Air Canada cutting about 1,700 jobs as it reduces capacity in response to pandemic restrictions

As passengers pushed for refunds, Air Canada got more than $400 million from wage subsidy

Air Canada says it’ll minimize 1,700 jobs because it scales down operations in response to a brand new wave of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The 25 per cent discount in service can even have an effect on 200 workers at Air Canada’s Specific carriers, the corporate stated Wednesday morning.

“We remorse the influence these tough selections may have on our workers who’ve labored very onerous through the pandemic taking care of our prospects, in addition to on the affected communities,” Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s government vice-president and chief business officer, stated in a press release.

Guillemette stated elevated journey restrictions by federal and provincial governments have had a right away influence on the corporate’s bookings.

With the discount, Air Canada’s capability within the first quarter of 2021 can be about 20 per cent of its capability through the first quarter of 2019, the corporate says.

“Whereas this isn’t the information we have been hoping to announce this early into the 12 months, we’re nonetheless inspired that Well being Canada has already authorized two vaccines and that the federal government of Canada expects the overwhelming majority of eligible Canadians to be vaccinated by September,” Guillemette stated.

“We sit up for seeing our enterprise begin to return to regular and to bringing again a few of our greater than 20,000 workers at present on furlough and layoff.”

Atlantic Canada hit onerous by cuts

Air Canada notified airports in Atlantic Canada this week that it might minimize further routes within the area, suspending all flights in Gander, N.L., Goose Bay, N.L., and Fredericton till additional discover. It additionally stated it was suspending passenger service to Yellowknife on Jan. 23.

The airline stated it’s contacting affected prospects to supply them choices comparable to refunds or various journey preparations.

The cuts come simply days after Air Canada’s newest spherical of service reductions in Atlantic Canada went into impact on Jan. 11.

The federal authorities says it is ‘dissatisfied by airways’ selections to cancel extra regional routes.’ (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Monette Pasher, government director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Affiliation, stated in a press release that the repercussions of the service cuts can be felt for years to return in communities within the area.

“We can not simply flip a swap to show air service again on after we get to the opposite facet of this pandemic,” Pasher stated. “We’re going to have a protracted, onerous highway forward of us to rebuild air entry for our area.”

B.C. strongly affected

Air Canada’s cuts can even strongly influence British Columbia, the place flights out of Prince Rupert and Kamloops have been suspended.

Ed Ratuski, managing director of the Kamloops Airport, stated he expects the cutbacks to stay in impact by way of March.

 “Our concern is … what sort of influence this discount in service may have on employees who should journey by air to help their households regionally,” he stated. 

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian stated he was “past dissatisfied” to see the cancellation of town’s solely direct flights to Vancouver. Kamloops is about 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

“When you have got locations, just like the B.C. Lottery Company, which have their provincial headquarters in Kamloops, it is simply unfathomable that you’d don’t have any air entry for them to shuffle workers backwards and forwards,” he stated. 

Passenger confusion

Carriers have been wrestling with a droop in demand and passenger confusion following the Jan. 7 introduction of recent  Canadian guidelines requiring travellers to check detrimental for the novel coronavirus earlier than boarding a aircraft sure for the nation.

Privately held WestJet Airways stated final week it might cut back capability, with schedule cuts that might imply furloughs,  layoffs, unpaid leaves or diminished hours for about 1,000 workers.

The federal authorities is “dissatisfied by airways’ selections to cancel extra regional routes,” a spokesperson stated by e-mail.

“COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented state of affairs within the aviation sector,” stated Allison St-Jean, a press aide for brand new Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. “We’re totally seized with the problem of how onerous the air sector has been hit due to COVID-19, and we’re dedicated to offering help to Canada’s air sector.”

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