Air Canada, WestJet slash US flights to slow coronavirus spread

Mar 19, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Air Canada and WestJet are moving to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus by slashing flights to the U.S. and other countries.

Montreal-based Air Canada will suspend service to all but 13 of its 53 U.S. destinations starting April 1, the airline said Wednesday. Airports it will continue to serve are: Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SEA), Seattle (SEA), Washington Dulles (IAD) and Washington National (DCA).

Air Canada could make further reductions to its U.S. schedule based on demand or “government edicts,” it said. Canadian and U.S. officials have agreed to temporarily close their border to all but cargo and essential travel.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

While the reductions to Air Canada’s U.S. flying are drastic, they leave more flights in schedules than some of its competitors. WestJet will suspend all international flights, including those to the U.S., for 30 days beginning March 22.

Air Transat, Porter Airlines and Sunwing Airlines are all halting flights entirely for the duration of the pandemic. Air Transat and Sunwing primarily cater to leisure travelers, while Porter caters to business travelers who want to fly to Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ).

Air Canada will also cut its international network of 101 destinations back to just Delhi (DEL), Frankfurt (FRA), Hong Kong (HKG), London Heathrow (LHR), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Tokyo during April. Domestically in Canada, the airline will cut its network to 40 airports, down from 62.

Related: Porter Airlines to suspend flights until June 1

Airlines around the world are cutting schedules or suspending operations outright. Delta Air Lines will reduce capacity by 70%, Lufthansa has grounded more than 90% of its aircraft and Qantas is suspending all international flying amid other cuts.

“This is obviously a terrible crisis, the most severe we have ever had,” said International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general Alexandre de Juniac on Tuesday. The industry organization is calling on governments around the world to provide at least $200 billion in aid to support airlines through the crisis.

Air Canada’s cuts, in a way, exemplify how quickly COVID-19 has changed the airline industry. Just over two months ago, the airline feted the roll out of its first Airbus A220 in Montreal, with CEO Calin Rovinescu celebrating the Canadian ingenuity and engineering that went into the new jet that was due to open a “huge possibility of new routes.”

Related: Airlines face ‘critical’ threat from coronavirus-related cash crunch

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Checking out Air Canada’s first A220 ✈️ #avgeek

A post shared by Ned Russell (@airbus777) on

All four of the carrier’s A220-300s are scheduled to fly through at least March 20, according to FlightAware.com. Whether they continue to fly once the latest schedule cuts are implemented on April 1 remains to be seen.

Air Canada intends to “incorporate the A220” into its continuing operations, a spokesperson told TPG.

Featured image by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.