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

Langley paramedic postpones retirement to help battle COVID-19

This was supposed to be Vince Ford’s last month

Remains identified as man who vanished from Langley Memorial Hospital

Searl James Smith disappeared in Feburary, 2019

Community Gaming Grants program announces $3 million donation to Food Banks B.C.

Langley Food Bank is in great need of size six diapers, baby wipes, milk, and cheese donations

VIDEO: Young Langley residents celebrate their birthdays with personalized parades

Growing trend amid COVID-19 closures is having decorated vehicles honk past homes

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Most Read