MIAMI – Leisure airline Air Canada Rouge (RV) has announced it will terminate operations until further notice. The Air Canada (AC) division’s last flight will depart on February 8.
Air Canada Rouge typically provides sun and leisure flights in areas such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and the southern United States. However, the Canadian government recently introduced new travel restrictions for all passengers entering the country. Many of the limitations affect the regions that RV normally covers.
The airline states, “As a result of our suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico at the request of the Canadian government, we are again pausing Rouge operations effective [on] February 8 as these flights are primarily operated by Rouge.” 80 staff will be immediately laid off as part of the move, according to the carrier.
The most recent restrictions from the Canadian government hit not only RV but other carriers as well, namely WestJet (WS), Sunwing (WG), and Air Transat (TS), which have also had to cancel flights to their southern leisure destinations.
The new Canadian regulations mandate that foreign travelers undergo a COVID PCR examination upon arrival and then quarantine at an authorized hotel out of their own pocket. According to Global News, this quarantine and monitoring process may have cost travelers up to US$1,560 (CA$2,000).
The Pandemic Wave
The interruption of the airline after the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only one the airline has experienced. RV halted activities early in the pandemic and resumed them in November 2020. In addition to the recent suspension, the airline withdrew its entire Boeing 767 fleet, the bedrock of its high-density vacationing flights.
At the time of the decision, RV did not announce a return date for operations, although there are suggestions that the closure will be indefinite until the restrictions have been relaxed. Air Canada have affirmed again the continuing existence of the Rouge brand after the pandemic.
Air Canada Rouge owned a fleet of 44 aircraft, a mixture of Boeing 767s and the Airbus A320 family, prior to the pandemic. Now, the leisure carrier has an operating fleet of only four Airbus A321s, according to planespotters.net. The airline has also run services to a variety of leisure destinations in Europe, the Caribbean and south of United States.
Featured image: Liam Funnell/Airways