UPDATE 1-Air Canada to operate at 79% of pre-pandemic capacity in summer

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Aug 17 (Reuters) - Air Canada said on Wednesday it planned to operate flights at 79% of its pre-pandemic capacity this summer, as North American carriers struggle to meet strong demand for travel amid a broader industry staffing shortage.

Canada's largest carrier has wrestled with complaints over delayed and cancelled flights, but said in a statement it saw improvements in baggage handling and on-time performance during the week of Aug. 8, compared with the week of June 27.

Carriers in the U.S. and Canada have cut thousands of flights as soaring travel demand following a pandemic-induced slump leads to cases of long lines and lost baggage at some major airports.

Earlier this week, American Airlines cut its November schedule as part of the carrier's efforts to reduce disruptions.

Montreal-based Air Canada said in June it would cut its summer schedule to reduce passenger flows to manageable levels.

Air Canada has been recalling employees laid off when traffic plummeted during the pandemic. It has about 34,000 employees, compared with 34,700 employees it had before the pandemic started. (Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and David Evans)