By Kalinowski, Tim on March 13, 2020.
The City of Lethbridge is expressing its disappointment with Air Canada’s decision to suspend air service to the community.
Air Canada announced Thursday it would be suspending service indefinitely, as of March 31, to Lethbridge one day after making a similar announcement about suspending its service to Medicine Hat.
“Since we have taken over operation of the airport, we have placed great emphasis on our desire to increase the viability of the airport,” said Mayor Chris Spearman in a statement to the media on Thursday. “We know that our airport has great opportunity for growth both for passengers as well as economic development opportunities. The airport remains one of city council’s top priorities.”
Spearman says the City plans to continue with scheduled upgrades to the airport in any event to serve the needs of WestJet, and any other potential airlines which may wish to set up shop in Lethbridge in the future. Spearman stated his hope Air Canada may once again resume service to Lethbridge once the COVID-19 outbreak is contained.
Similar to previous outbreaks like SARS or H1N1, Spearman said the impact of the COVID-19 virus on worldwide airline travel has added uncertainty which is motivating various decisions in the travel industry as more passengers opt to stay at home.
“Each time there has been a (global outbreak) there has been a drop in airline travel, and there is generally an impact of about two to three months after the rollout of the virus, and then in the following seven to nine months there is a recovery in the airline industry. So what we want to do in Lethbridge is position ourself for the recovery, and we are continuing to work with Air Canada and WestJet to maximize the flights out of Lethbridge and the connections.”
-With files from Nick Kuhl