An Air Canada jet takes off from Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Thursday, March 8, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Airports in N.B., N.S. without commercial service after Air Canada cuts

Airports in N.B., N.S. without commercial service after Air Canada cuts

HALIFAX — Air Canada’s service cuts in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick risk slowing the entire region’s economic recovery, the CEO of a regional airport authority said Monday.

The airline’s decision to cut service to Saint John, N.B., and to Sydney, N.S. — which leaves those cities without any commercial air service — will have far-reaching effects, Derrick Stanford, president of the Saint John Airport Authority, said in an interview.

Commercial planes stopped flying out of those airports Monday morning. Air Canada announced last month it would be cutting all service to the two airports and reducing service to Deer Lake, N.L., Charlottetown, Fredericton and Halifax.

“The withdrawal from all of the services is really going to put Atlantic Canada’s ability to participate in the recovery at risk,” he said. His airport will continue operating for private jet service, medical evacuations and as a centre for the Canadian Coast Guard.

“We’re already disadvantaged geographically because of where we are,” Stanford said, adding that the break in air service cuts residents in the Atlantic region off from the rest of the country.

The cuts have also set back the region’s progress in creating hubs for travel outside Canada, he said. Unfortunately, Stanford added, demand for flights out of the region has dropped to “historic lows.”

The last commercial flight out of J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport departed at 5:30 a.m. Airport CEO Mike MacKinnon said Monday his airport will also shift to non-commercial service, including medical and cargo flights.

MacKinnon said the airport will cut its daily operating hours by half, to 12 from 24, adding he didn’t know when commercial air traffic would return. “It’s really frustrating to be one of the airports to lose service all together,” he said. “We’ve seen the service here die a death of a thousand cuts.”

This isn’t the first blow Sydney’s airport has faced, as Air Canada had previously suspended flights from Sydney to Halifax. WestJet, the only other airline serving the airport, suspended its flights in October as part of cuts that also affected Moncton, N.B., Fredericton, Charlottetown and St. John’s, N.L. “

MacKinnon said he and his team are optimistic the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will help restart the region’s aviation industry but said getting to pre-pandemic levels of demand and service for air travel is still a long way off. “It is what it is and we’ve got to ride this out as best as we can.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

— — —

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press

Air Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media in Edmonton on measures taken to help with COVID-19 on Friday, March 20, 2020. Political analysts say Kenney must rethink his traditional “fight back” approach and start building bridges to reconcile environmental concerns with oil and gas development. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Political scientists say Kenney must rethink pugilistic approach on oil, environment

Keystone XL pipeline expansion would have taken more oil from Alberta through the United States to refineries and ports

An incomplete secondary wall stands alongside the previous version near where the border separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego meets the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. In the days before Joe Biden became president, construction crews worked quickly to finish Donald Trump’s wall at an iconic cross-border park overlooking the Pacific Ocean that then-first lady Pat Nixon inaugurated in 1971 as symbol of international friendship. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Biden halts border wall building after Trump’s final surge

Pause order leaves billions of dollars of work unfinished but still under contract

Crimson Villas, a new lodge and apartment complex expected to be complete this spring, is named after Red Deer’s official flower. (Contributed photo)
New lodge, apartment complex named after Red Deer’s official flower

A new lodge and apartment building in Red Deer will be named… Continue reading

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

Jacqueline Donahue of Hazleton, right, buys la Mega Millions lottery ticket at the Anthracite Newsstand on Public Square, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Mark Moran/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)
Nearly $1B Mega Millions prize due to long odds, slow sales

Only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large

David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, speaks during the Olympic Partnership kick off event at the Sobey’s office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Shoemaker says the IOC remains committed to staging the Summer Games in Tokyo this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canadian Olympic boss says IOC plans to go ahead with Tokyo Games this summer

IOC calls cancellation decision “categorically untrue”

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Dustin Diamond attends the SYFY premiere of “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” at The Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Diamond is undergoing chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with cancer, according to his representative. Diamond, best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom, was hospitalized earlier this month in Florida. Last week, his team disclosed he did have cancer. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
Dustin Diamond undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer

Diamond hospitalized earlier this month in Florida

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele, left, and Kyle Connor, right, congratulate Blake Wheeler on his goal during second period NHL action against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, January 21, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Four different Jets score as Winnipeg beats the Ottawa Senators 4-1

Four different Jets score as Winnipeg beats the Ottawa Senators 4-1

Most Read