Air Canada cancels 154 daily flights this summer amid ‘unprecedented and unforeseen tensions’

In the past three months, staff shortages have led to long airport queues and flight delays and cancellations

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Air Canada is canceling more than 150 daily flights in July and August due to “unprecedented and unforeseen tensions” in the global airline industry, CEO Michael Rousseau said in an emailed statement to customers on Wednesday.

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“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 have also been disrupted by the industry’s complex and unavoidable challenges,” he said. Rousseau. †

The airline will shorten its schedule over the next two months by an average of 77 return flights – or 154 flights – per day. Before the cuts, Air Canada operated an average of 1,000 daily flights.

Ever since provincial governments across the country began lifting pandemic-era restrictions, the airline industry has been hit by a high demand that has left airlines and airports unable to keep up. Reports of long lines of passengers to airport security; insufficient staff to assist with boarding and disembarking; and flight delays or cancellations have plagued the industry for the past three months.

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“The result has been flight cancellations and shortcomings in customer service on our part that we never intended for our customers or our employees, and for which we sincerely apologize,” said Rousseau.

International flights will not be affected, the airline said, but four routes will be temporarily suspended earlier this summer. They include between Montreal and the cities of Baltimore and Kelowna, and one between Toronto and Fort McMurray.

Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokesperson, said in an email that most affected flights are to and from the Toronto and Montreal hubs and the disruptions will primarily be a reduction in flight frequency affecting mostly evening and late night flights. by smaller aircraft. on cross-border and domestic routes.

“We are confident that these changes will deliver the intended improvements. 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,” Rousseau said.

Shares of Air Canada fell on the news, falling more than seven percent to $15.78 a share as of 9:45 a.m. in Toronto.

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