Air Transat Suspends Operations, Cuts 70% Of Staff

Airline Transat A.T. Inc. (Air Transat) (TSX:TRZ) is suspending operations and temporarily laying off 70% of its workforce in Canada as a result of the travel restrictions implemented due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The layoffs, most of which will take effect immediately, affect 3,600 people, and include all flight crew. The company said executives and board members who are not being laid off will take voluntary pay cuts. Last week, the Montreal-based company announced plans to gradually suspend its flights until the end of April as new border restrictions were implemented.

The company said Monday that the final Air Transat flight before it fully suspends operations is scheduled for April 1.

"We are very much in agreement with the measures being taken to fight the spread of the virus and protect the public's health," said Transat President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache in a written news release.

"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."

The federal government’s restrictions on foreign nationals entering Canada took effect March 18. Transat said it has since repatriated about 40,000 of its 65,000 Canadian customers.