Wednesday, September 06, 2006

NEWS: CanJet Decision Leaves Passengers Scrambling

CanJet Decision Leaves Passengers Scrambling
September 6, 2006

Air Canada is stepping in to fill at least some of the void left by CanJet's departure from passenger flights. Air Canada says it will add four new round-trip flights beginning in October, including one from Halifax to Deer Lake. The other flights are from Halifax to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Air Canada also says they will use larger aircraft and add more flights on an as needed basis in September. Air Canada says they will continue to monitor the demand for flights. Air Canada also says passengers booked on CanJet flights after this Sunday will be able to make travel arrangements with Air Canada.

Travel agents will be working overtime to find space for CanJet passengers now that the airline is folding its wings to concentrate on its charter business. The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies says CanJet's decision will have a major impact on this province. Regional Director Ellen Tucker says while eventually travellers will cope with the loss, it will be a difficult transition. Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador President Nick McGrath points out CanJet's decision will hurt. He says CanJet will now be focusing on flying tourists out, and not into the province. Joe Bennett with the St. John's International Airport Authority expects other airlines will pick up the routes dropped by CanJet. CanJet operated at Deer Lake Airport for nearly four years. Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority General Manager Jamie Schwartz says the next step is to find another airline to offer a similar service.

Provincial Airlines in this province is looking at the market following CanJet's sudden halt of service. Spokesperson Bob Halliday says they intend to act quickly to fill any voids.

Some indication today from CanJet on what may have forced the airline to cancel its passenger service. In a letter to passengers on the company's website, CanJet Executive Vice-President Julie Gossen says CanJet has been faced with many uncontrollable challenges over the four years since its inception, including high fuel costs and increasing airport fees. The letter also indicates that the ability of competing airlines to increase their capacity put pressure on CanJet. Gossen recommends CanJet passengers contact their Reservations Centre for answers to their travel plans after this Sunday. The number is 1-800-809-7777. She says passengers who have reservations with CanJet after Sunday will be fully refunded.

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