Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) will cancel 154 flights or 77 round trips daily in July and August 2022 to relieve pressure on insufficient resources at airports that are causing long delays and passenger frustrations as travel rebounds from the pandemic.

“Despite detailed and careful planning, the largest and fastest scale of hiring in our history, as well as investments in aircraft and equipment, it is now clear that Air Canada’s operations too have been disrupted by the industry’s complex and unavoidable challenges,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Rousseau said in an emailed statement to customers. “The result has been flight cancellations and customer service shortfalls on our part that we would never have intended for our customers or our employees, and for which we sincerely apologise,” he said.

Intercontinental routes will be unaffected by the capacity cuts, but four North American routes will be suspended:

Spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said most flights affected would be to/from Toronto and Montreal, including fewer evening and late-night services on transborder and domestic routes.

Before the announcement, Air Canada was operating more than 1,000 flights a day, the airline announced in a statement on June 23. Still, it was planning to operate below its pre-pandemic capacity while the industry stabilised.

In support of this, the carrier recalled almost all available employees laid off during the pandemic. More than 2,000 front-line airport employees and 774 call centre staff have been hired. It currently has 32,000 employees versus 33,000 before COVID-19. The airline also recalled recently retired employees with particular expertise.

Other measures taken to relieve airport bottlenecks include:

  • International/transborder connection times to domestic flights were increased by 30 minutes in Toronto and Montreal;
  • Schedules were adjusted to reduce peak times in Toronto and Montreal by retiming and cancelling certain flights or reducing frequencies;
  • Aircraft gating at airports was reconfigured to achieve efficiencies during peak hours;
  • New mobile app or website self-service re-booking tools enable passengers to choose alternative airports;
  • Passengers travelling via Toronto may increase their connection time at no cost;
  • Free, same-day standby options are available for earlier flights within Canada and transborder US;
  • Employees have been reassigned from other bases to augment specific airports;
  • The airline has redeployed aircraft from its Jetz charter fleet to move delayed baggage;
  • Additional ground equipment has been acquired to improve airport operations.