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Mar 23, 2020

Transat laying off 70% of staff as it moves to suspend operations

Transat laying off 70% of staffs amid COVID-19 fallout

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Transat A.T. Inc. is temporarily laying off 70 per cent of its workforce in Canada as a result of travel restrictions implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said Monday.

The layoffs, some of which will take effect immediately, affect 3,600 people, and include all flight crew. The company said executives who are not being laid and board members will take voluntary pay cuts.

Last week, the Montreal-based company announced plans to gradually suspend its flights until the end of April as new border restrictions took effect.

The company said Monday the final Air Transat flight before it fully suspends operations is scheduled for Apr. 1.

"We are very much in agreement with the measures being taken to fight the spread of the virus and protect the public's health,” said Transat President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache in a release. “These measures have forced us to totally suspend our operations. We have done this in such a way that none of our customers are stuck far from home, and we are in the process of bringing them back.”  

“At the same time, in order to safeguard the company, we have unfortunately had to proceed with layoffs that affect a significant portion of our employees. We are doing this with great sadness and we hope that everyone will be able to return to work as quickly as possible,” he added.

The federal government’s restrictions on foreign nationals entering Canada took effect March 18 at 12 p.m. ET.

Transat said it has since repatriated about 40,000 of its 65,000 Canadian customers.