Air Canada’s low-cost arm Rouge halts flights indefinitely

Shutterstock / Philip Pilosian

As a result of new travel restrictions in Canada, Air Canada (ADH2) is putting a hold on Rouge operations indefinitely, beginning February 8, 2021.

On January 31, 2021, in an effort to further discourage international travel, Canada adopted stricter restrictions and banned flight to and from Mexico and the Caribbean. Air Canada Rouge, a low-cost airline and subsidiary of Air Canada (ADH2) which specializes in flights to that region, is pausing all of its flights across the entire network until further notice from February 8, 2021.

“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 our Rouge operations effective February 8 as these flights are primarily operated by Rouge,” the airline wrote in a statement.

However, Air Canada (ADH2) is keeping Rouge under its wing. “Rouge remains a part of Air Canada (ADH2)’s overall business strategy,” assured the parent company. 

At the request of the Canadian government, Air Canada (ADH2), WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat have all suspended flights to the Caribbean and Mexico. 

Furthermore, approximately 80 Rouge employees will be temporarily laid off. In January 2021, after a drop in bookings due to new COVID-19 testing requirements, Air Canada (ADH2) announced layoffs of around 1,700 employees.

On January 7, 2021, Canada imposed the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for all inbound passengers, in order to tackle a surge of new cases and the novel variant of the virus originating from the United Kingdom.

On January 15, 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was not excluding the idea of international flight ban. “We’re doing whatever it takes to protect Canadians, including looking at banning certain flights if necessary,” said Trudeau. “Decisions must be made based on public health guidance.”


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