January 25, 2016 2:57 pm
Updated: January 25, 2016 10:13 pm

WestJet reduces service out of Edmonton, Calgary due to economic slump

WATCH ABOVE: WestJet suspends some flights out of Edmonton and Calgary amid economic downturn. Kendra Slugoski reports.

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EDMONTON — Due to the downturn in Alberta’s economy, WestJet has decided to suspend several flights to and from energy markets. The move will impact a number of flights out of the Edmonton International Airport.

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“We base our service in part on supply and demand and review our schedule and network on a regular basis to ensure we are meeting guests’ needs while maintaining profitable flying on behalf of our shareholders. With the downturn in the economy we are seeing less demand for travel to and from energy markets into areas across Canada including Edmonton,” Lauren Stewart, a WestJet spokesperson, said in an email to Global News.

WestJet will cancel daily service between Edmonton and Nanaimo, and Edmonton and Kamloops.

READ MORE: WestJet announces Fredericton expansion, mayor hopeful traffic will boost expansion plan

Edmonton will also see reduced service to Abbotsford, Grande Prairie and Calgary. The following flights will be impacted:

  • WS3221 from Edmonton to Kamloops and WS3220 from Kamloops to Edmonton have been removed from the schedule.
  • WS3125 from Edmonton to Abbotsford and WS3124 from Abbotsford to Edmonton have been removed from the schedule. On a weekly basis, service between Edmonton and Abbotsford will fall from 21 flights to 14.
  • WS3137 from Grande Prairie to Edmonton and WS3136 from Edmonton to Grande Prairie have been removed from the schedule. Two times daily service to Edmonton and three times daily service to Calgary will remain.
  • WS3293 from Calgary to Edmonton and WS3207 from Edmonton to Calgary have been removed from the schedule. Ten times daily service between Edmonton and Calgary will remain.

WestJet will also be removing flights between Calgary and two B.C. destinations — Terrace and Prince George.

As well, WestJet is reducing the number of flights between Calgary and Fort McMurray, and Calgary and Brandon, Man.

The news comes as EIA celebrates its second-busiest year to date. Nearly eight million passengers passed through the doors in 2015.

“Overall, 2015 was a year of wins in the context of some challenging economic times,” Tom Ruth, EIA president and CEO, said in a media release. “Looking at the big picture, we are still Canada’s fastest-growing major airport over the past 10 years.”

EIA said domestic travel remained relatively steady in 2015, growing 0.5 per cent over 2014. International travel soared by 14.5 per cent, which the airport believes was driven by the grown of Icelandair’s service to Reykjavik and the new non-stop flight between Edmonton and Amsterdam.

READ MORE: KLM’s non-stop Amsterdam flight now taking off at EIA

Due to the low Canadian dollar, EIA said, travel to the United States dropped by 10.5 per cent in 2015.

Overall, passenger counts came in at 2.7 per cent below 2014’s record numbers, ranking 2015 as the second-highest in EIA history.

Stewart said WestJet will continue to evaluate the schedule and make changes as necessary.

All of the changes will come into effect on March 5, 2016.

With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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