GANDER, N.L./MONTREAL, QUE.
Gander leaders continue their quest to see the reinstatement of lost Air Canada flights at their international airport.
A contingent met with airline officials in Montreal Monday, Dec. 10, to discuss Air Canada’s decision to downsize it’s winter schedule, from Oct. 28–May 1, from twice-daily flights to one.
This was done with the introduction of a larger 78-seat Q400 plane, which replaced the DH-300, which seats 50 passengers.
Along with losing overall seating through the one flight format, it also means longer wait times for travellers, according to Hazel Bishop, who represented the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce at the meeting.
She said not only does it disrupt the travelling public, it places additional stress on the business community.
With two flights per day to Halifax, Bishop said, “it gave business people the opportunity to do a day’s work and still get back home that night.”
Now, with one afternoon flight in place, she said, it takes three days because of overnight stays to carry out a day’s work out of province.
As a result, she said, it’s causing travellers to reconsider their options, whether that’s another service provider or another airport.
But overall, she said, the meeting was productive.
“The dream was to say they would reinstate the flight, but we know they have to look at a number of factors to do that,” she said, adding, the people of Gander are already pushing for the 2019 winter schedule to see two flights per day.
A media statement from Air Canada states the airline isn’t ready to commit to anything just yet.
“Service adjustments are part of normal airline schedule planning and the number of flights across our network may vary at certain time of the year due to a number of factors including customer demand and aircraft availability,” it stated. “Regarding next winter, like all routes in the network, we always monitor route performance to make commercial decision and we will take the decision for next winter based on the performance of the route.”
Air Canada did, however, confirm the two-flight schedule will be re-introduced this summer.
“To be operated with the larger Q-400 aircraft, increasing our capacity compared to summer 2018,” the media release stated.