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City of Saint John responds to Air Canada’s decision to suspend its passenger operations to Saint John Airport

The City of Saint John was advised today by Air Canada regarding its decision to indefinitely suspend flights at the Saint John Airport effective January 11, 2021.

“We are disappointed to hear of today’s announcement from Air Canada and will make every effort to engage with the airline, our federal and provincial governments and regional stakeholders to identify potential solutions to restore service as quickly as possible,” says Saint John Mayor Don Darling. “The Saint John Airport is a key gateway to our global transportation network for residents, businesses and visitors, and its operations support social prosperity and economic growth within the region.”

Airports and airlines across the country are facing tremendous financial strain due to the unprecedented decline in commercial passenger traffic. While the City of Saint John recognizes that the decision by Air Canada impacts multiple communities in Atlantic Canada, we know that the suspension will cause additional challenges for our local economy as we continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

It is vital that the Saint John Airport continue to serve as an essential transportation link to our region as we work toward the quick restoration of commercial air service.

The City will be urging the Government of Canada to provide funding to airlines so they can continue to provide regional air service to Atlantic Canada. We will also be requesting additional Federal funding for operations at the Saint John airport to ensure it remains open to serve our community for medivac flights, charter & private flights, and will be ready to welcome back our commercial flights as soon as possible.

Saint John is fortunate to have been in the “Atlantic Bubble”, and the City is hopeful we will see its quick and safe restoration. While the bubble has kept us safe, the City recognizes that the 14-day isolation period for many travellers has had a significant impact on airlines, residents, businesses, tourism, and our local economy overall. As such, the City will be encouraging the Government of New Brunswick to safely investigate and pilot initiatives, such as rapid COVID testing with a goal of reducing the amount of time travellers are required to self-isolate, while always ensuring public safety is maintained.

The Saint John Airport is a vital infrastructure link for Southern New Brunswick, providing an essential service for our residents, businesses, visitors, health care sector, students, and new Canadians. The Saint John Airport is a key economic driver in Greater Saint John with an economic impact of more than $90-million annually and supporting 650 jobs. Last year, over 280,000 passengers used the Saint John Airport, and its airfield was completely modernized thanks in part to a $10-million investment from Transport Canada, and a $4-million investment from the Government of New Brunswick.