MIAMI – Air Canada (AC) announced today it will dismiss half of its workers to reduce costs amid the current crisis, planning to rehired them later but with government help.

Due to the airline’s plunge in profits and its sustainability in mind, the cut will affect 16,500 jobs, a move now common for airlines worldwide as a way to reduce costs.

Cost-saving measures at AC

Previously, the airline announced financial cuts, temporarily stopping the buy-back of its own shares and reducing 10% of its manager payment for Q2 2020.

However, AC also said in today’s statement that it qualifies for a wage subsidy program to gain liquidity to maintain its employees after negotiations with the government confirmed its eligibility.

The US$71bn financial aid is expected to last until June. Unions involved with the carrier have signed the plan, of which AC flight attendants confirmed that its 6,800 members affected by the halt would come back to work albeit in non-active duties.

As AC president and CEO Calin Rovinescu said that the carrier is trying to keep as many workers as possible during the crisis, he and AC CFO Michael Rousseau agreed to withhold 25% to 50% of their salaries alongside those of other executives and board members.