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Quebec airline offering more flights out of Wabush


Choices for flights in and out of Wabush Airport have been pretty limited since Air Canada pulled out of the Labrador West region a few weeks ago.

There are now only a handful of smaller airlines offering flights to a few destinations, making it harder to book flights out or in.

Now, Pascan Aviation — a Quebec airline that has been offering flights from Wabush to parts of Quebec for several years — is increasing its scheduled flights to Montreal, which Labrador West NDP MHA Jordan Brown said is good news for the region.

“It’s a benefit for many residents, especially if you’re trying to connect to other parts of the province,” Brown told SaltWire. “Them stepping up and offering some more flights and filling a gap in the market is going to be nothing but positive for our region.”

According to a release from the company, it has increase the number of flights in a few regions in Quebec and added two new airports to its list of destinations.

“Having more aircraft in the market helps (ease) concerns about bottlenecks, especially when people are trying to get out. We’re still fairly isolated here, especially when people are trying to get out for medical (appontments) and things like that.”

Yani Gagnon, co-owner of Pascan, said the company’s mission isn’t just to connect the rural regions to city-centres, but also to connect the regions.

“With the expansion of our regional services, we now offer never-equaled connectivity in Eastern Quebec, with connecting possibility for international and interprovincial flights in Montreal-Trudeau and Quebec airports,” Gagnon said in the release. “We want to reassure the population in the regions that we are poised to fill the void left by the withdrawal of Air Canada in the regional market”.

Brown said he isn’t surprised another carrier has come in to fill some of the gaps left by Air Canada and giving travellers more options can only help. He said even before Air Canada left, he personally had trouble booking flights in and out at times.

There’s only so many seats on a plane, he said, and when there are a very limited number of flights coming in and out people are bound to run into times where they have to leave a day earlier or later due to lack of options.

“Having more aircraft in the market helps (ease) concerns about bottlenecks, especially when people are trying to get out. We’re still fairly isolated here, especially when people are trying to get out for medical (appontments) and things like that.”

Brown said it’s a good step forward, and he hopes to see more flights coming in and out of Labrador west sooner rather than later.

Currently, travelling within the province from Wabush by air is limited to one company, Provincial Airlines, and Brown said that needs attention.

“A monopoly isn’t good for anyone,” he said. “Right now, that’s the only option though if you want to go to St. John’s, Deer Lake, or Gander or anywhere on the island. There’s only one player, and that’s a gap that needs to be addressed.”

Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Labrador for the SaltWire Network.

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