After previously announcing in March that it was laying off more than 5,000 employees due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada announced another big round of layoffs this week — this time totalling “50 to 60%” of its workforce.
In a statement to Daily Hive on Saturday, Air Canada said that the continuing COVID-19 pandemic “has forced us to reduce our schedule by 95% and, based on every indicator we have, our normal traffic levels will not be returning anytime soon.”
The company noted that its current workforce supports an operation transporting 51 million customers a year, with 1,500 flights a day and 258 aircraft.
However, “with current realities, this is simply not sustainable going forward.”
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As such, the company “took the extremely difficult decision today to significantly downsize our operation to align with forecasts, which regrettably means reducing our workforce by 50 to 60%.”
This was done “in order to conserve cash, right-size our business for the level of traffic we anticipate in the mid- to longer-term, and to position ourselves to rebuild once business returns.”
In the meantime, the airline said it is “working with our unions to implement these measures in accordance with our collective agreements.”
Asked about the situation during a morning press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “we all know that this pandemic has hit extremely hard on travel industries and on the airlines particularly.
This, he continued, “is why we’re going to keep working with airlines, including Air Canada, to see how we can help even more than we have with the wage subsidy.”