Discount airline NewLeaf Travel Co. is suspending flights to and from Victoria in November and into early December.
No date has been set to resume service at Victoria International Airport.
Service for Victoria, Kamloops, Saskatoon and Regina continues until the end of October and will then be temporarily halted while NewLeaf reviews those routes, Julie Rempel, company spokeswoman, said Friday.
“Six weeks into operations, we took a look at our 11 destinations and how they were performing in order to establish a long-term core network of destinations,” Rempel said. “We want to make sure that we are flying on the right days in and out of Victoria, in and out of Kamloops, in and out of Saskatchewan, and that we are flying to the right places.”
Winnipeg-based NewLeaf is a newcomer to the airline sector. Victoria flights began in late July. Passengers booking flights through NewLeaf will fly on aircraft operated by Flair Airlines, also a Canadian company.
NewLeaf has been running low-cost flights out of Victoria to Edmonton, Kamloops and Winnipeg. For example, a flight today from Victoria to Kamloops is listed at $60.
Rempel did not have information for how full flights have been in and out of Victoria. But an average of about 45 per cent of seats have been filled on its Kamloops flights, compared to Abbotsford flights, which are typically full.
NewLeaf and Flair announced that passengers on other routes can book flights through until the end of April 2017. Flights will be added to more Canadian and U.S. destinations, with specifics to be revealed in coming weeks.
Customers have been asking for the ability to book further in advance, Rempel said.
“In order to be successful in doing so, we had to hone in on which markets had the strongest load factor [number passengers.]”
NewLeaf is “here for the long-term,” Rempel said. “We have proven Canadians want that ultra-low-cost option when they travel. It’s just that we need to make sure that our markets are responding.”
The company is advertising 50 per cent off base fares for October.