Canadian airline WestJet is laying off 3,333 workers in the immediate future. It is an eye-catching number but there is nothing eye-catching about losing your job. As for WestJet, they prefer to speak of it in anodyne corporate-speak, calling the layoffs “organizational changes.
“Today’s announcement regarding these strategic but unavoidable changes will allow us to provide security to our remaining 10,000 WestJetters, and to carry on the work of transforming our business,” said WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims in a video message yesterday.
3,333 employees to go in “organizational changes” at WestJet
In a media statement, WestJet acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 on the business. Capacity is down by 90% on year on year basis. Earlier this year, the airline was flying high, with approximately 14,000 employees.
Now, WestJet has just 4,500 employees on its books. A further 5,500 are furloughed with most likely to come back. But there remains a surplus pool of employees.
“WestJet has remained self-sufficient throughout this extended crisis, cutting our costs by more than 60 percent,” said Mr Sims.
“The damage we’ve incurred from a weakened demand environment is being compounded by multiple factors. The reality in which we find ourselves requires difficult and often painful decisions to ensure our continued viability in the future.”