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An aerial view of the Saint John Airport. Image: Submitted/Saint John Airport

Business Community Welcomes More Flights At YSJ

By Brad Perry Sep 28, 2022 | 3:00 PM

News of more flights at the Saint John Airport is being welcomed by members of the local business community.

Air Canada plans to add a second daily round-trip flight between YSJ and Toronto Pearson Airport on Oct. 30.

Airline representatives met Tuesday with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce and Envision Saint John to share the news.

David Duplisea, CEO of The Chamber, said having more flight options at the airport is positive news for the business community.

“We are getting pretty much what we had asked them to consider,” Duplisea said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

“We’re getting more flights, better connections, and same-day return service. Those are the things the business community was looking for”

This summer, Air Canada cut an average of 77 round trips, or 154 flights, per day as it grappled with a series of challenges.

YSJ lost two of its four daily round trips as part of the cuts. It currently has one daily round trip to Toronto and one to Montreal.

Air Canada representatives met with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce and Envision Saint John on Sept. 27. From left to right: Alan McKirdy, Air Canada; Ryan Spencer, Air Canada; David Duplisea, CEO, Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce; Paulette Hicks, CEO, Envision Saint John; Hinda DeKhili, Air Canada; Luigi Iannello, Air Canada. Image: Submitted

Duplisea sent a letter to Air Canada’s president in August expressing concerns about the impact of the flight reductions on the city and business community.

He noted that the Saint John Airport saw a larger seat reduction than its counterparts in Fredericton and Moncton.

Saint John experienced a 50 per cent seat reduction, while Fredericton and Moncton experienced reductions of 13 per cent and six per cent, respectively.

Duplisea said a key connection was lost by cutting the early morning flight to Toronto, leaving travellers without the option of same-day return service.

“It added a substantial amount of money to the trip expense if you had to stay overnight or if you couldn’t get to your meeting and come back on the same day,” said Duplisea.

The news was also welcomed by Paulette Hicks, CEO of Envision Saint John, who noted the coming years are shaping up to be busy in the region.

“We have 10 large conventions already booked for 2023/2024 – we will continue to develop offerings that align with our priorities of attracting visitors, business and residents,” Hicks said in a news release.

Duplisea said the community also has a role to play in showing Air Canada the value in continuing to service Saint John at this level, and potentially adding more routes.

“We need to encourage people to consider travel plans and make those bookings so that we do have a continuing compelling proposition,” he said.


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