Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat has suspended sales for departures until April 30 to and from most destinations in Europe.

Repatriation flights will still be operated during the next two weeks to take customers back to their home countries.

Sales will remain temporarily open in both directions between Toronto and London as a result “to allow as many repatriations as possible”.

A date for a full halt to operations will be announced soon, according to the airline.

The wind-down follows Canadian government plans to close the country’s borders to foreign nationals, as well as similar decisions by several other countries where Air Transat operates.

Those in destination are asked to check the carrier’s website, where information for the organisation of their return flights will be available.

“There will be no booking fee and passengers will not have to pay any price difference. It is of the utmost importance to Air Transat to bring everyone back,” the airline said.

Passengers unable to travel because their flight is cancelled will receive a credit for future travel, to be used within 24 months of their original travel date.

The airline will be moving ahead with plans to reduce staffing in addition to cost cuts already introduced.

The measures will include temporary lay-offs and reduction of work time or salary that will “unfortunately affect a significant portion of  employees”.

Senior executives and directors are also taking pay cuts.

President and chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache said: “This is an unprecedented situation, beyond our control, which is forcing us to briefly suspend all of our flights to contribute to the effort to fight the pandemic, protect our customers and employees and safeguard the company.

“We are doing everything we can so that this has as little impact as possible on our employees and customers, whom we make sure to bring back home.”