Transat AT Inc. has temporarily laid off about 70 per cent of its workforce in Canada, about 3,600 people.
The decision comes as non-essential travel around the world comes to a standstill as governments close borders in an effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transat said Monday some of these layoffs are effective immediately, while others will take effect following advance notice of up to one month.
The layoffs include all flight crew personnel.
The company says similar measures are being implemented in the other countries where Transat has employees.
Executives who are not being laid off have accepted voluntary pay cuts, as have members of its board of directors.
Transat said operations are being stopped gradually in order to enable it to repatriate as many of its customers as possible to their home countries.
The company said the final Air Transat flight prior to the full suspension of its operations is scheduled for April 1.
“At the same time, in order to safeguard the company, we have unfortunately had to proceed with layoffs that affect a significant portion of our employees,” Transat chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache said in a statement.
“We are doing this with great sadness and we hope that everyone will be able to return to work as quickly as possible.
Transat said that by March 22, about 40,000, or more than 60 per cent of its customers, had been returned to Canada.
This report was first published by the Canadian Press on March 23, 2020.