Air Canada is dropping one of its two daily flights between Whitehorse and Vancouver this winter.
From Oct. 25 until March 31, the airline has cut flights that leave Vancouver at 1 p.m. and leave Whitehorse at 2:50 p.m.
An Air Canada spokesperson confirmed the change with the News yesterday afternoon and said a number of factors, including demand and fleet requirements, were responsible for the scheduling change.
A 97-seat aircraft, the Embraer E-90, will continue to leave Whitehorse at 8:35 a.m. and arrive in Vancouver at 11:00 a.m. In the evening, it will leave Vancouver at 6 p.m. and arrive in Whitehorse at 8:35 p.m, said Peter Fitzpatrick.
Air North President Joe Sparling said he wasn’t surprised by the news and believes it will benefit both consumers and airlines alike.
“Typically between peak summer months and slow winter months you see a 30 to 40 per cent drop in numbers at the airport,” he said.
“It only makes sense to reduce capacity, we’ve done it every year and we’re doing it again this year. People won’t be paying for so many empty seats flying around all the time.”
Sparling said Air North would be dropping its Sunday and Thursday flights to Alberta, its Tuesday evening Vancouver flights and its afternoon flights to Dawson this winter.
“We’re each making reductions that are sort of consistent with the drop in traffic and hopefully both airlines and customers will be better off for it.”
Felix Geithner, chair of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, said he wasn’t aware of the change in Air Canada’s schedule but was “very concerned” about it and would issue a comment in the next few days.
Carmen Magro, owner of Klondike Travel, said the drop in service would likely affect tourism in the territory, as well as conferences, events and local businesses.
“The winter market for outbound travel will obviously also be impacted, making international connections and vacation packages more limited and increase overnight connections in the gateway cities,” she said.
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