‘Saskatchewan is getting less and less accessible’: Airlines cancel service to province

Saskatchewan residents are finding it difficult to leave the province by plane after Sunwing’s abandonment for the month of January and Air Canada’s cancellation of flights to Calgary.

“It looks like Saskatchewan is getting less and less accessible,” said Saskatoon resident Anthony Wood.

Wood is from Leicester, England. He and his family of four frequently fly to the United Kingdom, a trip that can cost $4,000 to $7,000 for flights alone.

“We have families that are kind of sick right now and, you know, having more of a quicker way to get back home for me is extremely important,” Wood said, explaining he has an aunt battling cancer.

The six-hour drive from Saskatoon to Calgary is just over 600 kilometres, while highway travel from Regina is a seven-hour trip over 750 kilometres.

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“We prefer to fly to Calgary. It’s a little cheaper on airport taxes. It’s a little bit more relaxing than in the main hub of Toronto,” Wood said.

“Both my wife and I were extremely shocked when they cancelled the Calgary trip cause every time we’ve been on that flight it’s always, always been full.”

Air Canada is cancelling all flights between Saskatchewan airports and Calgary. Direct service will end on Jan. 16.

Click to play video: 'Air Canada to cancel flights from Regina, Saskatoon to Calgary'

Air Canada to cancel flights from Regina, Saskatoon to Calgary

“They are concentrating on the routes that are the most profitable for them,” said Barb Crowe with Ixtapa Travel. “And, you know, with two flights a day out of here to Calgary, maybe that just wasn’t profitable.”

While the Air Canada option is off the table, other airlines are still able to make the trip to Calgary. However, with little competition left in the market, prices have gone up several hundred dollars.

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The airports have been so frustrating lately that Wood and his family are considering driving to the United States and flying out of Williston, N.D.

“I get a little bit of their frustration, but we still have the service,” said Crowe. “The service is still here with WestJet. They just won’t have that option with Air Canada and, you know, maybe they’ll need to start their points with WestJet.”

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Saskatchewan residents are able to leave the province by train as well, but at the cost of efficiency.

A train from Saskatoon would require a passenger to re-route by bus from Edmonton to Calgary but requires an extra day, as the train arrives in Edmonton after the last bus has already departed for the evening.

Regina residents would need to drive 150 kilometres to Melville, Sask., to catch the nearest train.

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