Airline halts Edmonton flights
Icelandair, the Nordic country’s national airline, is suspending flights to and from Edmonton between November and March due to lack of demand, a spokesman said Friday.
The airline began regular flights between Edmonton International Airport and Reykjavik back in 2014, adding to its Canadian network that at the time included Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver.
Icelandair spokesman Michael Raucheisen said the airline is also looking at reducing service to other Canadian markets during the winter months.
Flights will be suspended between Reykjavik and Edmonton from Nov. 22 to March 19, Raucheisen said.
The news was particularly disappointing for Pat Batten, owner of Ocean Odyssey Inland, which imports around 450 kg of seafood a week from Iceland using the airline.
“We will do everything we can to maintain the fresh seafood being brought in on a weekly basis,” Batten said.
“It’s going to be a little hopscotching and I’m hoping everything goes smoothly, but Icelandair has said they are going to do everything they can to help us get that (seafood) in as smoothly as possible.
“I’ve kicked the wall and had my temper tantrum and now we just have to put on a brave face and say, ‘Yup, we can do this.’”
Batten — who imports cod, haddock, Arctic char, redfish, lemon sole along with wolf fish, monkfish and scampi — said she will still be able to get fish, but it will come via a more circuitous route.
The seafood will be flown between Reykjavik and Toronto before being flown via WestJet to Edmonton under a deal struck between Icelandair and Canada’s second-largest airline, she said.
“I’m kind of holding my breath but we are going to have to try it,” she said.
“But it’s definitely going to have an impact.”
Mayor Don Iveson said he’d heard reports that Icelandair was making some schedule adjustments.
“They’ve been a phenomenal partner for us; I know a lot of Edmontonians have really enjoyed their trips and stopovers to Iceland, as well as their connectivity through to many destinations in Europe,” he said.
“A seasonal cancellation when an airline is going through restructuring is not uncommon.”
In total, 29 Icelandair flights will be suspended during the period, Edmonton International Airport said in a release, adding that seats on transatlantic flights out of Edmonton have grown 26 per cent in the last three years.