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Air Canada Flight Reduction To YSJ Concerning, CEO Of Chamber

By Tim Herd Aug 12, 2022 | 3:34 PM

Frustration from the Saint John business community as Air Canada continues to reduce flights.

It was announced in July that the carrier would be dropping an average of 77 round trips, or 154 flights, per day in July and August.

The Saint John Airport (YSJ) lost two of its four daily round trips through the airline.

David Duplisea, CEO of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce, sent a letter to Air Canada’s president this week expressing concerns about the impact of the flight reductions on the city and business community.

“It’s coming at a bad time,” Duplisea said in an interview. “This is when we are firing on all cylinders, we’re trying to ramp up after the pandemic, and this is like having the legs cut out from underneath us.”

Duplisea mentioned these flights are critical as Saint John continues to transform into a larger transportation and logistics hub.

“It’s critical as the effect is quite substantial, and if you look at some of the seat reductions, and when compared to the other New Brunswick airports we’ve been very, very hard hit, and there’s a real inequity between Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John,” he said.

“For example, Fredericton experienced 13 per cent seat reduction and they have six departures, and Moncton experienced six per cent reduction in seats with five departures, whereas we lost an early morning flight to Toronto, we lost our Halifax connection, and the overall reduction in Saint John has been roughly 50 per cent, and we’ve gone down from five flights to two flights.”

During the interview, Duplisea brought up that business can adapt to changes, however, it is not ideal.

“Many people are looking at different routes. A lot of people are now saying, ‘OK, I have to fly out of Moncton or Fredericton now,’ and that may work well in nice weather, but if there’s a storm, or it’s the winter months, that may impose some serious safety issues,” he said.

Duplisea also mentioned that some are flying from Bangor and Portland, Maine.

He added the Chamber is working beside YSJ and Envision Saint John, the region’s growth agency, to provide a solution to these flight reductions.

“There is an effort from all of us, collaborating to send a narrative and a message to Air Canada that this is unacceptable as it is having a significant impact on our business community.”


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