Air Canada is no longer offering direct flights between Calgary and two other cities, Saskatoon and Regina, starting today

Air Canada is no longer offering nonstop flights between Calgary and two other cities, Saskatoon and Regina, starting today.

The airline announced its decision in early December 2022, writing in a statement to CTV News at the time that, “After careful review, we have decided that we must continue to focus strategically on rebuilding our Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.”

A search Monday for flights from Calgary to Saskatoon and Regina shows routes with stops in Vancouver and Edmonton.

“It would appear that Air Canada, in terms of restructuring its fleet (moving to larger aircraft, eliminating some of its smaller aircraft), may no longer feel that the market from Saskatchewan to Calgary is enough to justify those larger aircraft.” said Keith Willoughby, dean. from the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business and a professor of management sciences, he told CTV’s Your Morning on Monday.

The removal of a service that Saskatchewan people have enjoyed for years now leaves a “void” in the province, Willoughby added, especially with the relaxation of pandemic restrictions last year and an increase in travel.

WestJet continues to offer nonstop flights between Calgary and Saskatchewan.

A WestJet spokesperson said the airline will, starting Monday, offer three more daily flights between Calgary and Saskatoon for up to nine a day, as well as another flight between Calgary and Regina for up to seven a day.

“In total, WestJet will operate 104 weekly flights between the communities and YYC Calgary International Airport,” the spokesperson said.

Not long after Air Canada’s announcement, budget carrier Flair Airlines said it would also offer daily flights between Calgary and Saskatoon starting in May.

“I think the fear of people here in the province is that now with a major airline providing that service, Saskatchewan residents, consumer travelers, business travelers, now they’re going to see fares go up and I think that’s a concern for the people of Saskatchewan, Willoughby said.

Air Canada’s move comes as Sunwing suspends all its operations in Saskatchewan until February 3.

Sunwing angered many air travelers last holiday season after the airline canceled flights following a severe winter storm and a failure in its digital communication service.

In 2018, Greyhound Canada canceled virtually all of its bus routes in Western Canada.

United Airlines canceled nonstop flights from Regina and Saskatoon to Denver, Colo., in 2015. And in 2020, Delta suspended flights to Saskatoon.

Willoughby said these recent flight cancellations could make it difficult for the province to compete financially with the rest of the world in terms of recruiting for certain positions or bringing people in for conferences.

“Saskatchewan is home to a really vibrant entrepreneurial economy, an entrepreneurial culture here,” he said. “We’re seeing tremendous increases in technology and mining, and with those opportunities not being available, it really hampers business opportunities in the province.”

With files from Tyler Barrow, CTV News Saskatoon Versatile Journalist, Laura Woodward, CTV News Saskatoon Versatile Journalist, Chandra Philip, CTV News Saskatoon Digital Journalist, and The Canadian Press

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