Air Canada Merger

COVID-19: Air Canada Memo Spells New Troubles

CTV News reported today that in a memo to employees today, Air Canada asked staff to consider leaving the company. As there are growing debts in the airline industry, the longer planes are on the ground, the more staff will be lost. Today, the union for Air Canada’s flight attendants asked its employees to consider 4 possible options. 

  1. Reduce Work Hours
  2. Go on leave for 2 years
  3. Resign all together
  4. Retirement

However, this was to be expected. Firstly, Air Canada had already laid off employees early on in the pandemic. As well, new projections on air travel were released. The report was troubling. In fact, IATA does not expect travel numbers to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023. Unfortunately, this means that many predictions early on are beginning to come true. Laid off employees. Route cuts. Restructuring. Early aircraft retirement. Reducing operations. All options are now on the table.

Troubling News for Air Canada

Many airlines have already spoken out. Regrettably, the message is clear. Many airlines are in financial troubles. Sadly, the pandemic has gotten a hold of Avianca, South African Airways, Air Mauritius, and Virgin Australia already. Even more unfortunately, more are sure to come. But, airlines like Air Canada were expected to be better off. Of course, no one could have predicted how widespread this would turn out to be. Air Canada has been in bankruptcy before. It was a dark time for the airline. But leaps were taken. Firstly, a complete restructure happened. Then, a new board led the airline in a new direction. After that, a series of product upgrades followed. Finally, new aircrafts were launched creating more viable routes. 

Stop us if you’ve heard this before. Then came the pandemic. As the world now knows, there will be no quick recovery. There are still too many questions to be answered. Of course, this played a role in Air Canada’s decision today. The memo to employees stated that they currently had ‘one of the largest surplus of cabin personnel in [Air Canada’s] history.’ For Canada’s economy this is also troubling. With tourism being one of Canada’s largest industries, Air Canada’s cuts will run deep. 

Numbers have yet to be released for travel numbers in April but they are going to be ugly. Air Canada foreshadowed an even darker future, saying that further lay offs were imminent. This is unfortunate for everyone. For Canadians, Air Canada is the flag carrier, carrying over half of all Canadian travelers. Combined with WestJet’s cuts, the industry is looking bleak. This was a long time coming but it certainly didn’t help the emotions for employees when the memo dropped.

Hope for the Best

There isn’t much anyone can do right now. Of course, everyone wants to solve a troubling situation. But, we have to remember that staying home is the solution. The faster we can be rid of this pandemic, the faster we can return to a new normal. Unfortunately, not everyone has gotten that message. It is understandable that governments worldwide are in a hard spot. By essentially closing the economy, many worse outcomes are possible. However, reopening too soon could equate to worse outcomes. 

As travelers, we must do our part. For Air Canada to recover, and be able to return to 2019’s highs, traveling must resume at the proper time with proper measures. Hopefully for everyone, this time will come soon. 

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