WestJet extends international flight suspensions into May amid COVID-19 pandemic

WestJet extends international flight suspensions into May amid COVID-19 pandemic

Air Canada announced on March 30 that it would temporarily lay off almost half of its employees and reduce activity by up to 90 percent in the second quarter due to the coronavirus.

The International Air Transport Association predicts airlines around the world will lose US$252 billion in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "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", said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive. Both will be beneficiaries of the $2tn (£1.7tn) aid bill signed by Donald Trump this week, though industry executives have warned the boost may not be enough to see the crisis through. The Montreal-based company will reduce operations for the second quarter of 2020 by 85 to 90 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

Additionally, Rovinescu, as well as Michael Rousseau, deputy chief executive and chief financial officer of Air Canada, have agreed to forgo 100% of their salary.

The $720-million deal proposed in August would hand Canada's largest airline 60 per cent of transatlantic travel from Canada and 45 per cent of passenger capacity to sun destinations, according to the federal agency's report.

"I understand and regret the impact this will have upon our employees and their families".

Trudeau also acknowledged the airline industry has been "extremely hard hit" by the pandemic and said the government will do more to help the industry, but did not reveal any details.

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and global airline serving almost 220 airports on six continents.

Air Canada says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.

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