(TrinidadGuardian)Just three months after announcing a resumption in service to Trinidad, Montreal-based airline Air Canada has now suspended the route indefinitely. In a statement to Guardian Media on Tuesday, the airline said, “Air Canada has currently suspended service between Toronto and Port of Spain for 2023. At this point in time, we have no plans for the resumption of this route.”
Passengers holding existing tickets have reportedly been contacted and offered either to change their ticketed destination or offered refunds. On May 25th, 2023 Air Canada announced it would resume flying to Piarco International Airport up four times weekly using its Airbus A220-300 fleet. Tourism Trinidad also welcomed the announcement on June 17th, saying in a media release it was great news for “travelers and for the tourism industry.”
While the carrier has not revealed the reason for axing the planned route, it is reportedly due to crew/equipment shortages – an issue that many airlines have faced across the world post-pandemic. Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell confirmed the news to Guardian Media saying, “Air Canada appears to be having industrial relations challenges presently with ongoing pilot negotiations and/or industrial action, as well as, the availability of pilots to operate its equipment. It is indeed unfortunate that, as a consequence, the anticipated recommencement of the Toronto – POS route for this winter schedule which had already been registered with local authorities and flights sold, now has to be cancelled.”
However, the minister says local carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) is expected to increase capacity on the Toronto-Port of Spain route for the Christmas season, as it did for the July/August vacation period. He also revealed that CAL is expected to add three more Boeing 737-8 aircraft to its jet fleet by fourth quarter 2024. He says this will allow the airline to offer additional flights, expand its route network and reduce fare costs.