Government Support for the Air Transportation Industry: Virtual Meeting Request

May 7, 2020
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Federal Minister of Transport Sent by e-mail: @email
The Honourable Bill Morneau Sent by e-mail: @email
Federal Minister of Finance

Dear Ministers,

Your government has taken extraordinary steps to support people and businesses to weather the economic turmoil resulting from efforts to prevent the spread COVID-19. We applaud you for those steps and encourage you to keep moving forward to ensure no worker is left out and no person falls through the cracks when it comes to getting the support we all need during this difficult time.

People and business have also made extraordinary efforts to prevent the spread of this virus - the air transportation industry is no exception. In fact, it has been hit incredibly hard. International travel has been all but suspended and many airports have been closed; airlines took their responsibilities seriously and complied with government mandates quickly in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The National Airlines Council of Canada has reported a 90% drop in air traffic with any remaining flights virtually empty of passengers. Obviously, this leads to a substantial drop in revenue as well. As uncertainty around travel restrictions remain, it is difficult to predict when passengers will once again turn to air travel to support their work and leisure activities.

Travel restrictions remain indefinitely. Confidence that inter-jurisdictional travel is safe will rebound slowly even once restrictions have lifted. As a result, corporate rescue packages will become another important element in the overall economic response to COVID-19. We recognize the dire straights that many of our employers are in and support government intervention at this time. There will be cases where lack of government intervention will lead to company closure – we want to avoid this at all costs.

Experience shows that money alone will not ensure that workers keep their jobs and employment quality remains secure and stable. It is imperative that corporate rescue packages are implemented with strings attached to ensure the investments made sustain, and even create, high quality employment in Canada in the long-term.

We would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this further. The meeting will include key representatives of Unifor’s 16,000 members working in the air transportation sector including pilots, customer service representatives, air craft groomers, catering staff and air traffic controllers to name a few.

Please be in touch with my office to set a time for this virtual meeting at your earliest convenience. Government support for the air transportation industry is critical at this time to ensure our transportation sector remains strong, resilient and ready for takeoff when the time finally comes.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.