As Travel Picks Up Air Canada Will Bring Employees Back

As the Canadian government prepares to ease travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, Air Canada is preparing to ramp up its operations. This includes the recalling of over 2,600 employees previously laid off due to the global health crisis.

Air Canada laid off around half of its entire workforce last year due to the downturn in travel. Photo: Air Canada

Canada’s easing restrictions

Air Canada’s actions are a direct response to actions underway with the federal government.

It was just a few days ago that we reported on the Canadian government’s plan to ease quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. Canada’s borders have been closed to all but essential travel. While more recent changes have included allowances for long-term relationships and compassionate reasons, leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel has been largely shut down.

The Canadian government closed more loopholes in recent months when it asked the country’s main carriers to suspend service to southern holiday destinations. There was also the addition of a government-approved accommodation (quarantine-hotel) requirement for arrivals. With this mandate, international travel was made more expensive and inaccessible- achieving the government’s goal of discouraging travel.

Fortunately, for those who are (or will soon be) fully vaccinated, reports suggest that the hotel quarantine requirement will be dropped sometime in early July for this segment of the population. This, understandably, has led Air Canada to prepare for an increase in bookings and passengers on its aircraft.

Canada has had a blanket travel ban in place since March of 2020. Photo: Air Canada

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More than 2,600 employees to be recalled

According to Global News, Air Canada is reactivating over 2,600 jobs to prepare for what looks like an active summer season. An Air Canada spokesperson tells CBC that the recall is part of airline efforts to rebuild the flight network and meet the anticipated demand for travel. The employees being recalled will include cabin crew, but also various other roles. This will take place in multiple stages in June and July.

While this might be far short of the total number of workers it has had to lay off, it symbolizes movement in a positive direction for the airline- as well as for Canadians looking to travel.

Pre-pandemic, Air Canada’s total employee count surpassed 38,000. Photo: Air Canada

Additional good news for AC customers

The good news from Air Canada this week extends to more than its former workers. The same day news broke of its intention to rehire staff, the airline also extended its COVID-19 refund policy.

The airline’s 30-day extension will allow eligible customers a refund if they “purchased a non-refundable ticket before April 13th, 2021, for travel on or after February 1st, 2020, but who did not fly for any reason.”

“The number of customers who have requested a refund is lower than anticipated and most have kept their travel credit, Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan points, which we are pleased to see as it is an indication they plan on travelling in the future. We also take this as a vote of confidence from our customers that they intend to fly with us on their next trip… -Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

The deadline for a refund request was initially set to expire on June 12th, 2021, but has now been extended to July 12th, 2021.

Are you planning to fly with Air Canada in the near future? Or is it still too soon to book a trip? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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