Ottawa, January 13, 2021 – Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Canada’s largest national and international carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet), issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Air Canada of further service reductions and layoffs:

“Today’s announcement by Air Canada of further layoffs, including layoffs at Air Canada Express carriers, and cuts to service follows an announcement by WestJet last week that it too is reducing service and employment levels, due to the pandemic.  These announcements capture the stark reality that we are losing connectivity and service to communities across Canada at a rate that threatens to unwind billions of dollars in investment made over the past ten years, investment that has supported hundreds of thousands of jobs, and driven a level of connectivity and service that underpinned economic growth in every region of Canada.

Since the pandemic began tens of thousands of aviation employees have lost their jobs, billions of dollars in aircraft have been parked, and market capacity has been reduced by more than 80% as carriers struggle to provide some level of service, and yet maintain financial viability.

Canada’s major airlines are still operating without sector-specific aid and are consequently losing market share to foreign competitors who have received strong sectoral support from their governments.

Beyond public statements, we need action on financial support, and full engagement with industry to develop a truly robust and effective testing strategy that incorporates rapid antigen testing tied to quarantine and border restrictions.  This is the clear path forward for aviation, and reflects the approach being taken by countries around the world.

The decisions made by the federal government in the coming weeks and months will directly and forcefully impact the future of Canadian aviation, the future of our employees, and the future of the communities we serve.”

About the National Airlines Council of Canada:

The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers:  Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.  It promotes safe, sustainable and competitive air travel by advocating for the development of policies, regulations and legislation to foster a world-class transportation system.  Collectively, its member airlines carry over 80 million passengers annually, directly employ over 60,000 people and are a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector which supports more than 630,000 jobs.

For media requests, please contact Francesca Iacurto, Senior Director, Public Affairs, National Airlines Council of Canada;; Telephone: 613.231.7223 ext. 104.