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Air Canada renews fight with PM over Covid flight, travel restrictions

AIR CANADA has renewed its fight with Prime Minister Justine Trudeau over Covid-driven travel restrictions, threatening to suspend routes and cancel orders, reports Bloomberg News

06 August 2020 - 19:00

AIR CANADA has renewed its fight with Prime Minister Justine Trudeau over Covid-driven travel restrictions, threatening to suspend routes and cancel orders, reports Bloomberg News.

'Without government-industry support and as travel restrictions are extended, we'll look at other opportunities to further reduce costs and capital, including further route suspensions and possible cancellations of Boeing and Airbus aircraft on order,' said Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu.



Mr Rovinescu went on to claim the government's current restriction measures are preventing a recovery, especially the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travellers, regardless of where they're coming from. Air Canada is at an additional disadvantage since they opted out of airline-specific financial aid.



Tensions continue to rise as airlines ask to loosen travel restrictions that haven't changed since March. Trudeau has put safety first and hasn't budged for the airlines yet.



'Transport Minister Marc Garneau recognises the impact Covid-19 is having on the air sector and understands that airlines are facing significant challenges,' said ministry spokeswoman Livia Belcea.



'As different regions across Canada begin to re-open, we will take a safe, prudent, and collaborative approach, guided by science and public health experts.'



Canada doesn't allow foreign tourists, even if they're from a place with very few virus cases. Most cases of business travel are banned, and every traveller must stay isolated for two weeks.



Even with no symptoms, Canadian residents are required to follow quarantine rules with the threat of jail time if they break it.



'Canada needs to find a responsible way to coexist with Covid-19 until there is a vaccine,' said Mr Rovinescu said.



The company claims revenue dropped 89 per cent in the second quarter, while capacity is expected to be down 80 per cent in the third quarter compared to last year. They initially anticipated a 75 per cent capacity drop, and are expecting at least three years to recover fully.



Air Canada shares fell by 5.6 per cent, which is their lowest since May 15. Overall, they're 69 per cent this year.



To compensate with decreased revenues, the company has cut C$1.3 billion (US$977.4 million) worth of costs by laying off 20,000 people, suspending 30 routes, and retiring 79 aircraft.


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