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Maritime airports continue to combat challenges that cascade from Toronto, Montreal chaos


Whether its airlines, airports, or the federal government’s ArriveCan app, who to blame for the chaos facing Canada’s travel industry continues to be a question for thousands of passengers.

New Brunswick's education minister lashed out at Air Canada over the weekend, saying the airline is incompetent because it decided on the weekend to cancel a Monday flight that would have taken him and four officials to a meeting in Regina.

Dominic Cardy posted a series of tweets Saturday, saying the cancellation -- announced earlier that day -- means New Brunswick will not have representation at this year's meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education.

Cardy followed up by calling for deregulation of Canada's airline industry.

"I'm speaking for myself," he wrote. "I hope Canadians start asking why we pay more for flights than anyone in the world, in exchange for terrible service. Paying for unavailable services isn't left versus right. It's called being ripped off."

It’s the second time in less than a month Cardy has complained about the industry.

While Pearson has seen some of the worst travel experiences so far this year, Richard Vanderlubbe, an Association of Canadian Travel Agencies director and president of, says delays at larger airports can cascade to smaller ones.

It has caused Air Canada to cutback some of its regular flights in every Atlantic province over the summer, mostly to and from Montreal and Toronto.

“You might be affected by a delay in Pearson and you're an airport away, not realizing it,” he told CTV News Channel. "It's one of those things that's like a tightly tuned drumhead. There's not much slack in the system."

That cascade is exactly what many Maritime airports are experiencing.

"It's a network. So the planes have to go somewhere or they have to come from somewhere and that's where we're seeing our challenges," said Kate O’Rourke, manager of public relations at the Fredericton International Airport.

Fredericton lost one Montreal flight through Air Canada, but O’Rourke says the airline has made other changes too.

"They've also made the planes on the other flights larger. So they're really kind of trying to work within what they've got - and all the other carriers are doing that – and trying to fly less at the peak hours and more at the off hours to even out that load a little bit," she said.

Some airlines have been able to avoid the problems plaguing the major ones.

Porter Airlines – which services most Maritime cities – isn’t planning to make any changes in its summer schedule.

"Billy Bishop Airport is running relatively well compared to larger airports and we have resources in place for the period. It will be a busy time, with a comparable number of passengers to 2019,” the airline said in a statement.

With files from CTV News and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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