Air Canada Cuts Domestic Routes Another 25%, Slashes Workforce by 1,700
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Air Canada is suspending flights to six destinations, including Kamloops, pictured above. Photo credit: Kamloops Airport.
Air Canada is further reducing first quarter capacity by an additional 25 per cent, resulting in a workforce reduction of approximately 1,700 employees in addition to the over 200 impacted employees at its Express carriers. AC says it is working with its unions on mitigation programs.
With this reduction, capacity in the first quarter of 2021 will be about 20 per cent of what Air Canada operated in the first quarter of 2019.
By 23JAN, Air Canada will cease flying to Prince Rupert, Kamloops, Fredericton, Yellowknife, and Gander and Goose Bay in Newfoundland, the Globe and Mail reports.
Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, told the Globe he was not surprised by AC's move, given the persistent lack of demand for air travel and the worsening state of the pandemic. Unlike most countries, Canada has not provided its airlines with any sector-specific aid.
In a statement, Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada, said the airline has seen "an immediate impact" to its close-in bookings since the federal and provincial governments implemented more robust travel restrictions, in addition to the existing quarantine requirements.
"We have made the difficult but necessary decision to further adjust our schedule and rationalize our transborder, Caribbean and domestic routes to better reflect expected demand and to reduce cash burn. We regret the impact these difficult decisions will have on our employees who have worked very hard during the pandemic looking after our customers, as well as on the affected communities."
“While this is not the news we were hoping to announce this early into the year, we are nonetheless encouraged that Health Canada has already approved two vaccines and that the Government of Canada expects the vast majority of eligible Canadians to be vaccinated by SEP. We look forward to seeing our business start to return to normal and to bringing back some of our more than 20,000 employees currently on furlough and layoff."
Air Canada says it will continue to evaluate and adjust its route network as required in response to the pandemic, government-imposed travel restrictions and quarantines, and to market and regulatory conditions.
The airline says affected customers will be contacted by Air Canada and offered options, including refunds for eligible customers and alternative routings where available.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.