By Benjamin Pham
Air Canada Begins Upward Trend Towards Recovery
Many people have been forced to quarantine at home and follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 for over a year, leading many to be eager for a return to the skies and being able to travel freely, which can be seen by already crowded airports and fuller flights worldwide.
Several major airlines have already begun to increase flight frequencies and inaugurate new flights to enhance route connectivity and accommodate the upcoming surge in air travel. In Air Canada’s case, this proposal has meant operating new flights to three new domestic cities and rebuilding its expansive route network in support of Canada’s tourism industry.
Each provincial government has its own plans to eventually fully reopen, and thus the Star Alliance carrier plans to resume a substantial portion of its route network, including reinstating lucrative regional routes from its core hubs across Canada. The airline also scheduled three new routes from Montreal — one of its core hubs in Eastern Canada — to Deer Lake, Kelowna and Regina, Canada, with the latter operating via Saskatoon, Canada.
“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights,” Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada, said in a statement.
The airline will begin to fly from Quebec’s largest city to Kelowna on June 26, operating an Airbus A220 three times per week in July then four times per week in August, while daily flights to Deer Lake start on July 1, operated by a Bombardier CRJ-900. Flights to Regina and Saskatoon inaugurate on Aug. 1, operating on a CRJ-900 daily.
Economic and social effects from Covid-19 may continue to exist, but early last month, Air Canada announced the launch of more flights and the resumption of preexisting routes from the country to Hawaii. The airline began awaiting an upcoming busy winter holiday season at the end of 2021 before this summer had even begun. As a result, the Canadian flag carrier plans to launch flights from Montreal to Honolulu starting Dec. 12 and Toronto to Maui starting on Dec.18, while flights from Calgary to Honolulu begin Dec. 18.
“We are seeing strong demand in the sun markets this winter with people in Canada and around the world looking ahead to holiday travel. We have added new non-stop flights to Hawaii from Montreal and Toronto in addition to our flights from Calgary and Vancouver, making it more convenient than ever for Canadians across the country to experience the Hawaiian Islands. We know people will be excited to travel this winter, and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board,” Galardo said of the airline’s strategy of pumping more seats into the network to invite passengers back for air travel.
Clearly, Air Canada is poised to recover from Covid-19 and recover from the substantial losses due to the rush in canceling and halting flights when the virus first began. Now, the carrier is one of a number of airlines that are quickly jumping on the opportunity to attract the growing demand in air travel and making decisions as quickly as when they had to reduce flights. But as the future remains as uncertain as ever in the industry, the airline must continue to be mindful of appropriately adapting to the evolving industry landscape to avoid incurring more losses in the months ahead.