Air Canada to lay off 20,000 workers amid COVID-19 fallout

Air Canada temporarily lays off 5,000+ flight attendants

MONTREAL — Air Canada is temporarily laying off more than 5,100 flight attendants as it slashes capacity due to travel restrictions and border closures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says the carrier is laying off about 3,600 mainline employees and all of Air Canada Rouge’s 1,549 flight attendants.

The layoffs, effective immediately, will last at least through April, CUPE said. They will impact more than half of the airline’s 9,750 flight attendants.

Air Canada said the layoffs are temporary and employees will return to active duty when the airline is able to ramp up its flight capacity.

On March 18 Air Canada announced it will gradually suspend the majority of its international and U.S. flights by March 31.

Union members facing layoffs or off-duty status will be able to collect employment insurance and access benefits.