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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a crippling effect on airports and the aviation industry, and as a result Edmonton Airports has been forced to reduce its workforce by up to 40 per cent. This is expected to impact up to 100 union and non-union positions at the airport. Edmonton Airports has officially served notice to its union and these workforce reductions are expected to begin after June 30, 2020.
Last year, EIA moved 8.15 million passengers; in 2020, it is forecast to move approximately 2.7 million passengers. Passenger traffic has reduced by approximately 95 per cent and the airport is not expected to return to 2019 passenger traffic levels until at least three years from now. Revenues have declined by approximately 90 per cent in the last two months. There is no choice but to reduce labour costs in line with the new passenger traffic reality. This will safeguard the future of its airport and its role as a not-for-profit economic catalyst in the region.
Edmonton Airports already undertook a series of aggressive cost cutting measures and examined all other alternatives before implementing workforce reductions; for example, offering voluntary unpaid leave and voluntary early retirement incentives for employees. Additionally, capital spending was cut by 75 per cent to cover only essential safety and regulatory projects and non-labour costs were reduced by 50 million dollars.
“This is a difficult and sad day for Edmonton Airports, and we regret having to take these steps. Our employees are the foundation of our organization and our contribution to our communities, and we feel this loss profoundly,” said Tom Ruth, president and CEO, Edmonton Airports. “Our critical operational and financial challenges demanded that we take this course of action to ensure we can continue to provide our region with key services including passenger, cargo and air ambulance flights.”
Edmonton Airports is focused on its mission to develop economic prosperity for the region, and said it is extremely difficult to share this update. It is only after exhausting every other possible action that these steps were taken to protect the airport’s ability to continue operating and enable a future recovery.
The company said it wants to acknowledge the contributions that Edmonton Airports employees have made to the organization and surrounding communities. While there will now be a smaller operating structure going forward, it will redouble its efforts to fulfill its mission of creating economic prosperity for the region during the eventual recovery phase from COVID-19.