American Airlines will be stopping direct flights from Halifax to New York

Atlantic Canadian travellers may need to make alternate plans to visit the Big Apple.American Airlines will no longer offer service to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Halifax as of April 3, citing continued restructuring under the Chapter 11 protection it received last year.We’d been serving the market since October 2009 but, over time, it just didn’t develop as we had hoped,said Ed Martelle, spokesman for the airline based in Fort Worth, Texas, in an email Tuesday.

The decision leaves United Airlines, which includes the former Continental Airlines, as the only carrier offering direct service to the New York City area. It currently flies from Halifax to Newark Liberty International airport in New Jersey.Jerry Staples, vice-president of marketing and business development at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said the American Airlines move was relayed to the airport a few weeks ago.They let us know that as a result of their restructuring and Chapter 11 protection in the U.S., of course, that they would be stopping service,” Staples said.

“It’s always disappointing to see a carrier leave a market but, having said that, the door is open with them. We have very strong relationships with their executive and their planning teams. So once they go through the restructuring, we’ll be back talking to them about reinstatement of service on the JFK market.There is significant traffic to New York from Halifax, Staples said, noting that travellers not only use it to visit the city, but to utilize the vast array of worldwide connections available through JFK and Newark.The decision to terminate the route didn’t come as a surprise to Robert Kokonis, president of AirTrav Inc., an airline consulting firm near Toronto.

They have to take a look at ways to reduce the costs of their financial activities and certainly they’re looking at their operation from top to bottom, looking for opportunities to save money,” he said.They’re going to be looking for routes such as Halifax, which perhaps are marginal producers or potentially losing money, so that doesn’t surprise me.While there is an extensive network of connections to Europe and Latin and South America out of Newark, travellers out of Halifax will see a difference, at least in the short term, Kokonis said.The nice thing about JFK is you’ve got a lot of international carriers serving that destination, which do not serve Newark, and definitely not LaGuardia, so not having that certainly that is a loss,” he said.

For Nova Scotia, certainly, it’s a loss, because it’s a great route for the business community.Kokonis speculated that Air Canada or its regional carrier Express (formerly Jazz), which is based out of Halifax, could step in to fill the void.Don’t ever say never to Air Canada (which) announced a flight to JFK last week from Toronto, and they haven’t been in the JFK market for probably 12 years or longer.Staples said discussions with other airlines are ongoing, though he declined to name them.We’ve been in conversation with other carriers and have every expectation to believe that you’ll see additional capacity put on New York.He said Delta Airlines will resume service to LaGuardia Airport on May 26, after having suspended direct service to JFK a couple of years ago.As of mid-July, Delta will offer two flights a day to LaGuardia.And right now their schedule shows that they’ll fly year-round once a day in the winter of 2012-13,” Staples said.So the option in between April 3 and May 26 for New York will be on United/Continental through Newark airport.

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