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

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules starting Saturday, April 4

Suspect with pellet gun draws serious police response in downtown Nanaimo

Officers respond with guns drawn at Port Place shopping centre

City of Nanaimo takes measures to protect people experiencing homelessness during pandemic

City to provide additional water sources and washrooms, council directs creation of food plan

Nanaimo Art Gallery teen art group creating COVID-19-inspired art

Code Switching group lives on online after physical meetings cancelled due to pandemic

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

Most Read