CALGARY -- With air travel down more than 95 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet will lay off another 3,000 employees in May, company president and CEO Ed Sims said Wednesday.

"The reality of this crisis continues to require WestJet to make mission-critical decisions to ensure the sustainability of our airline," he said.

"With less than five per cent of our pre-COVID-19 guest loads, work is simply not currently available. These decisions, while difficult, are being thoughtfully and methodically made so that we can weather this crisis and be ready for a future where we can provide inactive WestJetters with fulfilling employment once again."

Sims added the company will use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to keep as many people as possible on the payroll "to ensure they remain connected to the company."

"We continue to work with our employee and labour groups on ways to maintain employment through the crisis," said Sims.

The company announced earlier this week about 4,000 flights per week are being removed from its domestic schedule from May 5 to June 4 in response to the collapse in travel demand.

"While some city pairings have been temporarily removed, we continue to serve the 38 Canadian airports to which we currently operate, ensuring that those with essential travel requirements can get where they need to be and that cargo goods like blood, medical products and food supplies can continue to flow," the company said in a statement.

"The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions."

All trans-border and overseas flights have already been suspended until June 4.

Last week,the company also told the pilot association that it intends to issue layoff notices to 1,700 pilots

The following city pairs have been temporarily removed from May 5 to June 4, 2020:

  • Vancouver-Nanaimo
  • Vancouver-Comox
  • Vancouver-Regina
  • Vancouver-Saskatoon
  • Vancouver-Winnipeg
  • Vancouver-Fort St. John
  • Vancouver-Cranbrook
  • Vancouver--Ottawa
  • Vancouver-Montreal
  • Kelowna-Victoria
  • Calgary-Prince George
  • Calgary-Ottawa
  • Calgary-Montreal
  • Calgary-London
  • Calgary-Halifax
  • Edmonton-Comox
  • Edmonton-Victoria
  • Edmonton-Kelowna
  • Edmonton-Grande Prairie
  • Edmonton-Yellowknife
  • Edmonton-Saskatoon
  • Edmonton-Regina
  • Edmonton-Winnipeg
  • Edmonton-Ottawa
  • Edmonton-Halifax
  • Winnipeg-Ottawa
  • Winnipeg-Regina
  • Winnipeg-Halifax
  • Toronto-Victoria
  • Toronto-Edmonton
  • Toronto-Regina
  • Toronto-Saskatoon