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WestJet will lay off 3,000 more employees

Last Updated Apr 22, 2020 at 8:01 pm PST

FILE - A WestJet plane takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver on Monday, May 13, 2019. Onex Corp. has signed a friendly deal to buy WestJet Airlines Ltd. in a transaction it valued at $5 billion, including assumed debt. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Summary

WestJet will utilize the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program to retain staff on payroll

Calgary-based airline previously laid off 1,700 pilots and cut nearly 7,000 employees

WestJet has implemented other cost-cutting measures to mitigate the impact on its workers

CALGARY — WestJet will lay off 3,000 more employees by early May, according to the Calgary-based airline.

Last week, WestJet laid off 1,700 pilots, and in March cut nearly 7,000 employees, all due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19. It also reduced its service, eliminating hundreds of flights between May and June.

“The reality of this crisis continues to require WestJet to make mission-critical decisions to ensure the sustainability of our airline,” WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims says in a release.

“With less than five per cent of our pre-COVID-19 guest loads, work is simply not currently available. These decisions, while difficult, are being thoughtfully and methodically made so that we can weather this crisis and be ready for a future where we can provide inactive WestJetters with fulfilling employment once again.”

Sims adds WestJet will utilize the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program to retain staff on payroll.

“We continue to work with our employee and labour groups on ways to maintain employment through the crisis.”

Sims says WestJet has implemented other cost-cutting measures to mitigate the impact on its workers: releasing more than 80 per cent of outside contractors; instituting a hiring freeze; stopping all non-essential travel and training; suspending any internal role movements and salary adjustments; cutting executive, vice-president and director salaries; pausing more than 75 per cent of its capital projects; and asking suppliers for a reduction or delay in payments.