Air Canada Suspends 30 Routes And Closes 8 Stations Amid Cost Cutting

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Last week, Air Canada announced it was suspending services on 30 routes and cutting eight stations from its network. The reason for this, per the carrier, was part of the airline’s cost-cutting program to reduce cash burn. Also, these destinations showed week leisure and business demand.

Air Canada Express-CRJ
Some airports will continue to see service onboard Air Canada Express, but eight stations will no longer get any Air Canada service. Photo: Air Canada

Cutting routes

Air Canada is cutting the following domestic routes:

  1. Deer Lake – Goose Bay
  2. Deer Lake – St. John’s
  3. Fredericton – Halifax
  4. Fredericton – Ottawa
  5. Moncton – Halifax
  6. Saint John – Halifax
  7. Charlottetown – Halifax
  8. Moncton – Ottawa
  9. Gander – Goose Bay
  10. Gander – St. John’s
  11. Bathurst – Montreal
  12. Wabush – Goose Bay
  13. Wabush – Sept-Iles
  14. Goose Bay – St.John’s
  15. Baie Comeau – Montreal
  16. Baie Comeau – Mont Joli
  17. Gaspe – Iles de la Madeleine
  18. Gaspe – Quebec City
  19.  Sept-Iles – Quebec City
  20. Val d’Or – Montreal
  21. Mont Joli – Montreal
  22. Rouyn-Noranda – Val d’Or
  23. Kingston – Toronto
  24. London – Ottawa
  25. North Bay – Toronto
  26. Windsor – Montreal
  27. Regina – Winnipeg
  28. Regina – Saskatoon
  29. Regina – Ottawa
  30. Saskatoon – Ottawa

This will see Air Canada close its stations at:

  • Bathurst (New Brunswick)
  • Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Gaspe (Quebec)
  • Baie Comeau (Quebec)
  • Mont Joli (Quebec)
  • Val d’Or (Quebec)
  • Kingston (Ontario)
  • North Bay (Ontario)
At some of these stations, Air Canada was the only passenger airline providing services. Photo: Air Canada

Will these cities still see service?

Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada. These cuts will bring some pain to several cities. Gaspe, Bathurst, and Kingston will lose all air service. As for the others, a few will be served by seasonal service on Sunwing Airlines or else see regional airlines operating. Ultimately, it is a big blow for many destinations.

Air Canada could add service in the future using regional jets if the airline sees a good recovery. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s route network offered easy access to a global array of destinations for many of these cities. Now, passengers will have to find alternate routings, which may involve more stops or else travel by car.

Will more come?

Air Canada announced these cuts after the airline indicated it saw an uptick in domestic flight bookings. These cities, however, were likely some of the ones that did not appear profitable for Air Canada.

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It would not be surprising to see Air Canada announce it will exit from more cities in Canada– especially as the low-season and hard winter comes along. As for when these could return, the airline is anticipating a three-year recovery period. If it does pan out that way, then these cities could see service again. However, given the current state of affairs, it likely would not be for the next few years.

The A220 may have a role in saving future mainline routes from being cut. Photo: Air Canada

At risk would be Air Canada’s regional destinations where demand was lower, to begin with. Moreover, the flag carrier is also adjusting its fleet and will emerge smaller from the current crisis. Another big variable is the 737 MAX return to service. If Canadian agencies do not recertify the plane by the end of the year, then it could be a rough winter and spring for many routes– especially if Air Canada continues ahead with retiring Airbus aircraft.

However, the Airbus A220 could save some routes. The airline views the plane as a gamechanger. The jet would offer lower operating costs than Air Canada’s aging Airbus fleet and could make some regional destinations viable again.

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Are you impacted by Air Canada’s route cuts and station closures? Do you think the airline will cut more routes and stations? Let us know in the comments!

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