WestJet to Layoff 24% of Workforce Amidst Pandemic

By Kurt Stolz on 26 June 2020
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WestJet announced plans to lay off 24% of its workforce, or 3,333 employees, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to decimate air travel.

The Calgary-based airline had 14,000 employees before the pandemic struck. Border closures and travel restrictions have grounded two-thirds of its fleet, the airline said.

“WestJet has remained self-sufficient throughout this extended crisis, cutting our costs by more than 60%,” said its CEO, Ed Sims, in a YouTube video to staff.

“Despite these efforts, the damage we’ve incurred from a weakened demand environment is being compounded by multiple factors…  the reality in which we find ourselves requires difficult and often painful decisions to ensure our continued viability in the future.”

The airline currently has 4,500 employees working full time with 5,500 furloughed.  The airline said it hopes to bring those workers back.

The cuts will affect management and line staff alike.  It will consolidate its call center in Alberta, and outsource its operations in all but four of its 38 domestic airports, leaving just Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto with WestJet employees.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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