While the Government of Canada just extended its directive restricting direct passenger flights from Morocco until October 29, Air Canada is going further and suspending its flights to and from Casablanca until December 2, 2021.
"It is mainly for commercial and operational reasons that we suspended our flights until December 2," an Air Canada spokesperson told PAX.
Recall that the notice to airmen (NOTAM) restricting direct passenger flights from Morocco aims to "manage the high risk of introducing cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern in Canada."
Entered into force on August 29, the first NOTAM notice on Morocco was, in principle, to end on Sept. 29. On Sept. 24, however, Transport Canada announced that it would be extended until October 29.
There is no indication that the NOTAM will not be extended again as this deadline approaches. In fact, it will all depend on the risk assessment the government does at that time.
The situation in Morocco is reminiscent of the recent case of India. Last April, Canada announced the suspension of flights from this country " or 30 days." The measure was then extended from month to month. It was only lifted on Sept. 26.
Transport Canada, however, assures that it will work with Morocco and other partners "to facilitate the safe resumption of direct flights as soon as possible."
Plan for affected customers
In the meantime, Air Canada has put in place a policy allowing affected passengers to change their itinerary - if they have purchased an Air Canada ticket on or before Sept. 27, 2021, for travel between Aug. 29, 2021 and Dec. 2, 2021.
"If your trip is planned during the period in question, you are authorized to modify your reservation with Air Canada or one of its partners (Lufthansa Group and United Airlines) to include other gateway cities of the European Union, subject to availability in the cabin you originally selected. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply," explains Air Canada, in a notice.
The airline invites customers who have booked their tickets through a travel agent or online travel agency to contact that agent or agency for assistance.
“Each partner uses a unique reservations system that we cannot access to modify your reservations,” said the airline.