Delta Airlines pulls service from Victoria International Airport

Major U.S. airline offered flights to Seattle, cites ‘business considerations’ for decision

Getting to Seattle from Vancouver Island will get a little trickier this fall as Delta Airlines has decided to suspend its service from Victoria International Airport in September.

Delta told employees of the decision last week and this week informed the Victoria Airport Authority.

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“We’re obviously disappointed. Delta is one of the largest airlines in the world and have an incredible network they have been building out of Seattle that offered tremendous connectivity for people on the Island,” said Victoria Airport Authority chief executive Geoff Dickson.

The last flight is scheduled for Sept. 2.

The daily service started in April 2016, offering three 40-minute flights a day to Seattle, and was part of a suite of new services from the airline intended to significantly increase capacity across its system.

When reached for comment, Delta would only say the company “continuously evaluates and optimizes its route network and has made the decision to end service between Seattle and Victoria out of business considerations.”

“Delta gave it a good shot; they’ve given it three years,” said Dickson, who noted their load numbers had been good since. “Airlines are always looking at the economics of routes and they have to make the highest and best use of their fleet.”

It’s the second big-name airline to cancel service from Victoria in the past year.

Last fall, United Airlines announced that after 10 years it would be discontinuing its United Express service between Victoria and San Francisco as of Jan. 7.

Dickson said that flight did very well in the summer, but suffered in the winter. He also noted it said nothing about the economics of flying out of Victoria.

“We were the last of the regional airports to have United service. They had pulled out of no-hub markets in Canada a number of years ago,” he said.

The loss of the two carriers represents a six per cent decrease in the number of flights out of Victoria daily.

“We have room to grow and we are very bullish on the market and the long-term trends for YYJ,” said Dickson, who added that he hopes Alaska Airlines might consider adding more capacity between Victoria and Seattle to pick up the slack.

Dickson said work on the $19.4-million expansion of the terminal is going well with the first phase expected to be complete in August, with the second phase due to be complete by the end of the year and the final stage done in the spring of 2020.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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