Westjet endures “toughest day of all”, to axe over ⅕ jobs

Following four months of crisis, Canadian low cost carrier Westjet encountered the “toughest day of all” on June 24, 2020. The company would fire 3,333 employees, the airline’s CEO Ed Sims revealed on the day.

“WestJet has remained self-sufficient throughout this extended crisis, cutting our costs by more than 60%,” Sims said in a video message dated June 24, 2020. Despite the cost-cutting measures already implemented, the company has encountered the “toughest of all of these difficult days”, Sims said, announcing impending layoffs of approximately a fifth of the 14,000-strong workforce.

The 3,333 employees located throughout the country will be permanently leaving the company. Layoffs are part of organizational changes at the airline.

In the coming months, it plans to consolidate call center activities to one city (Calgary), contract out airport operations in all domestic airports (with the exception of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto) and restructure office and management staff.

The affected roles include 430 call center, 2,300 airport operations and 600 head office positions, the Airways Mag reported. The company plans to select new airport service partners and would seek out preferential employment opportunities for as many of the airport roles as possible, a statement by Westjet read.

Following the layoffs, the Westjet workforce will stand at around 10,000.

Westjet has a fleet of 126 all-Boeing aircraft.  As of June 25, two thirds of it, or 86 planes, remain grounded, planespotters.net data indicates.

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