With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world and travel demand consequently depressed, airlines are being faced with adapting…
Air Canada Releases New Schedule for Upcoming Summer Season
Summer is less than a month away, which means summer vacation — usually one of the busiest travel times of the year — is right around the corner. Usually, many potential travelers use this time to plan trips for the next couple of months. However, due to COVID-19, many have had to cancel or reconsider their travel plans for not just international travel, but domestic trips as well. But even in the midst of all the ensuing uncertainty, Air Canada debuted its new and abridged summer schedule to ensure that passengers are able to travel if they wish to do so in a safe and timely manner over the coming summer months.
As many airlines are beginning to slowly adjust and add more flights than prior to COVID-19, the Montreal-based carrier is looking to rebuild their extensive network with flights to across Canada, the U.S. and internationally from its major Canadian hubs: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Air Canada Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Lucie Guillemette hopes the plan of updating the summer schedule will offer wider opportunities for travel and connectivity to the passengers who are eager to travel after the enormous drop in the flight schedule.
“Air Canada has put in place an abridged summer schedule offering a choice of nearly 100 destinations across Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95% of our flights stopped operating and which has left us flying to less than half last year’s destinations, our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel, where it is safe to do so,” Guillemette said in a press release.
For this summer, Canada’s flagship carrier plans to reopen with 97 destinations, down from 220 last year. Within Canada, the schedule will increase from 34 routes in May to 58 routes in June, with more added in August and September. Air Canada has also updated its schedule until the end of July with the resumption of some services to North American, Caribbean, South American, European and Pacific markets. This is in an effort for Air Canada to assert its dominant position as a global airline and Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, as well as to show its determination to welcome passengers back onboard.
“We are gradually opening for sale flights, for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline. Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” Guillemette said.
As part of the new schedule, in accordance with provisions for air travel to the U.S. for Canadians, Air Canada resumed service to the U.S. on May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25. Those include New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. After those services are restarted, the airline’s network will still represent a reduction from 53 destinations served prior to the global pandemic.
For its international schedule plans, the airline will continue to operate from its major hubs to key global destinations in June. This includes service from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo and Tel Aviv, Israel; from Montreal to Frankfurt, London, Paris and Brussels; and from Vancouver to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul.
As the Montreal-based carrier prepares and determines the appropriate schedule to better serve its passengers who wish to follow through on their summer travel plans, it has laid out the essential cleaning practices in the program, CleanCare+ which will ensure that both the passengers and crew travel safely. The airline hopes to adopt and apply the new policies and strategies as they come out in order to guarantee smooth operations over the summer.
“Finally, to further ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we have introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive biosecurity program to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19,” Guillemette said. “Air Canada CleanCare+ works through multi-layered measures that limit unnecessary interactions, require the use of personal protective equipment, and employ state-of-the-art cleaning techniques onboard our aircraft. We have further committed to adopting new strategies and technologies as they become available.”
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