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An Air Canada 767 in Berlin (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Air Canada Rouge Announces Suspension of Operations

According to reports from CBC News, leisure carrier Air Canada Rouge has announced that they will be suspending flights until further notice. The airline, a leisure-based subsidiary of Air Canada, will operate its last flight on Feb. 8. 

Usually, Air Canada Rouge operates flights to sun and leisure destinations in places such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and the southern United States. However, the Canadian government has recently implemented new travel restrictions for individuals entering the country. Many of the restrictions are targeted at places that would typically be served by Air Canada Rouge. 

In a statement to CBC News, the airline states “As a result of our suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico at the request of the Canadian government, we are again pausing Rouge operations effective Feb. 8 as these flights are primarily operated by Rouge.”

The suspension of the airline is not the first faced by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, Air Canada Rouge suspended operations, restarting operations in November of 2020. On top of Rouge suspension in 2020, the airline retired its entire Boeing 767 fleet, the backbone of their high-density leisure fleet.

At the time of the announcement, Air Canada Rouge has not announced a restart date for flights, but there are signs that the shutdown will be temporary until restrictions are eased. Air Canada reiterated that the Rouge brand would continue to be present after the pandemic. 

According to the airline, 80 employees will be temporarily laid off as part of the move.

Air Canada Rouge is not the only airline affected by the Canadian government’s most recent restrictions. Other Canadian carriers such as WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat have also cancelled flights to warm-weather leisure destinations. 

New Canadian restrictions require international travelers to take a COVID PCR test upon arrival and quarantine at an approved hotel on their own dime. According to Global News, this quarantine and testing process could cost travelers up to 2000 Canadian dollars ($1560).

Prior to COVID, Air Canada Rouge operated a fleet of 44 aircraft, a mix of Boeing 767s and the Airbus A320 family. According to data from planespotters.net, Rouge had an active fleet of just four aircraft, all Airbus A321s. The airline operated flights to numerous leisure heavy destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States. Places such as Orlando, Florida; Kingston, Jamaica; and Cancun, Mexico were common destinations to see Rouge aircraft.

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