The federal government and Air Canada have come to an agreement on a $5.9 billion aid package, which intends to help the airline refund more passengers and restore flight services to regional Canadian communities.
The new Air Canada agreement is provided via the government’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program.
It's set to include $4 billion in loans, a $500-million investment in Air Canada stock and another $1.4-billion loan to specifically facilitate customer refunds.
Speaking about the deal on April 13, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that the taxpayers would not be "footing the bill" for the agreement and said the Government of Canada "fully expects to be paid back."
"This is a good and fair deal for Canada and Canadians," she added.
With today’s announcement, we’re: ✈️ supporting workers and the air services that Canadians need, 🔗 re-connecting c… https://t.co/xzRzfMJsY7— Omar Alghabra (@Omar Alghabra) 1618270692.0
How will Canadians benefit from the deal?
As part of the deal, the airline agreed to several stipulations, including refunding air passengers whose flights were cancelled from February 2020 onwards due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Air Canada said the liquidity agreement “enables us to better resolve customer refunds of non-refundable tickets.”
Previously the airline had offered travel vouchers with no expiration date.
Additionally, the company has committed to restoring flights on almost all of its suspended regional routes.
Air Canada has also promised to maintain its workforce at current levels, with no further job losses for its employees. The airline agreed to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect its workers' pensions, too.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the deal is “supporting workers in the air services that Canadians need, reconnecting communities, getting passengers their refunds and protecting travel agents.”