Transat A.T. Inc. announces that it has temporarily laid off about 70% of its workforce in Canada. The final Air Transat flight prior to the full suspension of its operations is scheduled for April 1.
On March 18, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Transat announced the gradual temporary halting of all its flights until April 30.
Operations are being stopped gradually in order to enable Transat to repatriate as many of its customers as possible to their home countries.
As of March 18, some 65,000 Canadian Transat customers were at Sun or Europe destinations. By March 22, about 40,000, or more than 60 % of them, had been returned to Canada.
Simultaneously, as also announced March 18, Transat has been forced to proceed with layoffs affecting about 70% of its staff, or 3,600 people. Some of these layoffs are effective immediately, while others will take effect following advance notice of up to one month. They include all flight crew personnel. Similar measures are being implemented in the other countries where Transat has employees. Executives who are not being laid off have accepted voluntary pay cuts, as have members of the Board of Directors.
"We are very much in agreement with the measures being taken to fight the spread of the virus and protect the public's health. As a community, we have to do what is necessary to stop the pandemic," said Transat President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache.
He added: "These measures have forced us to totally suspend our operations. We have done this in such a way that none of our customers are stuck far from home, and we are in the process of bringing them back. We expect to have finished doing this by April 1, and we will then totally halt our flights. At the same time, in order to safeguard the company, we have unfortunately had to proceed with layoffs that affect a significant portion of our employees. We are doing this with great sadness and we hope that everyone will be able to return to work as quickly as possible."
Mr. Eustache concluded: "In these circumstances, I want to pay the sincerest tribute to our flight crews, who have remained at their posts in stressful and difficult conditions, flying our aircraft sometimes without regard for their personal safety. I can never say enough to express our gratitude, and the same goes for our commercial and administrative personnel who, each in their own job, made extraordinary efforts to successfully complete this unprecedented operation."