CALGARY, Alberta–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The union representing over 4,100 Flight Attendants at WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop, offers a welcome to The Honourable Omar Alghabra, P.C., M.P. Minister of Transportation.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4070 is optimistic that while Canada’s airline sector has to date been excluded from sector specific aid, incoming Minister Alghabra will provide a new perspective and a fresh attitude towards evaluating our industry, and its national economic significance.

“Canada’s civil aviation sector has suffered one of the most significant impacts and fallout from the COVID-19 Coronavirus and associated global pandemic” said Chris Rauenbusch, President of CUPE Local 4070. “As a direct result of the many vague and ever-changing regulatory requirements from the government, every one of Canada’s airlines is suffering losses well beyond any crisis ever contended with, and to no avail from our government to date.”

“The CEWS wage subsidy, while a great support, does not adequately deal with the massive cash and liquidity crisis consuming airlines since this global pandemic began” continued Rauenbusch. “The industry is exposed to global competitors, as well as massive capital costs to operate which have only gone up, not down during this pandemic” he noted.

Canada’s air carriers remain in peril awaiting a sector specific airline support package, similar to those in place in all other G7 Nations, as well as many countries around the globe.

This past Friday, following multiple announcements of reductions across our sector since the pandemic began, WestJet announced further network and job reductions of between 20 to 30 percent, impacting over 1,000 employees. On Tuesday, Air Canada announced complete service cancellation to Fredericton, NB; Yellowknife, NT; and all destinations in Labrador. Further airline cuts are inevitable should the status quo continue.

Why is Canada the only G7 country with no airline specific support package?

Canada’s civil aviation industry directly employs over 241,000 workers, contributes annually US$49 billion to Canada’s GDP, and supports 391,000 trickle-down workers across the aviation supply chain, the tourism sector, and aviation employee spending (1). These numbers cannot continue to be ignored by government, and CUPE Local 4070 looks to Minister Alghabra to finally announce aid which recognizes these facts, and institutes meaningful airline sector aid legislation.

“Continued abandonment of our national civil aviation sector will result in Canadian jobs going to foreign carriers, and Canadians having no domestic based airlines to serve them. That would be a national disaster” concluded Rauenbusch.

Canada desperately needs action to maintain the long-term health of our airline sector, and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose income depended upon it. We are counting on Minister Alghabra to save our industry.

(1) https://www.iata.org/en/iata-repository/publications/economic-reports/canada–value-of-aviation///

LA/clc/cope#491

Contacts

Lou Arab

Communications Representative

780.271.2722

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