Air Canada to cancel about 10% of flights this summer due to industry strain

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OTTAWA: Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada AC,
said Wednesday afternoon that it will be forced to make “significant” flight cancellations in July and August, the first intense summer season since the pandemic, due to tensions in the pandemic industry. world aviation.

This is one of the most important moves to date by a major US airline to address rising travel demand and chronic staff shortages at airlines and airports, causing flight delays, long lines and loss of luggage. Canada is not immune, with the situation exacerbated by delays in airport and customs security, due to staff shortages and pandemic-related regulations.

In a note to customers, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau said the airline took a number of steps, from flexible ticketing policies to scheduling adjustments, to address industry constraints. . However, Rousseau said such efforts will not be enough.

“To achieve the level of operational stability we need, reluctantly, we are now making significant reductions in our schedule in July and August to reduce passenger volumes and flows to a level we believe the air transport system can accommodate, ”Rousseau said. dit.

The cancellations would affect about 150 flights a day, or more than 10% of the daily flights operated by the airline before Wednesday’s announcement, an Air Canada spokesman said. Three routes, connecting Montreal and Pittsburgh, will be temporarily suspended; Baltimore and Kelowna, British Columbia; and Toronto and Fort McMurray, Alberta, or the country’s oil sands production center.

“We are convinced that these changes will lead to the improvements we have made,” Rousseau said. “But to set expectations, it must also be understood that the real benefits of this action will take time and will only be felt gradually as the industry regains the reliability and robustness it had achieved before the pandemic.”

A representative of Canada’s second largest airline, WestJet Airlines Ltd., was not immediately available to comment on whether he was considering flight cancellations.

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