Canada’s Air Transat will suspend all flights to and from Toronto (YYZ) for the remainder of the winter, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Continued travel restrictions and the numerous measures imposed by the federal government, including the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test and to quarantine upon return to Canada, have had a significant impact on our bookings,” an Air Transat spokesperson told Routes. “We must, therefore, revise our winter flight schedule, as we have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic, based on the evolution of the situation and demand.”
The Montreal-based carrier will not operate to Toronto until at least May 1.
It will continue to operate flights this winter from Montreal (YUL) to six international destinations: Cancun (CUN); Holguin, Cuba (HOG), Paris (CDG), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP); and Punta Cana (PUJ) and Puerto Plata (POP) in the Dominican Republic.
Before the pandemic, Air Transat flew to 60 international destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, in addition to operating domestic service and connecting flights within Canada. It focuses almost exclusively on leisure passengers and is currently in the process of being acquired by Air Canada.
Canada’s airlines, which have not received any aid from the country’s government, have complained about the strict rules in place in Canada. A 14-day quarantine requirement has been in place since March 2020, but beginning Jan. 7 passengers over five years of age entering Canada also started being required to have a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to a scheduled departure.
But even passengers that receive a negative test result cannot avoid the 14-day quarantine, and Canada’s government has stated that it will step up its surveillance efforts to ensure that passengers comply with the requirement.
Whereas other countries have viewed COVID-19 testing as a way to reduce the quarantine requirement, Canada has put in place strict quarantine and testing rules, the combination of which is severely dampening demand, the country’s airlines have said.
Photo credit: Toronto Pearson International Airport