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WestJet cancels summer flights between Halifax and Europe

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WestJet has suspended its transatlantic service between Halifax and Europe for summer 2023.

The airline says the decision to suspend transatlantic flights from a number of Canadian cities is a response to “capacity constraints impacting the aviation ecosystem.”

In a statement Monday, the executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of the WestJet group said Halifax “remains an integral part” of the airline’s network.

“As we continue to responsibly balance our schedule alongside operational requirements, capacity constraints and the deployment of our aircraft across Canada, we are making these difficult decisions now to enable us to re-position our investments to best serve the province for years to come,” said John Weatherill.

WestJet previously offered direct flights to London Gatwick, Dublin, Glasgow and Paris.

WestJet says tickets for the routes have not been available for sale for summer 2023.

The airline has indicated the suspension of transatlantic service is temporary and the decision will be re-evaluated in 2024.

“WestJet’s focus remains on positioning its network to meet the travel demands of Canadians, while strengthening its footprint across Eastern Canada through sun and leisure travel ..." said the airline.

WestJet is set to announce its summer schedule “in the coming weeks,” according to the release, noting it will increase service between Halifax and western Canada.

Tiffany Chase, a spokesperson with Halifax Stanfield International Airport, says it wasn't a surprise when the airport received word last week that the European services with WestJet would not be operating.

"But it at least provides us with a confirmation and certainty as to what their plans are for 2023," said Chase.

Chase says the Halifax airport does still have nonstop European services available.

"So, passengers can still travel everyday actually, year round, on Air Canada's service to London Heathrow, and then for this summer, we have confirmation that both Condor Airlines and Eurowings Discover will operate Halifax and Frankfurt services nonstop," she said. "And they both operated in summer 2022 as well and reported that those routes operated quite successfully."

According to Chase, the Halifax airport is in discussions with other airlines about what's possible in this region.

"But it's unlikely that will be filled in 2023 unfortunately, but certainly, any opportunity that we have as an airport authority to attract other airlines here, we are doing that," said Chase.

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