WestJet has confirmed that 1,700 pilots across WestJet, WestJet Encore, and Swoop have received layoff notifications that are effective either May 1 or June 1.
The layoffs are a result of the ongoing global crisis that is shutting borders, encouraging only essential trips outside the home, and forcing a dramatic reduction in air travel, the company said.
All of these factors have reportedly grounded almost 75% of the WestJet fleet.
“Issuing layoffs, in response to this crisis, has always been a last resort for WestJet; however, the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry is colossal, and WestJet is making difficult but necessary decisions to right-size our airline to weather the crisis,” a WestJet spokesperson told Daily Hive.
“These actions will play a crucial part in WestJet’s ability to recover quickly and participate in Canada’s economic recovery.”
Other major airlines in the Canadian flight sphere have introduced layoffs as well. In late March, Air Canada announced the temporary layoffs of 15,200 employees.