VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Air Canada will gradually suspend the majority of its international and U.S. flights by the end of March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision is in response to moves by the Canadian and U.S. governments to close borders and restrict commercial aviation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
It also follows similar decisions from WestJet and Sunwing earlier this week.
“The restrictions on travel imposed by governments worldwide, while understandable, are nonetheless having a cataclysmic effect upon the global airline industry. Our immediate focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities,” Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive of Air Canada, says in a release.
“At the same time, we are exploring with the Government of Canada possibilities to maintain essential operations to enable as many Canadians as possible to return to Canada, and to support other vital transport needs, including the shipment of goods and cargo during the crisis as required in any state of emergency,” he adds.
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) March 18, 2020
Subject to further government restrictions, the airline intends to continue to serve a small number of international and U.S. destinations from select Canadian cities after April 1, says the Air Canada release.
The airline also intends to continue serving all provinces and territories of Canada after that date, although with a reduced network.
“In order to facilitate the continued repatriation of citizens to their home countries, including Canadians back to Canada, and to support the essential movement of needed goods and cargo during the crisis, Air Canada intends to continue to operate a limited number of international ‘air bridges’ between one or more of its Canadian hubs and the cities of London, Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi, Tokyo and Hong Kong from April 1 until at least April 30. This will reduce its international network from 101 airports to six,” the release says further.
“As to U.S. transborder services, given the decision by the U.S. and Canadian governments today, from April 1, Air Canada will reduce its transborder network from 53 airports to 13, subject to further reductions based on demand or government edicts.”
The cities with continued service: New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
Air Canada also intends to continue to serve all provinces and territories of Canada, reducing its domestic network from 62 airports to 40 from April 1 to 30.