Air Canada ending flights between Sydney and Halifax
It was a little more than two months ago, an Air Canada flight from Halifax touched the tarmac in Sydney, marking the return of daily service between the two Nova Scotia cities.
In January, that flight will be suspended indefinitely.
“They weren't seeing enough uptake on the advanced bookings and they got a hold of us on Friday past to let us know that was their decision,” says Mike MacKinnon, CEO of the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport.
MacKinnon says Air Canada indicated to him earlier this year that there would be changes to some of the Atlantic Canadian routes in 2022.
“Because we had some advance notice, we weren't surprised. The recovery has been slow honestly. It's very busy in the summer months but in the winter it's been steady, but slow. We're at about 50 per cent of our passenger traffic,” he says.
For decades, the flight between Halifax and Sydney has been offered by the major airline.
In Moncton and Saint John there has been no change in service and a spokesperson says flights are doing well.
“I think it's important for our community to understand that we need to use our airport in order to maintain its viability,” says Kathleen Yurchesyn, chief executive officer at Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
WestJet continues to offer service to Halifax and Air Canada will operate daily flights to Toronto and Montreal from Sydney.
“I think this is a sign of growth to be able to fly from our small regional airport to Toronto and Montreal on a daily basis,” says Yurchesyn.
Mackinnon says one positive thing is travellers will still be able to connect to the rest of the country and beyond.
“The data shows that about 90 per cent of the passengers who fly out of Sydney are travelling to destinations that are well served by connecting through Montreal or Toronto, whether it's somewhere in Canada or internationally,” he says.
The last Air Canada flight from Sydney to Halifax will be January 10.