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Over 5,000 layoffs at Air Canada due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 19, 2020 at 10:36 pm PDT

The tail of the newly revealed Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft is seen at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, February 9, 2017. Air Canada has signed two agreements for airframe maintenance in Quebec, subject to its takeover of Transat AT. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

The layoffs will hit 3,600 crew members nationwide, and all 1,549 employees of Air Canada Rouge

The layoffs are due to an 80 per cent reduction in the airline's capacity due to travel restrictions, decreased demand

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) —  Air Canada has announced over 5,000 workers will be laid off come April 30 due to a stark reduction in demand and strict limits on the destinations to which planes can fly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CUPE, the union that represents flight attendants confirmed the temporary layoffs be in effect until at least April 30.

The layoffs hit 3,600 crew members nationwide, and all 1,549 employees of Air Canada Rouge.

“This is unprecedented, and not something any of us want to go through. The reality is real, and we are working around the clock ensuring you are represented,” says a statement posted to the union’s Facebook page.

The statement explains that the airline has limited flights from Canada to the U.S to 13 destinations, and international flights to just six. A reduction of domestic flights is also anticipated.

“The company will also continue to provide service to all provinces however it will be reduced and subject to further reductions,” the statement reads.

Workers have been given the option of being voluntarily taken off duty.

“Off Duty Status allows you to collect employment insurance and maintain benefits, along with travel benefits. The Union’s position is that this option should be offered to all members as we have heard from many senior members that they would like to voluntarily take this option. The company will allow the opportunity for members to volunteer for Off Duty Status,” the statement explains.