Air Canada has announced it will be temporarily laying off employees due to COVID-19.
According to a news release, the airline will be placing 15,200 members of its workforce on Off Duty status, effective April 3.
“The unpredictable extent and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic requires a significant overall response. To furlough such a large proportion of our employees is an extremely painful decision but one we are required to take given our dramatically smaller operations for the next while,” Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO for Air Canada, said in the release.
“It will help ensure that Air Canada can manage through this crisis that is affecting airlines everywhere. We believe that the temporary nature of these reductions, many achieved through voluntary programs, combined with other mitigation measures, will position us to restore regular operations as soon as the situation improves,” he continued.
Additionally, the airline announced it will be taking additional measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, including a company-wide cost reduction intended to save $500 million.
Moreover, the company has announced it intends to draw down operating lines of credit of approximately $1 billion, to provide additional liquidity.
Further, Rovinescu and Michael Rousseau, deputy chief executive and CFO of Air Canada, have agreed to forgo 100 per cent of their salary, while senior executives will forgo 25 to 50 per cent of their salaries, members of the Board of Directors have agreed to a 25 per cent reduction of their salaries, and managers will sacrifice 10 per cent of their salaries.
As well, while many of Air Canada’s flights have been cancelled, the airline will continue to serve a small number of international and U.S. trans-border destinations from select Canadian cities after April 1, 2020, in addition to a reduced network in Canada.
In addition, the company will continue to work with the federal government to provide special international flights to repatriate Canadians abroad as well as cargo-only flights to ensure the continued movement of essential goods, including medical supplies.
Cover photo courtesy of Air Canada’s Instagram