Updated report: 1,300 jobs to go:
Monday September 24 3:55 PM EST
Transat AT to cut 1,300 jobs, roll back pay at
airline and other operations
By DAVID PADDON
TORONTO (CP) - Transat AT is eliminating 1,300 jobs and freezing or cutting the
pay of its remaining employees in the face of a sharp fall in business at its charter
airline and other operations in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States.
Transat (TSE: TRZ), already struggling to recover credibility after one of its planes
ran out of fuel during a transatlantic flight in August, said Monday its objective is to
"temporarily reduce our activities on the Canadian market and remain prepared to
increase them when the situation returns to normal."
The 1,300 layoffs, representing nearly 25 per cent of Montreal-based Transat's
workforce, are the first confirmed major cuts in the Canadian airline industry since
Air Canada is also expected to cut thousands of jobs as it tries to reduce labour
costs by $500 million a year.
"This is not the first storm that Transat will weather," Jean-Marc Eustache, president and chief executive,
said in a release.
Eustache said the cuts are necessary to deal with decreased demand that has hit the entire travel industry
since the hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"Although it is too early to say that the impact will be lasting, it is very real for the time being and we have a
responsibility to act, even if it means taking the painful decision of laying off some of our employees."
Before the layoffs, Transat AT employed about 5,500 people in Canada and Europe.
The company, which operates a number of travel-related businesses, including the Air Transat charter airline,
said it will cut 800 jobs at the airline, where operations will be reduced by 30 per cent, and up to 500 jobs
at other operations.
Transat also plans to freeze the pay of non-union employees, while managers and executives are facing
salary cuts of five to 20 per cent for the financial year beginning Nov. 1.
In addition, the company said, "discussions will be held with union officials in the same spirit."
In the United States, airlines and aircraft makers have laid off more than 100,000 people and the U.S.
Congress has approved a $15-billion-US aid package for the industry.
On Monday, Air Canada's chief executive demanded the federal government provide levels of aid
proportional to what the American government is giving its airlines.
Robert Milton also said Air Canada will cut more jobs and routes to compensate for a 60 per cent drop in
revenue in the days following the terrorist attacks.
Canada 3000, the country's second-biggest carrier, is assessing its business before deciding on capacity or