Air Transat is laying off half of its remaining flight attendants

Oct 19 2020, 4:41 pm

The number of Air Transat flight attendants will be axed to less than 160, and the company’s Vancouver base will be closed completely until further notice.

According to the union representing the airline’s employees, Air Transat employed 2,000 flight attendants pre-pandemic, and “after the total cessation of activities last April 1, followed by the resumption of flights on July 23, the number of flight attendants reached a modest high of 355 in August.”

In light of these figures, the union is calling for the creation and implementation of a federal rapid COVID-19 screening system to assist the airline industry as it recovers from its losses.

“A rapid screening system that provides pre-boarding results would be a crucial addition for reviving the airline industry,” said Julie Roberts, president of CUPE’s Air Transat component, in a statement. “We sometimes forget that more than 600,000 jobs in Canada depend on this industry, directly or indirectly. What we need is an efficient federal screening program.”

The union also noted that a broad coalition of aviation employees will demonstrate on Parliament Hill at noon on October 20, demanding concrete measures from the Government of Canada to ensure the safe recovery of the aviation industry.

Air Transat flight attendants are divided into three local unions, corresponding to their three bases: CUPE 4041 (Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (Toronto-YYZ), and CUPE 4078 (Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat component oversees these three local unions.

In total, CUPE represents more than 13,100 members in air transport in Canada, including workers at Air Transat, Air Canada Rouge, Sunwing, CALM Air, Canadian North, WestJet, Cathay Pacific, First Air, and Air Georgian

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