Due to a drop in flights related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada is reportedly set to lay off more than 5,100 members of its cabin crews.
The news was confirmed by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents Air Canada flight attendants.
The employees are reportedly being placed on “off duty status”, which would allow them to collect Employment Insurance.
“In my time I’ve never seen layoffs like this,” CUPE’s president of the Air Canada component. Wesley Lesosky told CBC.
The initial reports stemmed from a March 19 letter that was sent by Renee Smith-Valade, the airline’s vice president of in-flight service. In the letter, Smith-Valade reportedly says Air Canada has “no choice” but to cut staff, calling the move “difficult but necessary”.
She reportedly added that she hopes the layoffs will only be temporary and effective until at least April 30.
In the memo, Smith-Valade reportedly says that Air Canada’s planned flights for April have been cut by nearly 80 per cent.