In an announcement on Wednesday afternoon, one of Canada’s largest airlines announced that they will be gradually suspending the majority of their international flights by March 31st.
This decision was made in response to the Canadian and U.S. government decision to close borders and restrict commercial flights in response to COVID-19.
“Subject to further government restrictions, the airline intends to continue to serve a small number of international and U.S. trans-border destinations from select Canadian cities after April 1, 2020,” reads a statement from Air Canada.
“The airline also intends to continue serving all provinces and territories of Canada after that date, albeit with a significantly reduced network.”
All schedule changes can be found on the company’s website. Thus far, Air Canada has already cancelled flights to and from China and all flights to Italy.
The airline will continue to repatriate citizens to their home countries and support the movement of trade goods.
To that end, Air Canada will operate a limited number of routes 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.
From April 1, Air Canada will reduce its U.S.-Canada network from 53 airports to 13, 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 airline will also reduce its domestic service from 62 airports to 40 during the period April 1 to 30, subject to further reductions based on demand or government edict.
“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. At the same time, we are exploring with the Government of Canada 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.”
On Monday, WestJet announced the cancellation of all international and transborder flights, including those to the U.S., for the next 30 days to help control the spread of novel coronavirus.
As of today, March 18th, the airline has also suspended international tickets sales during the 30-day period, until March 22nd.