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Air Canada suspends all Kamloops flights

Air Canada is suspending all passenger flights to Kamloops Airport, beginning on Jan. 23.
Air Canada suspends all Kamloops flights_0

Air Canada is suspending all passenger flights to Kamloops Airport, beginning on Jan. 23.

A letter sent to Kamloops Airport’s managing director, Ed Ratuski, on Tuesday from Air Canada’s vice president of network planning and alliances, Mark Galardo, said Air Canada would “suspend all passenger operations to Kamloops Airport until further notice.”

“The negative impacts of COVID-19 on Air Canada’s operations have been unprecedented,” Galardo wrote to Ratuski.

Galardo said the company has found it “increasingly difficult” to operate without financial support from the government.

Air Canada continued operating during the pandemic with less than eight per cent of normal passenger volumes and has reduced its workforce by 20,000 people and fleet by 79 aircraft, he said. Challenges for the industry cited include: a new pre-boarding COVID-19 testing requirement implemented at the beginning of 2021, the 14-day quarantine required for international arrivals, the Canada-U.S. border closure and a federal advisory against non-essential travel.

“Operating in this environment is no longer sustainable and requires difficult decisions on capacity allocation going forward,” the letter states.

The news came the same day the federal government shuffled its cabinet, including naming a new transport minister. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday Toronto-area MP Omar Alghabra would take over the portfolio.

It is unclear when Air Canada will resume flights, but Galardo said in the letter the company looks forward “to the day where customer demand will enable us to rebuild our global network.”

KTW reached out to Kamloops Airport manager Ed Ratuski for comment, but he could not be reached before deadline.