WestJet to lay off 1,700 pilots due to effects of coronavirus on airline travel

WestJet has announced it plans to lay off up to 1,700 pilots as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

The union representing the pilots with WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop says the first 700 layoffs will take effect May 1 with an additional 1,000 layoffs coming June 1.

The layoffs will be done in reverse seniority order, meaning those pilots who were hired most recently will be the first to be furloughed.

WestJet adds that almost three-quarters of its fleet has been grounded due to the dramatic reduction in flying due to COVID-19.