Air Transat closes Vancouver base and lays off half of its flight attendants

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      Canada’s third largest airline is reducing its workforce in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Today (October 20), a coalition of aviation employees organized a demonstration on Parliament Hill to demand action from federal government that will help the aviation industry recover from the pandemic.

      The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had issued a news release on October 16 to request an immediate deployment of rapid COVID-19 testing at Canadian airports by the Canadian government.

      CUPE believes that a federal program that provides pre-boarding results “would be a crucial addition for reviving the airline industry”.

      The call was made after CUPE learned that Air Transat would be reducing its 2,000 employees to less than 160 in November.

      In addition, the Vancouver base for the airlines is closing until further notice.

      All Air Transat flights ceased on April 1. After starting flights again on July 23, 355 flight attendants were back to work by August. 

      However, CBC News reported that Air Transat has temporarily laid off 128 flight attendants, which leaves 117 flight attendants. 

      Air Transat announced on October 10 that Air Canada will complete its acquisition of the company.

      However, Air Canada will purchase the company at a lowered price (over 70 percent less) under a revised agreement. Air Canada will purchase all issued and outstanding Air Transat shares at $5 per share, rather than $18 each as previously agreed to before the pandemic in 2019.