Air Canada will suspend flights between Edmonton International Airport (EIA) and London’s Heathrow Airport for three-months this winter, according a report by the Edmonton Journal.
‘Despite ongoing promotional initiatives over the past six years, the Edmonton-London route has always been a challenge to be profitable during the winter months,’ said Air Canada spokesperson, Angela Mah.
‘As a result, Air Canada has taken a commercial decision to not operate the Edmonton-London flights between January 8 and March 28, 2014. The non-stop flights re-start March 29 with five weekly flights ramping up to daily on May 1 for the summer season,’ Ms. Mah said.
Heather Hamilton, director of communications and marketing for EIA, said: ‘We are disappointed. That flight is a popular route. We think it’s going to be missed.’
‘Air Canada is an important partner for us and we will continue to work with them,’ she added.
Travellers affected by the Air Canada suspension have the option of travelling with United Airlines non-stop from Edmonton to Newark, New Jersey, which provides Star Alliance connections to Europe, Hamilton said.
Air Canada launched three non-stop flights between Edmonton International Airport and London Heathrow in November 2006, following years of negotiations for year-round European scheduled service by the airport and the city. Daily flights began in April 2007.
Travel agents and frequent flyers are reportedly disappointed by the decision, but expressed hope that the airport will find other more favourable alternatives.
‘To get to Europe, there’s still lots of great options; but to London, it’s certainly going to add a leg and a couple of hours to that trip so it’s certainly unfortunate for frequent London travellers,’ said Stephen Petasky, a frequent flyer and president and managing partner of Luxus Group, a recreational and commercial real estate company with properties in Europe.
‘If we’re losing the Heathrow flight, ideally EIA will be able to pick up another flight to Europe in a more central hub that will allow for a better gateway to the rest of Europe. Maybe the loss of this will open up the door for another great opportunity for EIA that could be even better than Heathrow in regards to a hub to the rest of Western Europe,’ he added.