CUPE “appalled” by closure of Air Transat’s YVR base

CUPE “appalled” by closure of Air Transat’s YVR base

VANCOUVER — The union that represents the majority of flight attendants across Canada is lashing out at Air Transat’s decision to close its YVR base.

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the vast majority of flight attendants in Canada, is appalled by the news of the closure of the Air Transat base at Vancouver International Airport. As a result, more than 200 flight attendant positions will be eliminated,” says a CUPE statement.

“This very bad news is somewhat mitigated by the fact that all these flight attendants will have the opportunity to be reassigned to bases in Montreal and Toronto. CUPE will be working diligently, negotiating adequate severance pay with the employer for its members who lose their jobs, as well as help and assistance in moving allowances for those who change bases.”

Dominic Levasseur, President of CUPE’s Air Transat Component, added: “Despite our understanding of the economic imperatives that have forced Air Transat to make this terrible decision, our employer must keep in mind that the vast majority of our members at our Vancouver base have dedicated decades of loyal services to the company. Transat must take responsibility for its employees who will be laid off or need to transfer thousands of kilometres away. The union will do everything possible to obtain the best conditions for its members.”

Air Transat began winding down its operations out of Western Canada in the early months of the pandemic. In July 2020 Air Transat announced it was cancelling all of its flights from Western Canada to south and USA destinations.

In an August 2020 interview with Travelweek, Joe Adamo, Chief Distribution Officer, Transat and President, TDC, said the decision to cancel Transat’s Western Canada program was “very painful.” He added: “We had a good long run in Western Canada, with great relationships with travel agents and good customer loyalty. But at this point we can’t efficiently operate planes out of Western Canadian gateways. It’s a difficult choice we’re making. We will operate more efficiently out of Ontario and Quebec gateways.”