Air Canada pauses all Rouge operations indefinitely

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Air Canada said it will pause all operations of its Rouge aircraft indefinitely and lay off 80 employees starting Feb. 8.

The airline said the suspension will go into effect on February 8, at which point approximately 80 employees will be laid off.

The airline’s announcement comes as Canadian airlines suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean at the request of the federal government.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday insisted Ottawa would ensure airlines survived the COVID-19 pandemic even as industry advocates said that without a promised aid package many routes would die, crippling the economy.

Air travel is critical for Canada, the second largest country by area and one which stretches across six time zones. For many communities, flights are the only reliable option.

The government and major airlines such as Air Canada and West Jet have been in talks for months about an aid package but insiders say the negotiations are going slowly.

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