Air Canada shuts yet more flights to stay afloat

July 1st, 2008 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, July 1 (IANS) Having axed 2,000 staff and many flights last month, Air Canada has announced suspension and cancellation of more flights to save on fuel. With its fuel bill going up by $1 billion this year, Canada’s national carrier Monday said it was cancelling operations on 10 more national and international routes.

The world’s 11th largest airline said it was also suspending three other flights for the time being, including some full-capacity flights.

“Like other North American carriers,” Air Canada said, it “will reduce fall and winter capacity in response to the record price of fuel. Our preference is to reduce frequencies, downgauge aircraft and maintain the breadth of our network via alternate routings if necessary.”

With cancellation of its flights to the US tourist destinations of Orlando, Palm Beach, San Francisco and Sacramento, Air Canada will see a 13 percent drop in its trans-border capacity.

Having already announced to suspend the Toronto-Rome and Vancouver-Osaka flights, the airline added Monday the Toronto-Port of Spain flight to the list.

An airline spokeswoman didn’t rule more flight eliminations to meet the seven- percent target of capacity reduction this year.

Expressing his confidence in the airline to emerge from the crisis, Robert Milton, CEO of the airline’s holding company ACE Aviation Holdings Inc, told a news conference in Montreal: “This (airline crisis) is a truly global issue. I think you’re going to see a lot of airlines disappear.

“I think that good, strong, well-managed airlines like Air Canada will actually come out of this even better off.”

Voted the best airline of North America in the 2007 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Canada has been struggling to cut costs as each extra dollar it pays on fuel imposes an additional annual burden of $26 million on it.

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