COVID-19: Air Transat cancels Western Canadian flights to U.S. and other international destinations

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      It’s bad news for travellers. But for those who have been concerned about air travel spreading COVID-19, this’ll be welcome news.

      A Canadian leisure airline has started up its flights again. However, it is cancelling all of its Western Canadian flights to the U.S. and other southern destinations this year.

      Montreal-based travel company Air Transat is resuming air operations after a 112-day shutdown during the pandemic.

      On July 23, the company began making its first commercial flights again, which include three domestic flights (Toronto-Vancouver, Toronto-Montreal, Montreal-Toronto) and three international flights (Montreal-Toulouse, Montreal-Paris, Toronto-London), according to a company news release.

      As of tomorrow (August 2), Air Transat will be operating its entire reduced summer schedule, which includes 24 routes to about 20 destinations.

      However, all flights from Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg to international destinations have been cancelled. CBC News reported that the company cited challenges that the travel industry is facing during the pandemic, including closed borders and slow demand for travel markets, as the reasons for the cancellations.

      Passengers will automatically receive a full refund, instead of a company credit due to the lack of other Western Canadian flights scheduled to replace cancelled flights in the near future.

      The only Western Canadian flights from November 1 to April 30 will be from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal, with some connecting flights to Europe.

      For locations where options do exist, the company has relaxed its travel credit policy, which are now fully transferrable and do not have an expiry date.

      Air Transat has implemented health and safety measures and traveller guidelines.

      However, as B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have repeatedly emphasized, no one who is sick or who has symptoms should be travelling.

      Numerous flights to and from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) have been confirmed to have had COVID-19 cases over the past few months, including flights from the U.S., U.K., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.