WestJet extends international flight suspensions into May amid COVID-19 pandemic

MONTREAL — WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it is cancelling all transatlantic and U.S. routes until May 4, extending its 30-day suspension by two more weeks.

The Calgary-based company will offer no flights to the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut borders and sent travel demand tumbling.

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WestJet has already halved its domestic capacity, while carriers including Porter Airlines and Air Transat have suspended all flights.

Air Canada has cancelled most of its international and U.S. flights in response to the global shutdown.

Over the weekend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a travel ban that bars people with symptoms of the novel coronavirus from domestic flights and intercity trains, effective noon Monday.

The pandemic has cost thousands of jobs in the airline sector. Air Canada has announced 5,149 layoffs and Transat 3,600, while WestJet has seen 6,900 departures including early retirements, resignations and both voluntary and involuntary leaves.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:TRZ)

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