(Reuters) – Air Canada said on Tuesday it would suspend flights on 30 domestic routes hit by persistent weak travel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada’s largest carrier forecast third-quarter capacity would decline at least 75% from a year ago and warned that travel restrictions and border closures triggered by the pandemic were dimming prospects for a near- to mid-term recovery.
The carrier’s decision “will be very disappointing to the residents and communities affected by these service cuts,” Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said in a statement. “We understand this will have an impact on many Canadians across the country.”
Air Canada said it has reduced its workforce by about 20,000 employees, which represents more than 50% of its staff, and has permanently removed 79 aircraft from its fleet.
Air Canada added that it was closing eight stations at regional airports in Canada.
As part of a cost reduction and capital deferral program, Air Canada said it has identified around $1.1 billion in savings to date.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Steve Orlofsky)