MIAMI – Air Canada (AC) announced that it would indefinitely suspend service on 30 domestic regional routes and close eight stations at regional airports in Canada.
These changes come as another blow from the COVID-19 pandemic as demand for air travel remains weak in both the business and leisure sectors.
Air Canada expects a full recovery for the industry will not come for at least another three years, as more cuts to its network and schedule could be coming in the next few weeks.
The eight stations AC is closing are all in eastern Canada: Bathurst, NB; Wabush, NL; Gaspé, QB; Baie Comeau, QB; Mont Joli, QB; Val d’Or, QB; Kingston, ON; and North Bay, ON. As a result, a large number of routes to these destinations from major airports like Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL) and Halifax (YHZ) will be terminated.
However, there are a lot of other routes between major cities that will also be terminated, including Regina to Winnipeg and Saskatoon; Ottawa to Regina, Saskatoon, Fredericton, Moncton and London (YXU); Halifax to Moncton, Charlottetown, and Saint-John.
Air Canada’s Huge Losses Since March
Air Canada reported a net loss of US$1.05bn in the Q1 2020, including a net cash-burn in March of US$668m. The workforce has been reduced by approximately 20,000 people, comprising 50% of the staff.
The Canadia carrier has also retired 79 aircraft across its mainline and ‘Rouge’ fleets.
Financially Stable, So Far
Since March AC has been able to save US$1.1bn through these measures and raise an additional US$5.5bn in liquidity to help it weather the pandemic storm.
Luckily for the Canadian flag carrier, it has remained slightly financially stable recently through this raising funds, but once travel opens up again, many people in small towns across eastern Canada will have to seek other ways of getting to a hub airport.