Air Canada, Sunwing, Transat extend suspensions until at least May 31

TORONTO — Air Canada, Sunwing and Transat have updated their suspensions of operations, extending the suspensions until at least May 31.

Sunwing has now suspended all southbound flights through May 31. Transat has halted all flights until May 31 as well. Both Sunwing and Transat had originally targeted April 30, however the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions and border closures have made any restart date a moving target at best.

Sunwing has updated its policy so that passengers with departures dates for flights or vacation packages March 17 – May 31 are now eligible to received a future travel credit for the value of the original amount paid. The credits can be redeemed for future travel for departures up to June 20, 2022 to anywhere Sunwing Airlines flies. For departure dates June 1, 2020 onwards standard terms and conditions apply to changes and cancellations. More information can be found here.

Transat has also extended its suspension of operations until May 31 and issuing future travel credits, for use within 24 months of the original return dates. More information for Transat can be found here.

Dealing with persistent requests for refunds instead of future travel credits / vouchers, despite indications from the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Ontario government that credits and vouchers are appropriate in these unprecedented circumstances, has been an ongoing headache for retailers and suppliers in an already difficult situation.

Says Transat: “These are extraordinary circumstances, when all airlines and travel companies have been forced to temporarily halt or drastically reduce their operations while governments have decided to close their borders. This unprecedented situation is well beyond our control; we believe that the 24-month credit is an acceptable solution, and we are confident that our customers will be able to travel again in the near future, once the crisis passes.”

Air Canada meanwhile has been reducing its schedule significantly, taking its network gradually down from 101 international airports to six, and from 53 airports in the U.S., to 13.

Air Canada announced on March 31 that it has more than 175 airplanes grounded. Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu said the airline has been forced to implement a “significant overall response” to the pandemic travel restrictions, reducing capacity by 85%-90% in Q2. Air Canada’s international network has been reduced from 101 airports to six, and from 53 airports to 13 in the U.S.

Air Canada has extended its route suspensions until at least May 31 and into early June for a large swath of its network, with some exceptions. Updated information about route suspensions for flights within North America as well as Atlantic, Pacific, South America and Mexico/Caribbean routes can be found here.

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