air transat layoffs

Air Transat lays off workers and says it's suspending operations next week

Canadian airline Air Transat announced this morning that it has temporarily laid off about 70 per cent of its workforce and plans to fully suspend operations after April 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The temporary layoffs will affect about 3,600 people and include all flight crew personnel, according to the airline. 

Some of the layoffs are effective immediately, while others will take effect following advance notice of up to one month. 

The airline also announced that executives who are not being laid off have accepted voluntary pay cuts, as have members of the board of directors.

"In order to safeguard the company, we have unfortunately had to proceed with layoffs that affect a significant portion of our employees. We are doing this with great sadness and we hope that everyone will be able to return to work as quickly as possible," said Transat President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache in a statement.

Air Transat has been repatriating customers from both beach and European destinations since March 18, and the airline has successfully brought home about 40,000 Canadians to date. 

Operations are being stopped gradually, but they'll continue to bring Canadians home until they completely suspend services following a final flight on April 1. 

"We are very much in agreement with the measures being taken to fight the spread of the virus and protect the public's health. As a community, we have to do what is necessary to stop the pandemic," Eustache said.

"These measures have forced us to totally suspend our operations. We have done this in such a way that none of our customers are stuck far from home, and we are in the process of bringing them back. We expect to have finished doing this by April 1, and we will then totally halt our flights. "

Other Canadian airlines such as Sunwing and WestJet have also halted outgoing flights in an effort to focus on repatriating Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lead photo by

Trevor Carl

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