Bearskin Airlines ending service from Waterloo Region to Ottawa
Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:25AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 6:38PM EDT
Bearskin Airlines will no longer fly out of the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
The airline announced Tuesday that it is ending its service between Waterloo Region and Ottawa effective April 1, after seven years at the local airport.
It’s part of a broader move that sees Bearskin pulling out of the Ottawa International Airport – which it has used as a hub for flights to a number of destinations in northern Ontario.
Bearskin officials say the routes simply weren’t financially viable – even though planes flying between Waterloo Region and Ottawa were often quite full.
“The demand for service was certainly there, however our cost to deliver service has consistently been higher than our ability to cover the revenue,” the company’s sales and marketing director tells CTV News.
Airport general manager Chris Wood says he knew Bearskin was having trouble competing with other airlines flying into and out of Ottawa, but was still surprised to hear the service will be discontinued entirely.
Also caught off guard were passengers who use the service, like Sarah Duplan – who lives in London, but attends an Ottawa university and uses Region of Waterloo International Airport to travel between her two homes.
“Buses and trains take a lot of time, plus they’re even more expensive. I’d rather fly with Bearskin,” she says.
Bob Sicard and his coworkers make use of the Bearskin flights several times per month.
Without those flights, Sicard says, they’ll likely fly out of Toronto – even though they’d rather use the local airport.
“It gets us to Ottawa, and then from there we can connect to go anywhere in Ontario,” he says.
“We’re willing to pay more because we don’t have to drive to Toronto, because we don’t have to pay the Toronto parking rates.”
With Bearskin gone, Wood says he’s already talked to other airlines to gauge interest in taking over the route.
“We’re going to do everything we can to try and replace this service,” he says.
Passengers who had booked flights with Bearskin for April 1 or beyond can obtain a refund by calling the airline at 807-474-2624 or their travel agency.