Air Canada cancelling direct flights between Calgary and Victoria, Nanaimo mid-January

Air Canada cancelling direct flights between Calgary and Victoria, Nanaimo mid-January
Nicholas Pescod

People leaving the Victoria and Nanaimo airports will soon have one fewer direct route from Air Canada starting in mid-January.

The airline has confirmed it is making changes to its network to and from Calgary, and two routes that are impacted are the direct flights to and from Victoria and Nanaimo.

“After careful review, we have made the difficult decision to suspend some regional routes from Calgary airport effective mid-Jan. 2023 including the Victoria-Calgary non-stop flights, which is able to be served with a connection via our Vancouver hub,” Air Canada said in a statement to CHEK News.

Dave Devana, president and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport says it is working with West Jet to expand flights from Nanaimo (YCD) and Calgary (YYC).

“I can confirm that Air Canada is planning to cancel its direct flight from YCD to YYC Calgary in mid January,” Devana said in an email to CHEK News. “YCD is exploring options with WestJet to expand its direct connections from YCD to YYC.”

Rod Hunchak, director of business and community relations at the Victoria International Airport (YYJ), hopes that other airlines will pick up the slack.

“Other air carriers are aware of Air Canada’s plans and we are hopeful that they will increase their service at YYJ in order to fill the gaps created by Air Canada’s schedule adjustments,” said Hunchak in an email to CHEK News.

This announcement comes nearly two weeks after the airline announced similar suspensions between Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina.

“Airlines are not a charity, it’s a for-profit business,” said Gábor Lukács, president of Air Passenger Rights.

Lukács, an air passenger advocate who has challenged airlines in courts for unfair practices, says the move is peculiar but believes that airlines may be doing it since it would be more profitable. He says if passengers have booked itineraries on one of the upcoming affected flights, they have certain rights.

“The airline, first of all, has to rebook you either in its own network within nine hours of [the] original departure time, or they have to buy you a ticket on another airline. Fastest available one,” said Lukács.

Additionally, Lukács says airlines would need to give the option of a full, monetary refund. If an airline notifies passengers less than 14 days in advance, they’re entitled to a lump sum compensation.

The move was part of a larger focus on rebuilding main hub airports, according to the airline.

“We are continuing to rebuild our business in a prudent and disciplined way and that means looking at every aspect of our network and deploying our resources where they will be most productive,” said Air Canada.

The change is expected to come into effect starting Jan. 16.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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