WestJet Cuts Flights

Westjet has cut 88 flights in B.C. and Alberta.
Westjet has cut 88 flights in B.C. and Alberta.

The oil slump has caused WestJet to cut 88 flights a week between B.C. and Alberta cities.

Fort MacMurray is among the hardest hit, losing flights to Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary.

There will also be one fewer daily flight between Calgary and Edmonton and smaller airports in B.C. will be affected.

Flights from Abbotsford, Nanaimo and Kamloops to Edmonton will be cut as will service between Penticton, Prince George and Terrace to WestJet’s Calgary hub.

The cuts can be directly tied to the slump in oil prices. Many workers in the oil patch live in B.C. and commute to their jobs in northern Alberta where they live in camps. There have been major layoffs since the price of oil dropped to around $30 from its high of more than $100 last year.

“We appreciate and recognize that this is unfortunate news for the citizens of all of these communities,” said WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart.

Spokesman in several affected communities told the CBC they were disappointed but not surprised by the cuts.

“When the economy slows down, things you do in good times, you can’t keep doing,” said Charles Scott, a consultant and university lecturer in Prince George.

The aircraft will be redeployed to expanding routes in eastern Canada.