WestJet drops new Brandon-Toronto route citing lack of demand

WestJet drops new Brandon-Toronto route citing lack of demand

BRANDON — Starting next week WestJet will no longer be offering direct service between Brandon, MB and Toronto.

The airline says as of Sept. 26, it will remove the run from its schedule because demand for seats has not met expectations.

The four-times-a-week flights began at the end of June to test response to the route.

WestJet then announced in July that it would offer the service on a year-round basis starting late next month.

People who have booked flights on the route will be contacted by WestJet directly to make alternate travel arrangements or to offer refunds.

Lauren Stewart, a WestJet spokeswoman, says the company remains committed to Brandon and has not ruled out resuming service to Toronto, but it will “give it a rest” for now to see if demand revives.

Stewart says since the beginning of the run, fewer than 5% of the seats were being sold.

“We really thought it would pick up. It was a route that had been asked for, but unfortunately the bookings just weren’t there.”

The City of Brandon said in a release that it’s disappointed with the loss of the eastern route.

“These things come down to business decisions and that flight wasn’t performing to the expectations of WestJet,” city manager Scott Hildebrand told the Brandon Sun newspaper.

“We still believe that a regional airport is of vital importance to the economy and we want to be prepared if something opens up in the future.”

The Brandon Municipal Airport is undergoing a renovation and expansion that is expected to be completed early next year.

WestJet will continue to operate a midday Brandon-Calgary flight seven days a week. It’s also bringing back an early morning departure and late-night return option for the route three times a week, beginning Oct. 23.

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