Cutbacks are once again coming to the airline industry due to COVID-19 restrictions, as Air Canada announced it is against cutting service, resulting in at least 1,500 new layoffs among its union members.
Beginning Feb. 18, Canada’s largest airline will suspend, at least until the end of April, 17 transborder and international routes from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Managers will also be placed on forced leave, Air Canada said Tuesday, without specifying how many would be affected.
Affected travellers will be offered ‘a variety of options,’ such as ‘alternative routes,’ the company said, without specifying whether refunds would be offered.
Last month, as a result of new screening requirements imposed by Ottawa, Air Canada announced a 25 per cent reduction in service and at least 1,700 layoffs.
Since agreeing to suspend flights to sun destinations until April 30 at Ottawa’s request, most carriers have reduced their operations.
Air Transat is coming to a complete standstill while WestJet announced new layoffs last week. Air Canada has also decided to suspend indefinitely all operations of its low-cost subsidiary Rouge, resulting in 80 layoffs.
Airlines have been negotiating for months with the Trudeau government over sector support, which is demanding that intervention be accompanied by refunds to travellers whose flights have been cancelled since the beginning of the health crisis.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021.