Layoffs of Air Transat pilots - The union denounces the outsourcing of flying to foreign pilots

MONTRÉAL, Nov. 24, 2011 /CNW/ - The Air Transat pilots', represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), reacted to the announcement of the layoff of 17 pilots and denouned the airline's holding company (Transat A.T.)  subcontracting strategy which utilizes seasonal foreign workers.

Last Friday, Air Transat sent layoff notices to 17 of its pilots. Based in Toronto, and hailing from Québec, Ontario and Alberta, these pilots will be out of work starting December 19. Air Transat cited its recent financial results and a decrease in flight hours as justification for the layoffs. The Company has not yet ruled out the possibility of more layoffs. The holding company, Transat A.T., has an agreement with CanJet Airlines to operate a portion of Air Transat flights to southern destinations this winter. Canjet will use additional seasonal aircraft and hire foreign pilots to meet its staffing needs.

"These layoffs are a major blow, not only to Air Transat pilots, but to all Canadian pilots," said Captain Sylvain Aubin, chairman of Air Transat pilots' master executive council. "The fact that Transat A.T., through CanJet, is using foreign pilots when its own pilots are out of work is reprehensible. It's time to put an end to these practices.

Despite there being unemployed pilots in Canada, the federal government has authorized some airlines to hire foreign pilots under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Reports indicate that this winter alone, Canjet and Sunwing have hired over 35 and 180 foreign pilots respectively.

Capitan Dan Adamus, President of ALPA's Canada Board, added: "The hiring of even a single foreign pilot, when there are unemployed Canadian pilots, is unacceptable. The issue of hiring foreign pilots and its impacts on the labour force are subjects that need to be taken seriously by the federal government. Some airline managements have been abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by using it for  competitive advantages instead of filling a labor shortage as originally envisioned by the legislation."

ALPA Canada has been lobbying the government for changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and will be raising the issue again when it appears before the Senate Permanent Committee on Transport and Communication next Wednesday. The need to protect the jobs of Canadian pilots is a priority issue for ALPA.

Air Transat is known for its international experience and wide-body aircraft operations. The company markets its fleet in 26 countries, with approximately 90 destinations throughout the world. Air Transat employs 430 pilots based in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.

About ALPA
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilots' union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at: www.alpa.org.

SOURCE ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association Int'l)

For further information:

Information and interviews: Captain Sylvain Aubin, 514-332-4716

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ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association Int'l)

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