How Air Canada flight cutbacks will affect Maritime travellers, airports

Air Canada is making significant reductions to flights in response to the demand for air travel.

Several flights in and out of Atlantic Canada have been cancelled for July and August to reduce flying at peak times. The reductions are an attempt to improve customer service through fewer flights.

An early morning departure from Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport to Montreal and a late arrival from Montreal to Moncton are among July's cancellations.

Courtney Burns, the president and CEO of the Greater Moncton International Airport Authority, said from a traveller's perspective, what it's taking off the table for July is that traveller who is trying to get to Montreal and back on the same day.

"So a lot of business travellers for example who do that early morning flight and come back in the evening, that's off the table unfortunately for the month," said Burns.

Losing the early morning flight will have a big impact on Jason Bowie who travels to Ontario three weeks out of four each month for business. He needs that early flight to Montreal to connect with Ottawa.

"I had a flight to Ottawa booked for the 19th of July," said Bowie about a three-day trip later this month.

"I get an arbitrary email from Air Canada and they say, 'Oh, we're going to move your flight. We've rebooked you on a flight five hours later. We're going to bring you back the day you come back five hours earlier.' So, I'm missing the entire day going there and the entire day going back."

In an email to CTV News, Air Canada said flights to and from travel hubs in Montreal and Toronto have also been reduced in Deer Lake, Saint John, Fredericton, Halifax and Charlottetown.

Doug Newson, the CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, told CTV News in an email;​

“Airlines reducing capacity in our peak summer season is not something we ever want to see. There will be a revenue impact as well as reductions in overall seat capacity and options for travellers, but we still expect to see July and August numbers at, or near, 2019 levels,“ said Newson.

Losing two flights, even for a month, is a disappointment to Burns.

"Now more than ever, people want to get ​back to travel, connecting with friends and family, having an in-person handshake with a prospective client," said Burns.

"It's disappointing to see the disruption that's happening in the aviation industry as we rebound. I think everyone knew this summer would be busy and recovery would come, it's just picked up way faster than anyone was ready for."

Burns said she's optimistic those cancelled flights will only be for a month and she's been reassured by Air Canada that is the case.