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Airline Announces Major Cuts to Staff as Demand Dwindles



The second-largest airline in Canada announced Tuesday over half of its employees would be leaving the company as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause a decline in demand.

According to The Associated Press, WestJet CEO Ed Sims revealed around 6,900 of the 14,000 employees at the airline have either retired early, resigned or were laid off. The carrier announced 90 percent of departing workers did so voluntarily.

Sims said the decision was made to cut costs and stabilize the airline as it temporarily suspended all international flights for 30 days and dramatically cut back on domestic service.

“It is through these WestJetters’ sacrifices that we can preserve a core of people who will remain employed to prepare for the moment when the situation stabilizes, and we can look to rise again,” Sims said in a statement.

WestJet asked employees last week to decide how they wanted to help the carrier survive the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus, including unpaid leave of absence, early retirement, voluntary resignation, reduced workweek or reduced pay.

Sims went on to say the airline’s executive team took a 50 percent pay cut and vice presidents and directors took a 25 percent pay cut. The carrier continues to work with the federal government about possible support.

Canadian airline Air Canada also announced its pilot union said up to 600 of its members will go on unpaid leave in the coming months due to the pandemic, while U.S. carriers are drafting plans to temporarily stop flying entirely.

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Airline In-Flight Magazines Are Latest To Go



Airlines have trimmed as many expenses as they can after being decimated by the global coronavirus pandemic, including big-ticket items like parking planes and cutting capacity to, seemingly, low-priority expenses like food and beverage.

Now comes the latest cutback.

According to the aviation blog The Points Guy, four of the top five U.S. airlines have removed their inflight magazines from seatback pockets.

And it might not have been solely the choice of the airlines.

Delta, for instance, removed its Sky magazine and said the decision was based on a new aircraft cleaning process. Like many airlines, Delta has gone with a fogging disinfectant in the plane.

But Sky magazine is published privately by MSP Communications, and several staff writers say they’ve been laid off in the wake of Delta’s decision.

Southwest Airlines has also put Southwest: The Magazine on hold, after publication of the March 2020 issue. At its peak, the magazine had 5.5 million readers and Southwest is “working around the clock and will follow up with next steps regarding the Southwest: The Magazine soon,” a company spokesperson told The Points Guy.

Alaska Airlines is not publishing an April or May issue of its Alaska Beyond magazine.

As for American Airlines, its American Way magazine was placed in seatbacks for April. Michael Keating, CEO of Ink Global, which publishes American Airlines’ American Way magazine and United’s Hemisphere magazine.

“The April edition of American Way was boarded as usual and American is 100% committed to all the titles that we produce (American Way, Nexos and Celebrated Living),” he said. “Whilst of course pagination and print runs will vary, we are planning future issues as normal. The same goes for Hemispheres, though we will be skipping the May issue as United passenger numbers will be down. We are currently working on the June issue of Hemispheres and beyond.”

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