That’s a lot of money! Air Canada received hundreds of millions of dollars in support from the federal government during COVID-19, according to a new report.
In an article published on December 6, CBC News revealed that the airline received the largest amount of government aid "among publicly traded companies that have disclosed finances to date."
To help pay its tens of thousands of employees, the company collected $492 million through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), over a period ending on September 30.
Air Canada described their position during the pandemic as “by far the biggest company in perhaps the worst industry."
The amount claimed by Air Canada
While the airline has already claimed millions of dollars via the CEWS, it remains in talks with the federal government about additional industry-specific support packages.
Per CBC News, some experts believe the airline is using passengers’ demands for refunds as leverage during these talks.
This comes as over 100,000 Canadians have signed petitions calling for government involvement when it comes to flight ticket refunds after a number of airlines failed to offer monetary refunds for cancelled services.
Others have filed class-action lawsuits against companies that failed to offer customers their money back.
Responding to those who have been unable to claim refunds for cancelled flights, Transport Minister Marc Garneau promised that any government bailout for the industry would include passenger refunds as a condition.
In October, Canadian travel company WestJet announced that they’d be refunding all eligible passengers, although they admitted that the process may take months.