Just over a month after resuming flights to the island, an airline partner from one of Barbados’ main source markets has announced that it will stop flying to Bridgetown at the end of this month.
The Canadian-based Westjet airline says its last flight to Barbados for the season will be on Sunday, January 31.
This comes on the heels of the airline announcing layoffs and cuts to its services. Recently, WestJet indicated that it will be removing about 30 per cent of its capacity for February and March and reducing domestic frequencies by some 160 departures.
In the case of Barbados, the Calgary-based airline said although it was ending service to Bridgetown this month, it will only be for about four-and-a-half months.
“Service to Bridgetown ends on Sunday, January 31, 2021 and resumes on Saturday, June 19, 2021,” the airline said in a notice on its website.
WestJet had stopped flying to Barbados at the start of the pandemic last year before resuming service for the winter season.
Late last week when it indicated the cuts in flights, WestJet blamed federal government’s announcement of changes to COVID-19 testing protocols.
At the beginning of this month, the Canadian government announced that effective Thursday, January 7, 2021, Canada-bound air passengers would need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board their flights.
Following that announcement, WestJet’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Sims told Canadian media that “immediately following the federal government’s inbound testing announcement on December 31, and with the continuation of the 14-day quarantine, we saw significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations”.
The decision by WestJet to cut some of its flights is expected to impact about 1,000 employees through furloughs, temporary layoffs, reduced work hours and unpaid leave. The airline will also put a freeze on hiring.