CALGARY -- Canada’s largest airline is pausing its Rouge operations in response to the federal government's request to ground all flights to sun destinations.

“As a result of our suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico at the request of the Canadian government, we are again pausing our Rouge operations effective Feb. 8 as these flights are primarily operated by Rouge,” said Air Canada in a statement.

Approximately 80 employees will be laid off after the final Rouge flight.

Last week, Canadian-based airlines grounded flights to sun destinations including Mexico and the Caribbean at the request of the federal government until the end of April to try and prevent more travel related cases of COVID-19.

But American-based carriers operating out of airports including Calgary are still offering connecting flights through the U.S. to vacation hot spots, raising questions about the effectiveness of Canadian restrictions.

Travel expert Onanta Forbes said Calgarians are interested in escaping to a beach but they have concerns.

“I think they want to go but they’re being very cautious about the restrictions in place,” said Forbes.

Forbes said there are many factors to consider.

“Are you going to get the benefit of the vacation by going through quarantine, PCR tests, hotel quarantines…you have to consider the different steps that are in place now by various governments throughout the world.”

Forbes advises those who do decide to book a flight to look into travel insurance and COVID insurance and research what tests and policies are necessary at home and the destination.

Changing restrictions have been keeping planes grounded and passengers at home.

2020 was the worst year in history for air travel demand.

According to the International Air Transport Association, global passenger demand fell 65.9 per cent compared to 2019.

Bookings have been sharply falling since late December, according to the association.