KPMG: Aviation’s Top Challenges Are Reintegrating Employees & Securing Gov't Aid

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Reintegrating furloughed employees and surviving through the pandemic without receiving any financial support from the government are two critical concerns facing Canada's air transport sector, said industry observers during a webinar organized by KPMG Canada. 

On 19MAR, just as the pandemic was really beginning to hit, air transportation in Canada was deemed an essential service by the federal government, meaning the sector didn't come under the same lockdown requirements as other parts of the economy. 

As a result, many air transport workers remained on the job even as their employers were left mainly to their own devices to find creative ways to safeguard their employees against COVID-19 and incurring staggering costs for ongoing storage and maintenance of grounded fleets, SkiesMag reports.

Despite this, the sector has not received any financial support from the federal government, and is struggling for survival.

“Unlike other countries… which have offered direct financial support to the aviation sector, we have seen little-to-no direct government support,” Grant McDonald, Ottawa-based global head of aerospace and defence at KPMG in Canada, told SkiesMag. “To recover more quickly and ensure long-term viability, the industry requires a government-supported strategy which may include various forms of investment, including subsidies, loans and loan guarantees, including support for small suppliers to help them through the pandemic.”

Airlines and airports around the world have been forced to furlough employees as a means to slash costs. One of the initial challenges facing aviation will be the health and safety of employees during the reintegration phase as the industry relies on governments to continue providing guidance on best practices, said Phil Hofton, director of the people and change practice at KPMG Montreal, during the webinar.

“This is everyone’s issue, so it’s a concerted effort between our HR departments, the employees themselves, labour groups, management within all our organizations," he said. 

Mark Olivier, director of talent and employee engagement at Air Canada, called it a "brain drain" and said it is “important to stay connected to those people that we hope will eventually come back to the workforce. We want to rebuild that confidence.”

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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