Air­line halts Edmonton flights

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - JURIS GRANEY With files from Claire Theobald

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.


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