operate from from Halifax Stanfield International Airport this winter. Flights to Orlando, Florida and CancĂșn, Mexico will also be offered.

Airline analyst Rick Erickson says WestJet's decision will hurt economic development in the Atlantic.< /p>

Rick Erickson, an independent aviation industry analyst based in Calgary, explains that WestJet has decided to redeploy planes to Western Canada to compete with low-cost carriers emerging in the region, such as Flair Airlines.

It's the reality of a business decision made in Calgary, he says. They will fight with these low-cost carriers for market share.

Rick Erickson says the company had to bring planes back from somewhere and opted to cut services in east of the country.

Air Canada has always been the main airline in the Atlantic.

Although Air Canada, based in Montreal, has always been the main carrier in the Atlantic, Rick Erickson says consumers in the East will see the impact of these service reductions.

Instead of four flights a day between the two carriers with regional planes bound for St. John's in Newfoundland, there will only be two or three, he says.

In his opinion, these are smaller destinations like Fredericton, Charlottetown and Sydney will suffer the most from WestJet flight suspensions.

All of these communities will lose services, he says. And I'm sure the economic development authorities are going to be very discouraged by the prospect.

With information from Will McLernon, of CBC

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