These are hard times. New Air Canada layoffs are going to be affecting more than half of their workforce and the pandemic is to blame. The national airline doesn't believe normal air travel will return anytime soon.

It has been reported that Air Canada will be laying off about 20,000 employees based on a memo that was sent to staff on May 15.

In a statement to Narcity, the airline confirmed that its workforce will be reduced by 50% to 60% because of the virus.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a 95% reduction in Air Canada's flight schedules which has led to complications like this.

"Based on every indicator we have, our normal traffic levels will not be returning anytime soon," the carrier said.

Since there has been that reduction in flights, it wasn't sustainable for Air Canada to keep operating like it would in normal times.

So, the decision was made to layoff employees.

"We are doing this in order to conserve cash, right-size our business for the level of traffic we anticipate in the mid- to longer-term and to position ourselves to rebuild once business returns," Air Canada said.

According to the CBC, these layoffs with take effect on June 7.

Air Canada told Narcity that its current workforce transports 51 million people a year, with 1,500 flights per day on its 258 planes.

However, with travel advisories in place because of the pandemic, those flights aren't happening.

The carrier's website states that it employs 36,000 people across the world.

If half of the workforce is let go, that means 18,000 jobs will be lost, and that number could rise to 21,600 if 60% of employees are laid off.

Back in April, Air Canada rehired about 16,500 flight attendants, mechanics and customer service agents that had previously been laid off.

That was because of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which has now been extended to the end of August.

The airline hasn't said anything about using the subsidy again.

At the beginning of May, Tim Strauss, the vice president of cargo at Air Canada, said that the airline could be flying again by the end of the year.

However, operations wouldn't be anywhere near 100% or even 70%.

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