Air Canada slicing 30 home routes, closing stations at eight airports

The Canadian Press

Revealed Tuesday, June 30, 2020 three:18PM EDT

Final Up to date Tuesday, June 30, 2020 6:16PM EDT

MONTREAL – Air Canada is suspending service on 30 regional routes and shutting eight stations at smaller Canadian airports because the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter the journey business.

The cuts, which scale back the flight choices for travellers, come on account of record-low journey demand amid ongoing border shutdowns and interprovincial restrictions, the provider stated.

“Provincial and federal government-imposed journey restrictions and border closures … are diminishing prospects for a near-to-mid-term restoration,” Air Canada stated in an announcement Tuesday.

The airline additionally plans to shut its counters at 4 airports in Quebec, two in Ontario, one in New Brunswick and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Different adjustments to its community and schedule and additional service suspensions will probably be thought-about over the approaching weeks, Air Canada stated.

The lack of service may imply much less direct flight routes or, “at an excessive,” the lack of all service, stated Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based consulting agency AirTrav Inc.

Air Canada Categorical is the one industrial airline to service Bathurst, N.B. – one of many cities the place the corporate is pulling its airport station – leaving residents no selection however to hope one other regional provider will decide up the deserted routes down the road, Kokonis stated.

Air Canada’s scale-back speaks to the “extremely restrictive” journey boundaries dealing with airways and an absence of economic help from Ottawa, he added.

“Canada continues to have an aviation system with cuffs locked round each arms,” Kokonis stated in an electronic mail. “Air Canada and all different gamers in Canada’s aviation meals chain are being pushed to the restrict.”

Canada, not like nations together with France, Germany and the US, has held off on sector-specific help for carriers. As a substitute Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rolled out monetary assist out there throughout industries, together with the federal wage subsidy and loans beginning at $60 million for big corporations.

Air Canada laid off greater than 20,000 employees – greater than half of its workers – this month as a part of a plan to chop prices.

The Montreal-based firm has eliminated 79 planes from its mainline and Rouge fleets, chopping flight capability by greater than 85 per cent 12 months over 12 months, with solely marginal enchancment anticipated within the essential summer season journey season of July by way of September.

The adjustments come as some confinement measures elevate and Canadians slowly start to courageous air journey once more, although Manitoba and the Maritimes nonetheless have restrictions on interprovincial journey in place whereas different provinces discourage it.

On Tuesday, the Canada Border Providers Company confirmed that the federal government will prolong till July 31 the journey ban that bars entry to travellers who are usually not Canadian residents, everlasting residents or Individuals.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prolonged a separate ban on non-essential journey between Canada and the U.S. till a minimum of July 21.

Border shutdowns and record-low demand imply airways around the globe will lose US$84 billion this 12 months and see a 50 per cent year-over-year income decline, in keeping with the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation.

Air Canada is closing its stations on the following regional airports:

Bathurst, N.B.

Wabush, Nfld.

Gaspe, Que.

Baie Comeau, Que.

Mont Joli, Que.

Val d’Or, Que.

Kingston, Ont.

North Bay, Ont.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed June 30, 2020.