“The restrictions on travel imposed by governments worldwide, while understandable, are nonetheless having a cataclysmic effect upon the global airline industry.”
Air Canada, as outlined in a statement about its ongoing COVID-19 response, plans to gradually suspend the majority of its international and U.S. transborder flights by March 31, 2020. Subject to further government restrictions, the airline intends to continue to serve a small number of international and U.S. transborder destinations from select Canadian cities after April 1, 2020.
The airline also intends to continue serving all provinces and territories of Canada after that date, with what it describes as a significantly reduced network. This domestic network reduction will shrink from 62 airports to 40 during the period April 1 to April 30.
Air Canada states it will continue to operate a limited number of international flights, described as air bridges by the airline, 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.
This air-bridge measure is being done 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 COVID-19 crisis.
In terms of its U.S. transborder services, based on decisions by the U.S. and Canadian governments to restrict border crossing, Air Canada from April 1 will reduce its transborder network from 53 airports to 13 – again, subject to further reductions based on demand or government edicts.
The cities with continued service will be: New York (LGA and EWR), Boston, Washington, D.C. (IAD and DCA), Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
“The restrictions on travel imposed by governments worldwide, while understandable, are nonetheless having a cataclysmic effect upon the global airline industry,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive of Air Canada. “Our immediate focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities.”
Rovinescu continues to explain Air Canada, in conversation with the Government of Canada, is exploring 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.
“We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers and our business of the various travel restrictions that are being made by governments at unprecedented speed without advance warning,” he said. “We will also look at helping Canadians to return home by operating a limited number of charters from international destinations and exploring with the Government of Canada avenues in this regard.”