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article imageAiling Canadian aviation industry calls on Trudeau for aid

By Karen Graham     Oct 1, 2020 in Business
Major Canadian labor unions on Thursday said the aviation sector would suffer permanent damage unless Ottawa provided a C$7 billion ($5.3 billion) 10-year low-interest loan to offset the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, which has slashed travel.
Even as major U.S. airlines wait expectantly to see if a stimulus package will help in averting furloughs and layoffs, Canada's airline industry is in the same sinking boat as unions representing over 310,000 workers, said in a statement that Canada remained the only leading developed nation not to have unveiled concrete measures to help the travel and tourism sector, reports Reuters.
Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, Robert Giguere, Chief Executive Officer of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) and Tim Perry, Canadian President of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) - are asking that the federal government offer the carriers one percent loans amounting to $7.0 billion in total, according to CTV Canada News.
In total, the labor groups are seeking the loan guarantees, as well as direct financial aid that's tied to the resumption and maintenance of air services, but say they are not seeking grants.
“We need urgent funds for the aviation sector or there won’t be Canadian airlines, and that will cost us all much more,” said Jerry Dias of Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.
A Canadian Westjet airline jet parked at Hewanorra International Airport  St Lucia  on February 3  2...
A Canadian Westjet airline jet parked at Hewanorra International Airport, St Lucia, on February 3, 2019.
Daniel SLIM, AFP/File
The coronavirus pandemic has affected air travel worldwide and has cost the industry dearly, not only in jobs lost, but in lost revenues from the movement of goods and passengers. This has had a devastating effect on the economies of the world's nations.
Two Canadian airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, have laid off 30,000 skilled employees due to the health crisis. And this is an industry that previously employed roughly 240,000 workers and contributed nearly $37 billion in Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reports Travel Pulse.
In last weeks Throne Speech, the Liberal government promised to "support regional routes," however, Canada stands alone among the developed nations of the world in announcing no concrete direct measures for the travel and tourism sector.
The National Airlines Council of Canada, representing Canada's largest carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet) welcomed the union statement with their own statement: "The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our industry, our employees and the communities we serve. Tens of thousands of employees have been impacted, flight capacity in the market has been reduced by approximately 85% and billions of dollars in aircraft are parked. We support today's call by Canada's major aviation unions, for the federal government to move forward quickly with support measures to protect Canadian jobs and investment" said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the NACC.
More about Canadian aviation industry, coronavirus outbreak, 10year loans, direct financial aid
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