Air Canada makes more cuts in face of COVID-19

Pandemic has led the airline into a state of hibernation, company says.

Air Canada will suspend 30 domestic regional routes and close eight stations as it continues to re-shape its network to meet reduced demand during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"These structural changes to Air Canada's domestic regional network are being made as a result of continuing weak demand for both business and leisure travel due to COVID-19 and provincial and federal government-imposed travel restrictions and border closures, which are diminishing prospects for a near-to-mid-term recovery,” the airline said June 30.

All of the routes are operated by regional partner and Chorus Aviation subsidiary Jazz Aviation under a capacity-purchase agreement. "Jazz's compensation does not vary with flight activity and remains unchanged with this announcement,” Chorus said.

Stations losing all Air Canada service are Bathurst (ZBF), New Brunswick; Wabush (YWK), Newfoundland and Labrador; Gaspé (YGP), Baie Comeau (YBC), Mont Joli (YYY) and Val d’Or (YVO), Quebec; and Kingston (YGK) and North Bay (YYB), Ontario. The route cuts affect these stations as well as others that will maintain some service.

The cuts are part of a system-wide reduction that has Air Canada on track to fly 75% fewer available seat miles in the third quarter than in the same time period a year prior. The airline has announced plans to cut 20,000 employees, or half of its pre-pandemic workforce.

"Air Canada expects the industry's recovery will take a minimum of three years,” the airline said. "As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks as the airline takes steps to decisively reduce its overall cost structure and cash burn rate.”

Photo credit: Jazz Aviation LP