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WestJet halts local flights to Orlando

Last Updated Sep 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm EDT

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

WestJet has pulled the plug on its weekly winter flights between the Region of Waterloo International Airport and Orlando, Florida.

The airline blames low passenger volume for the move.

Company spokesperson Lauren Stewart tells 570 News,

“We appreciate and recognize that this is unfortunate news for the communities affected however we have cancelled the non-stop seasonal flight from Waterloo to Orlando. We base our service in part on supply and demand and review our schedule and network on a regular basis to ensure we are meeting guests’ needs while maintaining profitable flying on behalf of our shareholders. Unfortunately the route was not utilized enough to warrant a return this winter. The changes we have made still ensure that our guests have the ability to conveniently connect to Orlando through both Toronto and Hamilton.

Westjet has been offering the seasonal service since December 2015.

The company is however increasing it service linking Waterloo Region to Calgary from five direct flights a week to seven.

Meantime, General Manager of the Region’s Airport Chris Wood tells the Mike Farwell Show that the move definitely took them by surprise.

“We were notified a little while ago, but all indications for us were that the flight was performing quite nicely. But obviously, it just wasn’t meeting WestJet’s expectations. Airport’s don’t typically get the information that the airlines have.. anecdotally, the loads looked good to us. We do see the passenger numbers, but that only tells half the story. It also depends how much people are paying for their tickets, and how profitable that flight is.”

Wood adds that he’ll continue to work with new and potential carriers — and that we may see some positive announcements at the Region of Waterloo International Airport in the near future.