Air Canada will significantly reduce its flight offerings this summer. Currently, the Canadian airline operates about 1,000 flights per day. However, it intends to reduce that number by an average of 154 flights per day during July and August, a decrease of more than 9,000 flights this summer.
The reason, says chief executive Michael Rousseau in an email to customers Wednesday, is the “unprecedented and unforeseen strains” in the global aviation industry.
“Despite detailed and careful planning, the largest and fastest scale of hiring in our history, as well as investments in aircraft and equipment, it is now clear that Air Canada’s operations too have been disrupted by the industry’s complex and unavoidable challenges,” Rousseau said.
The aviation industry is suffering badly from high demand, which airlines and airports have been unable to meet since provincial governments across the country eased restrictions on Covid-19.
Over the past three months, the industry has been plagued by reports of long lines at airport security checkpoints, a shortage of personnel to help with boarding and deplaning, and delays or cancelations.
“The result has been flight cancellations and customer service shortfalls on our part that we would never have intended for our customers or for our employees, and for which we sincerely apologize,” Rousseau said.
According to the airline, only four routes will be temporarily suspended this summer, with no impact on international flights. These are flights between Toronto and Fort McMurray and between Montreal and the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Kelowna.
According to Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the airline, most flights to and from Air Canada’s hubs in Toronto and Montreal will be affected. The reduction in flight frequency mainly affects domestic flights in the evening and at night with smaller aircraft.