Canada’s largest airline announced on Friday that it plans to fire at least 20,000 employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Air Canada said the measure will affect more than half of its 38,000 employees.
The company said that the pandemic has forced it to reduce scheduled flights by 95% and that it does not expect air traffic to normalize anytime soon.
“Accordingly, we have today made the difficult decision to significantly reduce our operations to bring them in line with expectations, which unfortunately translates to cutting our workforce from 50% to 60%,” the airline said in a statement.
The measure will be launched on June 7.
Air Canada announced in March that it would fire nearly half of its workforce under a cost reduction plan. The company had rehired some 16,000 customer service assistants, mechanics, and agents in April, after the Canadian government announced a wage subsidy plan, but did not commit to keeping the program beyond June 6.
Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu has said this is the darkest period in the history of commercial aviation, far worse than those that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the 2008 financial crisis.
The United States-Canada border remains closed to all non-essential travel. The airline maintains more than 200 aircraft grounded after reducing its international service to just five airports.
Air Canada said its first-quarter losses reached C $ 1.05 billion ($ 748 million) due to travel restrictions that governments imposed by the pandemic in various parts of the world, in contrast to profits by 345 million dollars that it obtained in the same period of 2019.
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