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Low booking reason for changing start date once more
Ian Nathanson · Updated: June 16, 2021
SYDNEY, N.S. — The newest airline set to fly out of Sydney airport is expressing concern over the low number of bookings in place for its Sydney-Halifax route, and says it will be delaying its start date once again.
PAL Airlines announced during a presentation to Cape Breton Regional Municipality council that the June 28 scheduled launch of the airline at J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport will now be moved toward the end of July.
“It is a likely change — it has not been confirmed in our system just yet,” said Janine Browne, director of business development and sales for the St. John’s, N.L.-based airline. “We have not seen the bookings that we would like to have seen. We hope that that does change, and that bookings will pick up in the next month.”
Expanding outside the Newfoundland and Labrador area, PAL Airlines initially planned to launch at Sydney airport on May 31. Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases at the time and the ensuing “circuit-breaker” lockdown put into effect in Nova Scotia, that launch date was then pushed back to June 28.
With Nova Scotia just announcing its second phase of easing pandemic restrictions and its participation in the Atlantic bubble for June 23, Browne said she would like to see the Sydney-Halifax route “meet a demand that exists in the market, and that we’re able to launch a sustainable, long-term flight” for that route.
Browne told the Cape Breton Post that so far the date change appears to apply only to the Sydney-Halifax flight, “but we’re monitoring the demand in all the regions we’re deploying. It’s looking very strong in some regions, and it’s not in others.”
BASED ON DEMAND
Sydney airport CEO Mike MacKinnon, who confirmed July 30 as PAL’s newest restart date, said the airline is taking these date adjustments seriously.
“Their business decisions are based on the demand out there,” he said. “And because of the uncertainty of the restrictions in our province, that has curtailed consumer demand up until this point.
“Now we, or the airline, might start to see bookings gather some steam with the news about the Atlantic bubble coming back and hopefully more good news will come in the conversations between the premiers to talk about reopening our region to the rest of Canada.”
PAL’s three-times-a-week departure schedule from Sydney and three-times-a-week arrival schedule from Halifax on alternate days will remain the same, Browne said.
Browne and PAL’s sales director Steve Short also told council of its pricing scale for the eventual launch: starting with an introductory price of $69 one-way — one of four different pricing levels offered.
More information is available at PAL Airlines’ website.