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Air Canada says it expects to be flying planes regularly again by Christmas

After temporarily culling the majority of its flight offerings due to the pandemic — including cancelling all flights to the U.S. — Air Canada has said it hopes to have a lot more travellers back up in the sky by December.

A representative for the company said during a virtual Canadian Club Toronto event on Friday that the carrier will "be flying to most places around the world and certainly domestically" by the end of 2020, with the volume of flight travel approaching (though not quite reaching) pre-coronavirus levels.

This is largely due to the fact that consumer demand for flights is expected to ramp back up by the end-of-year holiday season, especially if outbreaks in Canada and elsewhere continue to lessen in severity.

Airlines will be operating with all new sanitization measures, and new mandates, like the one from Transport Canada requiring passengers to physically distance on board (and wear masks when they can't), may continue. There will also be fewer flights available.

This will all, of course, be dependant upon factors like if and when an effective treatment or vaccine becomes available, and the public's willingness to fly.

Though there has been talk of reopening the Canada-U.S. border sometime in the near future, mainly from U.S. President Donald Trump, Trudeau said two weeks ago that "there is a significant amount of time still before we can talk about loosening such restrictions."

Premiers who have announced frameworks for easing lockdown in their provinces over the coming weeks, like Alberta's Jason Kenney, have also reiterated that non-essential travel will remain off the table for residents until the latest stages of reopening.

Air Canada is scheduled to re-commence flights from Vancouver and Toronto to very select U.S. destinations as soon as May 22, and will be adding other international routes — like one flight per day from Montreal to Paris — in May and June.

We'll have to see how many customers choose to travel with the carrier, not only due to virus fears, but also because it failed to offer refunds for most flights disrupted due to the health crisis and was unresponsive to passenger concerns.

Lead photo by

Air Canada

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