The Canadian aviation industry has been sent into a tailspin as new hotel quarantine rules and a ban on flying to popular winter sun destinations bite into travel demand. Canadian airlines have been forced to slash their schedules even further and with fewer flights comes the need to lay-off hundreds of more employees across the industry… apart from one airline.
Ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines is bucking the trend in spite of harsh new COVID-19 travel restrictions and is actually hiring new flight attendants at its bases in Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.
The hiring spree comes just days after the upstart carrier announced that it was starting up eight new routes across Canada and weeks after the airline revealed that it was taking on 13 new Boeing 737MAX aircraft to “accelerate its disruptive mission to make travel affordable for all Canadians.”
The situation at competitors like Air Transat and Westjet couldn’t, however, look much different. Following the Canadian government’s decision to temporarily ban flights to destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean both airlines have said that they have been left with no choice but to temporarily lay-off hundreds of employees.
By March 2, Westjet will have laid-off an additional 120 flight attendants as part of its response to the renewed travel restrictions. Demand on other international flights has been hit by new hotel quarantine rules for the vast majority of passengers arriving in Canada from abroad.
Air Canada has also laid-off around 1,500 more employees since the travel ban was announced, including 100 call center workers.
“Workers in this sector are worried there won’t be an industry to come back to once the pandemic is over if the government doesn’t act,” warned Wesley Lesosky, President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on Tuesday.
Lesosky is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hammer out an airline-specific aid package to avoid the industry collapsing. “Every day that passes without an aid package represents more and more jobs lost. We can’t leave our economic recovery in the hands of foreign airlines,” he commented as talks between the government and airlines continue.
Trudeau has repeatedly told Canadians not to travel during the pandemic and the government hasn’t indicated when border and travel restrictions might be eased. In the meantime, however, some lucky Canadians might land a job with Flair. Further details about the job openings can be found here.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.