A Crisis In Canadian Aviation

In a no-punches pulled statement, Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) said that today’s (Jan. 13, 2021) announcement by Air Canada of further service cuts and layoffs – which came hard on the heels of WestJet’s announcement last week that it was reducing service and employment levels due to the pandemic – “captures 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.”

McNaney observed that: “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.”

NACC’s boss pointed out that: “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.”

And he made it clear that: “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.”

Said McNaney: “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.”

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