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Saint John adds regional air routes to Halifax, Bathurst

By Brad Perry May 8, 2024 | 2:27 PM

Regional air service is returning to New Brunswick with the expansion of PASCAN Aviation.

The Quebec-based company is launching weekday service between Saint John, Halifax, and Bathurst.

Officials made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon at the Saint John Airport (YSJ).

“We’re really thrilled to be able to get back to Halifax and to extend our connection out to Bathurst as well,” Sandy Ross, president and CEO of YSJ, said in an interview.

Air Canada used to offer a regional route between Saint John and Halifax but it was cancelled during the pandemic.

Ross said that route in particular used to carry around 24,000 passengers per year.

“What I’ve really been hearing from the market is two things. That they wanted to get back to Halifax and that people want other connection opportunities beyond that,” he said.

“We think that there’s a very definite possibility that PASCAN is going to be able to make forward connections out of Halifax on other carriers, so this will really broaden the reach of passengers wanting to fly out of YSJ.”

Ross said he believes the expansion of PASCAN to the Maritimes is “absolutely critical” to reviving regional air connectivity.

Pascan Aviation announced the launch of new regional service between Saint John, Bathurst, and Halifax on May 8, 2024. Image: Brad Perry

PASCAN will use a smaller aircraft that carries 33 passengers, which officials said is the right fit for regional air travel.

Ross believes the daily routes will not only be well-received by the business community, but will give leisure travellers a fast and efficient connection to the world through Halifax, and allow families needing medical care in either Halifax or Saint John to have same-day service.

The new service is also a lifeline for Bathurst, which has seen regular service dwindle from three flights a day pre-pandemic to four flights per week now.

PASCAN will launch the new service on Sept. 9 with two daily return flights on weekdays between Saint John and Halifax, along with one same-day return flight on weekdays between Bathurst and Saint John.

Fares will start at $445 return and can be booked starting June 1 online or by calling 1-888-313-8777.

As for further expansions in the future, the airport president and CEO said they are open to every opportunity.

“They’re very aggressive, very forward-thinking, and so we want to get this one up and running, but we think PASCAN is going to be a great partner not only for YSJ but also a great partner for the underserviced and perhaps even not serviced airlines in Atlantic Canada,”

PASCAN is working on agreements that would allow for seamless connections with the flights offered by larger airlines.