Air Canada Sees Uptick In Domestic Flight Bookings

At a recent virtual event, Air Canada’s chief financial officer is reporting “some improvement” in domestic bookings. This news comes at a time when many Canadian provinces have eased restrictions and are encouraging residents to vacation closer to home this summer.

Air Canada A220
Air Canada’s new A220 has been ideal for low-volume operations during the pandemic. Photo: Air Canada

Michael Rousseau, Air Canada’s chief financial officer, reported that leisure travel within Canada had been the first area to see an uptick, as interprovincial travel restrictions are eased.

According to CTV News, Rousseau also expects an uptick in domestic business trips as early as September. After this, international leisure and business travel should recover as well. Unfortunately, Rousseau says the busy and profitable summer European market may be lost this year.

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Preparing for summer vacation

This trend makes sense as Canadians plan for summer vacations closer to home amid the continuance of international travel restrictions. Furthermore, with the nation’s long-distance bus services cut, and passenger rail service largely impractical, expensive, or non-existent for most parts, taking to the skies is might be the only form of transportation.

While many provinces are still not ready to encourage non-essential travel across provincial borders, restrictions seem to be easing as a result of declining active coronavirus cases. Some provinces have even been able to report several days without any new active cases.

Air Canada A330
Aircraft like the Airbus A330 will be used for long-distance, high-volume travel – such as the Vancouver-Montreal service. Photo: Air Canada

Canada-US travel ban extended

According to CBC News, the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another 30 days, with the ban extended to July 21st. As both countries continue to monitor their respective situations, border restrictions are being reviewed roughly 30 days at a time, with the previous agreement set to expire this Sunday.

The country’s leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced the extension during his daily news conference today, saying:

“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe.”

As transborder traffic is Air Canada’s largest market, this extension will not help the airline at all- and will also hurt rival airline WestJet. Canada’s second-largest airline had just announced the resumption of select US services for July and August.

Air Canada a330 interior cabin
Air Canada’s flights were particularly empty for the month of April. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Barriers still exist for international travel

Canadian airlines are also suffering from the fact that the government still has a blanket international travel advisory in place.

“[These restrictions] may have been needed in the early stages of the pandemic…Right now it strikes me as a combination of disproportionate steps, things that are stifling the return to a more normalized aviation environment, and, quite frankly, stifling an economic recovery.” -Calin Rovinescu, CEO & President, Air Canada

As many insurance companies base their policy-validity on government advisories, coverage will not be valid – even as some countries on the other side of the Atlantic are opening themselves up to tourism.

This will force would-be travelers to take a risk and travel uninsured, or else stay home and postpone travel plans.

Are you planning on flying with Air Canada this summer? Let us know what your travel plans are by leaving a comment!