Air Canada announced on Friday the layoff of more than half of its workforce due to the collapse of its activity following the coronavirus pandemic. At least 19,000 people are affected.
Canada’s first airline, which cut flights by 95% due to border closures and containment measures, has decided to cut staff “by 50 to 60 percent,” it said in a statement. transmitted by email.
The company, which has around 38,000 employees, explains that it does not expect a return to normal for a long time. “So today we made the very painful decision to cut back on business, which unfortunately means 50 to 60 percent downsizing,” or at least 19,000 people, according to Air Canada.
The current workforce allows for approximately 1,500 flights per day, operated by 258 aircraft. “In the current environment, an operation of this scale is not viable for the future,” notes Air Canada. “We are doing this to preserve our cash flow, to match the size of the company to the level of traffic expected in the medium and long term and to position ourselves to boost our growth when business picks up.”
At the end of March, the Montreal-based company had laid off more than 16,500 employees, before announcing in early April that it intended to rehire them thanks to a wage subsidy program implemented by the government of Justin Trudeau. This program was extended Friday until the end of August.
The company says it has contacted the unions for the implementation of the layoffs, which will take place from early June.