The Air Canada logo is shown on a plane at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., on February 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

The Air Canada logo is shown on a plane at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., on February 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Air Canada to temporarily cut at least 1,500 jobs, suspend 17 foreign routes

Suspended flights include several to the U.S.

Air Canada will temporarily lay off 1,500 unionized employees and an unspecified number of management staff as it cuts more routes in response to harsher travel restrictions.

Air Canada will temporarily suspend service on 17 routes to the U.S. and other international destinations until at least April 30, the company said Tuesday.

“We are further reducing our transborder and international commercial schedule as a result of COVID-19,” a spokesperson for Air Canada said. “Affected customers with bookings will be contacted with options, including alternate routings.”

The route suspensions in the U.S. include flights to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Denver and Fort Myers, Air Canada said. The earliest flight suspensions to the U.S. will go into effect Feb. 14.

Air Canada is also suspending flights to Bogota from Montreal, London and Tokyo from Vancouver, and Bogota, Dublin and Sao Paulo from Toronto, among other routes, the company said.

Flights from Toronto to Tel Aviv will continue to be suspended, and flights from Toronto to Dubai and Hong Kong will have their startups postponed.

The layoffs and route cuts come as Canada rolls out stricter measures to reduce international travel, including mandatory hotel quarantines for new entrants.

Wesley Lesosky, president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE, which represents flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, blamed the cuts on the government’s new travel restrictions and said Ottawa wasn’t doing enough to help the airline sector weather the pandemic.

“We appreciate the need for measures to prevent the spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Canada,” Lesosky said. “But restrictions have to be accompanied by solutions.”

At the end of January, Canadian airlines agreed to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30, at the request of the federal government.

Last week, Air Canada said it planned to temporarily halt operations at Air Canada Rouge, which primarily operates the company’s flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. The service cuts involved temporary layoffs of around 80 employees.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to crack down on international travel, saying Tuesday that as of Feb. 15, anyone entering Canada through a land border will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

A previous requirement for international travellers to show negative test results, which went into effect on Jan. 7, applied only to air travel. Airlines said they saw an immediate drop in bookings once the requirement was implemented, leading to another round of route cuts and layoffs by Canadian carriers in January.

READ MORE: Air Canada to temporarily cut at least 1,500 jobs, suspend 17 foreign routes

Jon Victor, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Air CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Most Read