Anticipating a spike in seasonal demand, Air Canada is recalling 2,600 employees from various branches, including flight attendants, throughout June and July.
In a statement to PAX, company spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the recall will happen in stages as Canada’s coronavirus situation improves.
“With vaccinations increasing and COVID-19 cases in apparent decline, governments in Canada have been easing travel restrictions and we anticipate this will gradually result in more people travelling, so we have begun rebuilding our network,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have seen in other jurisdictions where restrictions have been lifted, such as in the U.S., that there has been a recovery in travel.”
The news comes one day after the Canadian government announced its plan to end quarantine hotel stays for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad.
Refund policy extended
At the same time, Air Canada is also extending the deadline of its COVID-19 refund policy by 30 days.
The policy, announced April 13, allows eligible customers who purchased a non-refundable ticket before April 13, 2021 for travel on or after Feb. 1, 2020, but who did not fly for any reason, to submit their request for a refund online or with their travel agent.
Eligible customers now have until July 12, 2021 to submit their request.
In a statement, Lucie Guillemette, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer at Air Canada, said the number of customers who have requested a refund is “lower than anticipated.”
“Most have kept their travel credit, Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points,” Guillemette said, “which we are pleased to see as it is an indication they plan on travelling in the future.”
“We also take this as a vote of confidence from our customers that they intend to fly with us on their next trip, and we are looking forward to welcoming them back onboard.”
The reason for extending the deadline is due to the fact that only approximately 40 per cent of eligible customers have requested a refund.
The COVID-19 refund policy covers tickets and Air Canada Vacations packages purchased for flights cancelled either by the airline or by the customer for any reason was initially due to expire June 12, 2021.
As of April 13, 2021, Air Canada had a total of 1.8 million of its customer bookings eligible for a refund.
To date, about 40 per cent of these eligible customers have requested a refund, and 92 per cent of those who have submitted requests have had their refund processed.
Air Canada’s $5.4 billion relief deal with the federal government, which has allowed the airline to begin issuing refunds to customers for cancelled travel during the pandemic, includes a promise to protect travel agent commissions.
Customers can request a refund online here.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!