Air Canada is slashing six routes from its Calgary schedule this winter due to a pilot shortage, the Canadian Press first reported on Wednesday (Aug. 30).
Air Canada has confirmed that it will no longer offer non-stop flights from Calgary to Ottawa, Halifax, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Cancun, or Frankfurt as of the end of October.
Air Canada’s partner Lufthansa Group, however, will introduce non-stop Calgary-Frankfurt beginning October 30.
In a statement to PAX, Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the cancellations are intended to improve the “overall operational stability" of the airline.
Fitzpatrick also spoke of the pressure Air Canada is facing amid ongoing pilot shortages.
"The industry-wide shortage of regional pilots is expected to have a prolonged impact on Air Canada’s regional network. This has resulted in resource pressures as Air Canada has been required to operate certain routes with mainline aircraft that are normally served by its main regional partner," he said.
There are also challenges related to the supply chain – it has become difficult for Air Canada, at times, to obtain parts and complete airplane maintenance on time, Fitzpatrick said.
"This has led to a review of the network schedule to ensure resources are deployed most efficiently and productively against these current, ongoing industry considerations," he said.
Air Canada still plans to offer nearly 10,000 seats each week from Calgary this winter.
This includes non-stop flights to London, England, and to destinations throughout Canada and the U.S., as well transborder and internationally through its partner airlines.
The carrier will also continue to offer Calgary customers one-stop connections to its international network through its Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal hubs.
Including the latest changes, the adjustments Air Canada has made since August represent a 4.6 per cent decrease in planned winter flying network-wide, but only a two per cent reduction in available seats, as the airline is using larger aircraft to operate fewer frequencies.
Overall, Air Canada’s flying for winter 2023/24 will increase by 12 per cent over winter 2022-23.
"We apologize for the impact on customers on affected routes, who will be offered alternate travel options, including re-routing over other airports, or a full refund. No layoffs are expected as a result of these changes," Fitzpatrick said.
This is a developing story.