Air Canada Suspends 30 Regional Routes And Closes Stations At Small Airports

Air Canada (TSX:AC) is suspending service on 30 regional routes and closing eight stations at smaller Canadian airports as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter the airline industry.

The cuts, which reduce the flight options for Canadian travelers, come as a result of record-low travel demand amid ongoing border shutdowns and interprovincial restrictions, the carrier said. The route cuts mainly affect travel to and from Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Saskatchewan, with all but five of the cuts in those regions. British Columbia, Alberta and the territories were left untouched by the Air Canada withdrawals.

Air Canada also plans to close its counters at four airports in Quebec, two in Ontario, one in New Brunswick and one in Newfoundland and Labrador. Other changes to its network and schedule and further service suspensions will be considered over the coming weeks, the airline said in a written statement.

Canada, unlike countries such as France, Germany and the United States, has held off on sector-specific support for carriers. Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rolled out financial aid available across industries, including the federal wage subsidy and loans starting at $60 million for large firms.

Air Canada laid off more than 20,000 workers -- more than half of its total staff – in June as part of a plan to cut costs.