Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 July 2020

Air Canada to temporarily lay off more than 5,100 employees

The airline is planning to suspend majority of its international and US trans-border flights by March 31 due to coronavirus

Air Canada to lay off more than 5,100 employees. AFP
Air Canada to lay off more than 5,100 employees. AFP

Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 5,100 employees as it attempts to check the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the union representing the Canadian airline's flight attendants said on Friday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said it was "deeply saddened" to learn that the airline would temporarily lay off about 3,600 of its members at Air Canada mainline and all 1,549 of its members at Air Canada Rouge.

CUPE, which represents about 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, said the layoffs were effective until April 30 at the earliest.

Air Canada has initiated discussions with its unions to begin placing employees on temporary, off-duty status, the company said on Friday.

"Employees would be returned to active duty status when we ramp up our network schedule as conditions allow," the company said.

Earlier this week, Air Canada said it would gradually suspend the majority of its international and US trans-border flights by March 31 in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Airline industry executives around the globe have called for state support as travel demand collapses at an unprecedented rate and governments impose restrictions due to the pandemic.

Air Canada has "no choice" but to cut staff, calling the move "difficult but necessary", CBC News, which first reported the news, quoted the airline's vice president of in-flight service as saying.

The highly contagious coronavirus has infected more than 270,000 people across the world and the death toll now exceeds 10,000.

Updated: March 26, 2020 10:27 AM

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