Business

Air Transat to rehire 4,000 workers laid off due to COVID-19 with government wage subsidy

Transat A.T. Inc. plans to use the federal emergency wage subsidy to rehire 4,000 employees it had temporarily laid off after halting all flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Canada and WestJet have previously made similar announcements because of the same program

Air Transat has had to lay off staff just as many other airlines have amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

Transat A.T. Inc. plans to use the federal emergency wage subsidy to rehire 4,000 employees it had temporarily laid off after halting all flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transat says the employees, 1,900 of whom are flight attendants, will not be required to work as part of their recall.

The returning staff will receive 75 per cent of their baseline pay up to a maximum of $847 per week, as defined in federal legislation passed last week.

"Temporarily laying off a large majority of our employees was a necessary but heartbreaking decision," Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said in a statement.

Eustache added that he hopes the announcement will provide some comfort for staff, 80 per cent of whom had been laid off.

On March 23, Transat announced it would lay off 3,600 workers as it suspended its entire Air Transat flight schedule, a move followed by 400 other furloughs.

Since then the airline business has gone into a further tailspin as closed borders and travel controls cratered demand.

The International Air Transport Association predicts revenues will fall by $314 billion US this year, or 55 per cent from 2019.

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