FILE – An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal on March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

WestJet joins Air Canada in hoping to qualify for wage subsidy to bring workers back

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

WestJet says it plans to bring back nearly 6,400 employees on to its payroll with the help of Ottawa’s emergency wage subsidy program.

WestJet chief executive Ed Sims made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday evening, following a similar announcement by Air Canada Tuesday.

He says employees will be back on the company payroll once the federal government has approved the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

Air Canada said it would use the program to bring back about 16,500 employees it laid off in March due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sims says it doesn’t mean all the employees will be automatically coming back to work because there might not be work for them to do, but he says it will help the workers financially.

WestJet continues to operate flights during the crisis, but it has slashed its capacity.

International air travel has dropped to record lows, with passenger volumes at Canadian airports decreasing by 96 per cent year over year for the week starting March 30, despite thousands of travellers returning home on repatriation flights, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Passengers arriving from the U.S. and the rest of the globe dwindled to 11,400 and 3,300, respectively, compared to 376,900 and 73,200 in 2019.

“While our seat capacity and operations have decreased by more than 90 per cent overnight, we are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said in a release Wednesday.

READ MORE: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

READ MORE: WestJet lays off nearly 7,000 employees, cutting staff in half amid COVID-19 crisis

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air CanadaCoronavirus

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

B.C. Ferries says Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay sailings filling up fast

Tsawwassen-Duke Point may be a better alternative between June 4 and 7, says ferry corporation

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Vancouver Islanders gathering to rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

VIDEO: View Royal resident spots cougar in nearby backyard

B.C. Conservation notified about early Thursday morning sighting

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

No lifeguards this summer for some popular Island swimming spots, no swimming at all for others

Fears of risk to health and safety during COVID-19 pandemic partly to blame

No architect for Langford building ruled ‘unreasonable’ by B.C. Supreme Court

Legal action brought against City in 2019 for permit issued on Hoffman Avenue building

Number of property sales down by 40 per cent when compared to last year

Value of single-family home, condominium in Victoria up from last year despite pandemic

3 people found violating court imposed curfews in Cowichan

People are placed on curfews for a variety of public safety reasons.

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read