WestJet layoffs could be just the beginning without federal aid for airlines, experts warn – Calgary Herald

Author of the article:Amanda Stephenson  •  Calgary HeraldPublishing date:Jun 26, 2020  •   •  4 minute readA passenger walks past a quiet WestJet check-in counter at the Calgary International Airport on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. WestJet announced Wednesday the layoff of 3,333 employees. Gavin Young/PostmediaArticle contentIn the wake of more than 3,300 permanent layoffs at Calgary-based…

WestJet layoffs could be just the beginning without federal aid for airlines, experts warn – Calgary Herald

Author of the article:Amanda Stephenson  •  Calgary HeraldPublishing date:Jun 26, 2020  •   •  4 minute readA passenger walks past a quiet WestJet check-in counter at the Calgary International Airport on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. WestJet announced Wednesday the layoff of 3,333 employees. Gavin Young/PostmediaArticle contentIn the wake of more than 3,300 permanent layoffs at Calgary-based WestJet this week, industry experts say the federal government needs to do more to keep Canada’s aviation industry from completely collapsing.The layoffs at WestJet — which had 14,000 employees and flew to more than 100 destinations in 24 countries prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — were called a “last resort” by CEO Ed Sims, who made the announcement Wednesday. The airline has already accessed the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, which provides a 75-per-cent wage top-up for eligible employers and is set to expire at the end of August, and has temporarily furloughed half of its remaining 10,000 employees — keeping them on the payroll even though border closures and a 90-per-cent reduction in passenger traffic mean there is no work for them to do.The airline continues to review all options as it seeks to “preserve and protect our future to mitigate the impacts to our employees, operations and our investments in communities across Canada,” said WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart in an email.This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article content continuedIn May, the country’s largest carrier, Montreal-based Air Canada, announced layoffs of 20,000 employees — 50 to 60 per cent of its work force. Porter Airlines, Transat, and Sunwing Airlines have also announced substantial work force reductions since the start of the pandemic.Some analysts say these layoffs may only be the beginning if the federal government doesn’t do more to assist ravaged Canadian airlines. While the Trudeau government has said airlines are eligible for the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (a federal program designed to provide short-term liquidity assistance to large companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic), it has not announced any form of sector-specific aid package.This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article content continuedThat differs from the approach taken in many other jurisdictions. In the U.S.
Read More From Publisher