Sunwing has cancelled all flights out of Saskatchewan's two major cities until Feb. 3, effective immediately.
In a news release issused Thursday, the airline apologized for failing to deliver.
"Sunwing had initially planned to supplement seasonal demand for travel from Saskatoon and Regina with the assistance of temporary foreign pilots for the winter months," the release said.
"When foreign pilot deployment was not agreed to, we brought in subservices to sustain our operations, however the conditions and schedule have proven too significant for our subserviced aircraft partners."
The airline said it is still working to repatriate travellers stranded by cancelled return flights. Sunwing didn't provide details in its release as to how it is planning on doing this, but did say in a later email that it "will repatriate most if not all Saskatchewan customers by January 2, 2023."
Passengers affected by the announcement will get a full refund on their original form of payment, according to the airline. The refunds are set to be processed within 30 days and no action is required on the part of the customer.
The cancellation has left Scott Wyber's family reeling. Wyber's daughter's wedding was planned for Jan. 25 in Mexico. Wyber, who is from Moose Jaw, Sask., said at least 52 guests were booked with the airline, flying out of Regina and Saskatoon.
"She hasn't stopped crying. She's devastated.… We've been confirmed since May 13 of this year on this wedding, and it was because of COVID and everything else, we put it off," he said.
"We were finally cleared to go and everything was looking good and then we recieved this news today and it's just torn our life apart."
Wyber said they are trying to rebook through Winnipeg.
"But there is probably no chance of getting all of our guests through Winnipeg onto a flight leaving there, so I really don't know where we're at, at this point."
"Sunwing has been a longterm partner for the Regina airport and they've been offering sun services for many years," James Bogusz, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, said Thursday.
"It's not common to have an airline have to suspend services to essentially deal with operational issues."
Bogusz said a travel advisory from the airline would be on the airport website as soon as possible. In the longer-term, Bogusz said he's looking forward to the return of Sunwing in full capacity to the Regina International Airport.
In Saskatoon, a spokesperson for the airport said in a statement, "only repatriation flights will be operating to bring stranded passengers back to Saskatoon."
"The airport has not received further information on the details surrounding this decision beyond what Sunwing has stated publicly."