Canadian ultra low-cost carrier Swoop has become the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, drastically cutting its route network as people eliminate all but the most essential travel.
As of next week, the airline will cut operations to just four cities – Abbotsford, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Halifax. The service will run four times a week each way, though only twice a week to Halifax.
The airline is putting a brave face on the situation, calling its lone remaining flight the “Swoop Sprint.”
“Beginning on April 12, we will start offering through-flights from Halifax to Abbotsford, with stops in Hamilton and Edmonton,” the airline said in a post on its website. “On other days of the week, we will be connecting eastbound travellers going from Abbotsford to Halifax with quick stops in Edmonton and Hamilton.”
The change will be in effect until at least May 31.
1️⃣ route. 4️⃣ cities. ✈️ The Swoop Sprint.— FlySwoop (@FlySwoop) April 7, 2020
Providing an essential travel option with #FairFares that connects Canadians coast to coast.
We are all doing our part by staying home. But for those who must travel, we’ve got your back. Learn more ➡️ https://t.co/GRLlt4C2Xb pic.twitter.com/4YxpEUNmMX
The airline had operated a domestic-only schedule since late March, when border closures forced Swoop to drop flights to sun destinations in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
“As there are no travel restrictions within Canada at this time, and while the crisis continues, we will continue to fly our domestic network, ensuring Canadians have access to critical travel during uncertain times,” said Swoop spokeswoman Larissa Mark in an email.
Service to Winnipeg and London, Ontario will disappear from the Swoop schedule as a result of the change.
Swoop’s revised schedule parallels one offered by rival ultra low-cost carrier Flair, which is flying between Toronto and Vancouver four times a week each way, twice with stops in Edmonton, twice with stops in Calgary.
Swoop is a subsidiary of Westjet, and laid off 269 employees on March 24, almost half of them taking voluntary measures such as reduced hours or a leave of absence.
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