Air Canada suspends all US flights, likely for first time in nearly 80 years

Apr 21, 2020

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Air Canada will suspend all flights south of the border following the Canadian and U.S. governments’ decision to extend their border closure for another month, part of the effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Star Alliance carrier will suspend flights to the U.S. from April 26 through May 22, Air Canada said Tuesday. The airline already had slashed transborder flying to just 11 of the 53 cities it served in the U.S. in March.

Barring the days when all flights were grounded after 9/11, the suspension is believed to be the first time that Air Canada has not flown to the U.S. since at least 1941. The carrier’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines, inaugurated service to New York that year.

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Canadian and U.S. officials have closed their border to all but essential travel and freight until May 20. The move aims to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Air Canada and other carriers are flying greatly reduced schedules amid near-zero demand. The airline has flown less than 10% of its schedule since mid-March when it was clear most people were staying home to avoid and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The carrier’s main Canadian rivals Porter Airlines and WestJet have already suspended all U.S. flights.

With Air Canada’s exit from the Canada-U.S. market, only U.S. carriers American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will fly between the countries through the first half of May, according to Cirium schedules. Capacity in the market is scheduled to be down more than 90% year-over-year during the month.

Related: Air Canada, WestJet slash US flights to slow coronavirus spread

Featured image by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images.

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