Airline is forced to take drastic and unprecedented action in face of
catastrophic impact of September 11, 2001 on global airline industry
Air Canada and Air Canada Regional today
advised employees that they are now compelled to lay off a total of 9,000
employees subject to ongoing mitigation discussions with the unions and the
government. The job reduction program announced in August, accounting for
4,000 of the 9,000 total, is being accelerated as a result of the impact of
the September 11 attack on the U.S. The carrier also announced an overall
network schedule reduction, including that of its regional airline, of 20 per
cent including the previously announced 20 per cent cut to transborder
services. Flight schedule reductions are currently being finalized. As part of
this action a total of 84 aircraft will be removed from the combined fleet.
4,000 JOB REDUCTIONS AT MAINLINE CARRIER IN ADDITION TO 4,000 PREVIOUSLY
ANNOUNCED; 1,000 AT REGIONAL CARRIER
All 8,000 job reductions at the mainline carrier as well as the 1,000 at
the regional carrier will be implemented as soon as practicable.
“Layoffs are not the first choice - they are a last resort,” said Robert
Milton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada. “This is a very
difficult announcement to make to the dedicated team of women and men who make
this airline work. But the catastrophic events of September 11 and their
unprecedented impact on the airline industry have left Air Canada, like every
other large global carrier, with little choice. In the U.S. alone, industry
job losses are already in excess of 100,000. It is our hope that with the
temporary nature of these job reductions, we will be able to recall laid-off
employees when business improves again. In the meantime, we will continue to
work with the unions and the government to find every possible way to reduce
the number of layoffs through various mitigation programs. In fact, we had
meetings with all our unions yesterday and we are scheduled to meet with the
CAW and other unions on the subject later this week.
“The severity of the impact on Air Canada of this act of war on the U.S.
must be placed in the context of the importance of the transborder and other
international markets to Air Canada`s revenue base. With more than 50 per cent
of our revenues dependent on the Canada-U.S. transborder and international
markets, Air Canada is very significantly exposed to the unprecedented and
catastrophic downturn in the global airline industry.
“Bill C26, the legislation adopted following Air Canada`s acquisition of
Canadian Airlines, does not apply to these layoffs. Needless to say, these
layoffs are not related to our acquisition of Canadian Airlines but rather are
a result of the unforeseen and horrific events of September 11 and their
subsequent impact on the industry. For Air Canada, as for every airline on the
globe, the world changed on September 11. Unfortunately, we cannot be certain
that even these job and capacity reductions will be sufficient to weather the
storm. We will reassess the need for further capacity and employee reductions
as the worldwide airline industry crisis unfolds,” said Mr. Milton.
The job reductions will be implemented within all work groups both at the
mainline carrier and regional level - management, support staff as well as the
84 AIRCRAFT AND THREE AIRCRAFT TYPES TO BE REMOVED FROM FLEETS: 55 AT
MAINLINE CARRIER AND 29 AT REGIONAL CARRIER
The airline announced that it would remove a total of 84 aircraft from
the fleet - 55 from the mainline fleet and 29 from the regional carrier fleet.
The mainline carrier`s entire DC-9 fleet of 17 aircraft as well as its 38 B737-
200s will be removed from the fleet. It is expected that 20 B737-200 aircraft
will be transferred to the low fare carrier when it starts up. In addition,
Air Canada Regional`s entire F28 fleet (19 currently operating) will be
grounded on an accelerated basis while its fleet of 10 BAE146s will be
grounded as soon as possible based on training and operational requirements.
Further fleet reductions may follow.
It is expected that the launch of the low fare carrier will mitigate job
losses at both the mainline and regional carrier, as qualified surplus staff
will be hired on a preferential basis by the low fare carrier.
“The past weeks have been extremely stressful and difficult for the
people of Air Canada. Their professionalism, dedication and hard work during
this exceptional period makes today`s announcement all the more painful,” he
said. “The past weeks have also been stressful and difficult for our customers
who have endured everything from a complete system shutdown and diversions to
delays and long waits. I thank them for their patience and understanding and I
want to reassure them that they have every reason to be confident in the
safety and security of Canada`s air transportation system. Safety has always
been Air Canada`s first priority. We will continue to take every necessary
step to ensure the safety and security of our customers and we will take the
lead in proposing the highest security standards to our regulators so that
Canada will be seen by the international community as the model for security
both on-board and on the ground,” concluded Mr. Milton.