Air Canada is closing two of its stations in Atlantic Canada and indefinitely suspending 14 routes in the region as part of a larger response to lagging sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic and measures put in place to limit its spread.
Throughout Canada, 30 domestic routes and eight stations have been closed.
“Air Canada expects the industry’s recovery will take a minimum of three years,” the airline said in a statement. “As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks.”
Since the pandemic began, Air Canada reported a net loss of $1.05 billion in the first quarter of 2020, including a net cash burn in March of $688 million. The carrier also announced in mid-May that it would have to lay off about 20,000 employees, representing more than 50 per cent of its staff.
The region hit the hardest by the changes to the nation’s largest airline is Atlantic Canada.
Air Canada said that their stations in Bathurst, N.B., and Wabush, N.L., will close.
The routes that will be suspended indefinitely as a result of the closures include:
- Deer Lake-Goose Bay
- Deer Lake-St. John’s
- Saint John-Halifax
- Gander-Goose Bay
- Gander-St. John’s
- Wabush-Goose Bay
- Goose Bay-St. John’s
Air Canada said affected customers will be contacted and offered options by the airline.
The decision dramatically curtails air travel between cities in the Atlantic region, which will begin its Atlantic bubble later this week.
Starting on July 3, interprovincial travel will be allowed to happen between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador without self-isolation.
Visitors from other provinces and territories will have to follow guidelines of the specific province they are visiting.
Visitors from non-Maritime provinces and territories still must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four jurisdictions.
Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces that have self-isolated for 14 days may travel within the Maritime region.
With files from Global News’ Andrew Russell