Ahead of a Tuesday of travel at the Saint John airport, the grounds were quiet. The sidewalk was merely a shell of what the summer of busy travel looked like for the airport and the city.
Budget airline Swoop paused their flight in and out of YSJ for the time being, while Flair stopped their flight for the winter with a promise to come back.
“Flair hopes to provide year-round service to YSJ as our airline grows,” said a spokesperson for Flair.
“We have our summer 2023 schedule available for booking.”
The promise of planes returning comes on the heels of their competitor, WestJet, recently announcing that it’s axing some of its routes to New Brunswick, including one from Toronto to Fredericton.
“As previously announced, we are transitioning our investments in Eastern Canada to focus on direct West to East connectivity as well as sun and leisure flying,” said a WestJet spokesperson,
“At this point, it is too early to speak to our 2023 summer schedule offerings as we continue to evaluate our network.”
According to local travel experts, the trifecta of the three big-name airlines could be the perfect storm for a cold travel season, with many travel agents now starting to see snowbirds.
“Snowbirds are travelling to Maine and trying to fly out of there,” said John Simon, owner of CanadVid Travel Services,
“People trying to get to elsewhere in the country have no choice, where essentially in Saint John and are stuck trying to go to Moncton or Fredericton and even trying to go to Halifax now.”
David Duplisea from The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce said that those travelling to other airports would only worsen the situation in the Saint John area.
He says that the chamber is continuing its talks with other airlines in hopes of getting more routes and destinations in and out of the terminal.
“The more people travel to other airports — then there’s less traffic coming to the Saint John airport — the less valuable the business case. So it’s a domino effect, and we need people to understand that we must use the Saint John airport, and that’s how it’s going to get better service and better connections,” Duplisea said.
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