Unifor represents roughly 12,900 members in the air transportation sector. About half work for airlines (like Air Canada, Jazz, Porter, Sunwing and other regional carriers) as customer service agents and pilots. The other half are employed in support services to the airline industry, including nearly 3000 Unifor members who run Canada's air navigation system (NavCanada). Other support services, including airport maintenance, baggage handling, and airline catering round out Unifor’s membership in this sector.

Air transportation recovery must focus on social sustainability and good jobs

It’s been more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic took hold and air transportation was severely restricted.

Statistics Canada released the latest economic statistics on air travel this week. Unsurprisingly the numbers paint a troubling picture.

Large Canadian airlines carried less than 800,000 people in January. That’s nearly 90% less than the number of passengers the same airlines carried in January 2020.Operating revenues are down 85% compared to January 2020. GDP created by the industry fell even further, to just 11% of pre-COVID levels.

Canada needs its airlines

Canada is a big country. That is why, as a nation we are so heavily reliant on our airline industry with routes reaching every corner of the country. That is why there is so much at stake right now.

Think about it. Families today are spread across vast distances. Atlantic Canadians finding work in the oil patch. Western kids moving east for jobs in Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa. Older Canadians living out their dreams of retirement somewhere quieter.