Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union, which represents more than 16,000 airline workers, urged Ottawa to move quickly.
“This isn’t rocket science... you can’t have a strong recovery without strong airlines,” he told Reuters.
The prospect of an aid package comes eight months after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated air travel. Air Canada and WestJet, Canada's two main carriers, and transport unions have been pleading for help for months as passenger demand plummeted.
Both Air Canada and WestJet have been forced to cut regional routes, owing to weak demand. According to a Reuters source, the government's focus now is on “making sure the sector and those regional routes are protected and the airports remain operational."
Several countries, including the United States and Australia, have offered billions in direct emergency support to their airlines. Canada has only put forth non-sectoral support programs for all industries. Critics have argued these programs were not designed in the context of an industry that remains effectively grounded, with no indication of when it can methodically re-open.
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.