Air Canada laying off at least 20,000

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A woman wears a mask following the outbreak of a new virus as people arrive from the International terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. A Toronto hospital said Saturday it has a confirmed case of the deadly virus from China, Canada’s first. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said it is “caring for a patient who has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.” (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — Canada’s largest airline plans to lay off at least 20,000 employees because of the pandemic.

Air Canada says the layoffs will impact more than half of the company’s 38,000 employees. The airline says COVID-19 has forced it to reduce its schedule by 95% and it doesn’t expect normal traffic to return anytime soon.

The carrier says its workforce will be reduced by 50% to 60%. The move is effective June 7.

Air Canada announced in March it would lay off nearly half of its workforce under a cost reduction scheme. It proceeded to rehire some 16,500 laid-off flight attendants, mechanics and customer service agents in April under after the Canadian government announced a wage subsidy plan, but has not committed to maintain the program past June 6.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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