Tuesday’s announcement of a new carrier and direct destination for travellers flying in and out of St. John’s was welcomed by the business community.
A Pascan jet at St. John’s International Airport Tuesday. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
The new carrier is Quebec-based Pascan, and the destination is Moncton, N.B.
St. John’s Airport Authority CEO Keith Collins made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in the St. John’s airport’s main terminal. Starting Oct. 10, the carrier will make daily weekday flights between
St. John’s and Moncton. Collins said Newfoundland and Labrador travellers — especially in the business community — have been asking for easier access to New Brunswick. Up until now, he said, travellers have often flown to Halifax from St. John’s and rented a car to drive to Moncton.
“The last service that was direct to Moncton ended back in 2006,” said Collins.
“Because there’s no direct non-stop air service, many people fly into Halifax, rent a car and drive
in, rather than wait the three- or four-hour layover in the Halifax airport. When time is money, sometimes renting a car and driving is the most efficient way to get to the final destination. We’ve been hearing that for several years from the business community, that if we could find a way to improve the connections, the direct connections with New Brunswick, notably Moncton, which is the largest airport in New Brunswick, it would work very well with them.”
Another factor, Collins noted, is the need for recruit workers from other parts of Canada for industry projects. St. John’s Board of Trade president Denis Mahoney, at the airport for the announcement, agreed. He said he was delighted to see a Moncton-to-St. John’s route open.
“The business community wants to see this market serviced because, principally, it provides access to labour markets,” he said. “There are an awful lot of workers coming to the province, working on the large projects, so we need to provide increased routes to increase access for the workers coming back and forth to the province.”
At the announcement Tuesday, Pascan president Serge Charron said his airline has long wanted to expand into Newfoundland (Pascan already flies into Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush). “We worked with the airport authority and people from the cities of Moncton and St. John’s for months,” he said. “We were already interested. We had a foot in Labrador and a foot in New Brunswick already. So we worked with them and decided, ‘OK, it’s a go,’ and started the direct route from Moncton and St. John’s because the demand is there and the need is there.”
The Moncton and St. John’s stops mark the 19th and 20th destinations for the airline, formed in 1999.