Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Thousands laid off as airlines struggle with COVID-19 cancellations, travel bans

Some airlines say they will hire back workers after the crisis subsides

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as the country’s largest airline cuts routes amid plunging demand.

The Montreal-based carrier is laying off about 3,600 employees, plus 1,549 flight attendants at its low-cost subsidiary Rouge, according to Wesley Lesosky, head of the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. However, Air Canada has a $7.3-billion cushion to fall back on — more than the most profitable U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines.

The layoffs will take effect by April and affect roughly 60% of flight attendants. Air Canada says it will suspend most of its international and U.S. flights by March 31.The carrier says employees will be returned to active duty status once flights resume.

Transat AT Inc. says it has temporarily laid off about 70 per cent of its workforce in Canada, about 3,600 people.

Some of these layoffs are effective immediately, while others will take effect following advance notice of up to one month. The layoffs include all flight crew personnel.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has halved its domestic capacity and cancelled all overseas and U.S. routes for 30 days. The carrier is shielded from stock market judgment after Onex Corp. acquired it in December and the company was delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Airbus is cancelling a planned dividend payment and lining up 15 billion euros ($16 billion) in new credit to give the European aircraft giant more cash to weather the crisis. Airbus The plane maker is withdrawing the proposed 2019 dividend payment of 1.8 euros ($1.9) per share will save the company 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion). Airbus is also making pension savings and says it has significant liquidity to cope with the crisis. It had shut several plants last week to adapt them to safer health conditions.

READ MORE: North American stock markets start the trading week down, loonie falls

READ MORE: Feds launch ad campaign urging social distancing, hygiene during COVID-19 crisis


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air TravelCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii resident upcycles glass into ‘quarantini’ tumblers

Faye Laidlaw of Queen Charlotte making tumblers, candleholders to keep glass out of landfill

Kwuna cancels late Monday sailings

BC Ferries making schedule adjustments on Aug. 10 to facilitate arrival of new crew

Power restored for more than 1,300 BC Hydro customers impacted by outage

Outages left hundreds of BC Hydro customers on Haida Gwaii without power on Aug. 9

Haida Gwaii libraries resume inter-branch deliveries

Users can once again access materials from entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Masks mandatory in Old Massett as Haida Gwaii COVID cases total 26

Old Massett Village Council says curfew will be enforced with community service

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

B.C. marine ecologist wants Canada to sink its teeth into shark protection

Gulf Islands scientist says top predator under shocking threat from human behaviour

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read