SAINT JOHN – Porter Airlines is temporarily stopping services to Ottawa and Toronto from the Saint John airport at the beginning of 2020.
The airline posted a notice on its website that service from Saint John “is not offered between January 6, 2020, and February 1, 2020.”
The airline said in an e-mail to Huddle that the service will resume on February 2, with up to two flights per week, increasing at busier times.
“Porter reviews its flight schedule every year to determine if adjustments need to be made based on passenger demand. In 2020, we are adding flights in some markets where there is enough demand and decreasing flights where there is less demand,” Brad Cicero, the airline’s director of communications and public affairs, said in the e-mail.
“A majority of schedule changes are concentrated in the winter season, which historically sees a reduction in scheduled flights because people travel less often.”
Saint John Airport CEO Derrick Stanford says the temporary suspension isn’t out of the ordinary.
“It is not unusual for an airline to edit flights during a typically quiet period. Porter made the same changes earlier this year in Saint John,” he said in an e-mail to Huddle. “They are adjusting their schedule in other markets as well, so this is not a unique situation for Saint John nor is it considered irregular.”
“We want all of our airline partners to be successful and prosperous in our market. If this means that they must make adjustments in their schedule to extract the best use of their aircraft in the challenging traffic months, we will work with them to accommodate their business requirements.”
Stanford says 2019 has been a challenging year for the airline industry, with the impact of the grounding of Boeing Max 8 jets trickling down to small markets like New Brunswick. The year also saw market consolidations.
“YSJ is committed to working with its current roster of airline partners to ensure their success in our marketplace and continues to explore new and exciting opportunities in a market faced with strong headwinds,” he said.
Service to Moncton and Fredericton will be available, but will run on a reduced schedule in January. However, starting in February, both cities will see an increase in flights operating daily and up to six flights per week, respectively. Moncton will have more flights overall in 2020.
Service to St. John’s, NL, will also be stopped between January 6 and March 31, 2020. That will resume April 1 with daily flights. Porter has made similar schedule changes in previous years.