Air Canada to lay off over 5100 flight attendants

The Canadian carrier is slashing its routes in the face of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Departing Montréal-Trudeau

In response to the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 and subsequent travel restrictions as per  government bodies, Air Canada will be limiting transit and routes for the foreseeable future, alongside temporarily laying off over 5,100 employees. This step is the Airline’s attempt to curb the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Representing close to 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, CUPE said that the layoffs were effective until April 30 at the earliest.

Calin Rovinescu, chief executive, Air Canada, described the travel restrictions as understandable, but cataclysmic for the airline industry.

“We are working around the clock to deal with the impact on our customers and our business of the various travel restrictions that are being imposed by governments at unprecedented speed without advance warning,” said Rovinescu.

It is reported that Air Canada has initiated discussions with its unions to begin placing employees on temporary, off-duty status. “Employees would be returned to active duty status when we ramp up our network schedule as conditions allow,” the Company said in an e-mailed statement.

According to a report, Air Canada’s stock fell nearly 20 per cent on March 17, to close at $12.90 and vacation airline Transat A.T.’s stock dipped two per cent to $5.88 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. During the volatile trading day, Air Canada’s stock fell as much as 40 per cent and Transat’s dropped 20 per cent. Air Canada shares have fallen about 75 per cent since January 1.

Not long ago, Air Canada said it would gradually suspend most of its universal and US trans-outskirt flights by March 31, because of the coronavirus emergency.

Aircraft industry officials around the world have called for state support as movement request crumples at a phenomenal rate and governments force limitations because of the pandemic.

The highly contagious coronavirus has infected more than 234,000 people across the world and the death toll currently exceeds 9,700.

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