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Sunwing cancelling majority of remaining winter flights from Regina

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Sunwing has cancelled the majority of its flights out of Regina for the remainder of the winter travel season.

The cancellations, due to “extenuating circumstances,” are effective Feb. 4, 2023.

“This impacts weekly flights from Regina to Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, with the exception of Sunday departures to Puerto Vallarta starting on February 5th,” Sunwing confirmed in an emailed statement.

James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, said this creates a major challenge for passengers.

“This is now the second round of significant cancellations (Sunwing has) done on relatively short notice and obviously people have vacations planned,” Bogusz said.

“These are folks, who in many cases have booked months in advance to get away to their sun destination and now they are going to be disappointed.”

Some Family Day weekend departures are also exempt, including flights to Puerto Vallarta on Feb. 17, Mazatlán on Feb. 17, and Cancun on Feb. 18 and 20. Those flights will operate as planned.

Travel agents including Ragan Sagar have been busy fielding calls from frustrated travels as a result of the cancellations.

Sagar, who manages C World Travel, said he has never had to deal with cancellations quite like this.

“What’s happening with Sunwing right now is completely different. Nobody was expecting they were going to take operations out from Regina,” he said.

Sunwing is offering customers the ability to transfer their vacation packages to same-day departures from Winnipeg, Saskatoon or other Canadian airports at their original pricing, pending availability.

Customers can also opt to cancel their vacations for a full refund, if preferred.

"We sincerely apologize to our valued customers and airport partner in Regina for the inconvenience and disruption,” Sunwing said.

“Following the preliminary cancellations in January, the difficult decision to cancel more of our winter program was necessary due to operational and business constraints that would prevent us from delivering the standards of service our customers in Regina expect and deserve when travelling with Sunwing.”

The airline said it hopes to re-establish a full program for flights out of Regina for the 2023-24 season.

“We certainly hope to not see these disruptions in the future. This has been one of the most challenging winter seasons I’ve seen by a wide margin here in Regina,” Bogusz said.

WESTJET ADDS ADDITIONAL CALGARY-BOUND FLIGHTS TO YQR

Bogusz said it is not all bad news for YQR.

WestJet is adding two additional daily flights to Calgary beginning in mid-February, he said, after Air Canada cut all of its Calgary flights from Saskatchewan.

“In total, this will represent about 5,000 new seats travelling to Calgary on a monthly basis for departures,” he said.

“This is huge news and this is going to help our visitor economy.”

Regina will now have 200 flights to Calgary each month, according to Bogusz. Depending on the day of the week, there will be five to seven daily Calgary-bound flights.

“Calgary is a major market out of Regina and it is typically our top market annually in terms of where people travel to,” Bogusz said.

In general, travel demand increased throughout 2022, Bogusz said.

“Despite having a very high cancellation rate in December with Sunwing, weather delays, etc, we still saw 74 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. That’s the best month we’ve had all year,” he said.

He believes travel levels will increase up to 85 per cent in 2023.

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