A recent announcement by WestJet to reduce its flight schedule due to the impact of the pandemic will be reflected in the number of flights at the Comox Valley Airport.
On Jan. 7, WestJet noted it cut its schedule as the airline continues to face volatile demand and instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.
The airline will remove approximately 30 per cent of its currently planned February and March capacity from the schedule, a more than 80 per cent reduction year over year. Additionally, WestJet will reduce domestic frequencies by 160 departures as advisories, travel restrictions and guidance continue to negatively impact demand trends.
“YQQ has seen some reductions in the WestJet flight schedule, which was not unexpected given current government recommendations on avoiding non-essential travel and the introduction of new regulations for international travel,” said Erin Neely, market development manager of the Comox Valley Airport.
She added that passengers out of the Comox airport will continue to have non-stop access to Western Canada’s two largest hubs, Calgary and Vancouver.
“While there won’t be as many options for selection of flight times, there is no shortage of seat availability.”
In addition to the reduction of its flight schedule, WestJet also announced the equivalent of 1,000 employees across the company will be impacted through a combination of furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours. There will also be a hiring freeze implemented.
As for the changes at YQQ, Neely explained pre-pandemic airline schedules were usually set a year or more in advance; as a result of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the airport is receiving airlines’ schedules one month out, with changes confirmed as late as two weeks in advance.
“Regardless, the airport remains fully operational to support essential travel and is ready to increase capacity when conditions and government regulations allow.”
For more information, visit comoxairport.com.