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Sunwing ponders legal action after being shut out of Sydney airport

Sunwing Airlines has cancelled its summer schedule of flights between Sydney and Toronto.

Sunwing Airlines has cancelled its summer schedule of flights between Sydney and Toronto.

Sunwing had planned to resume service June 15, with twice weekly flights offered until Sept. 10, but announced Friday its planes will not fly in or out of Cape Breton in 2009.

“Unfortunately our program has been irreparably damaged by the refusal of the Sydney Airport Authority to allow Sunwing to operate into Sydney this summer,” said Mark Williams, president of Sunwing Airlines, in a release.

“Sunwing had started proceedings to obtain a court injunction to overturn the airport authority’s decision. Unfortunately, recent press coverage of the airport authority’s refusal has materially and negatively impacted sales on the route and the timing of the scheduled court date was too late for us to recover our program for this summer.”

Larry MacPherson, chief executive officer of the Sydney Airport Authority, could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.

But earlier this week he told the Cape Breton Post that Sunwing was no longer welcome to fly into Sydney due to the addition of a new seasonal service offered by WestJet. He said Sunwing didn’t notify the airport of its plans to return and the airport, instead, agreed to a deal with WestJet that will see a Boeing 737 fly non-stop to Toronto three times a week, beginning May 5.

MacPherson said the airport authority believes that having three airlines operating out of Sydney with direct flights to Toronto would not be sustainable. He also stated that there would not be enough counter space for Sunwing’s ticket agents.

Meanwhile, Williams said Sunwing doesn’t believe the Sydney Airport Authority has the right to act as a market regulator and they plan to take legal action.

 
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