Air Canada Recalls 2,600 Employees As Travel Demand Recovers

Air Canada (TSX:AC) is recalling more than 2,600 employees as it prepares for an increase in scheduled flights, while also extending the deadline for customers to apply for a COVID-19 refund.

Canada's largest airline said the employees being recalled will include flight attendants, and that they will be brought back in stages throughout June and July. Air Canada said it moved to recall the workers because it is seeing vaccinations increase, COVID-19 cases decline and governments ease restrictions.

Air Canada laid off tens of thousands of workers during the pandemic, including 16,500 in March of last year when the crisis began. In April of this year, the airline reached an agreement with Ottawa for a $5.9-billion aid package.

The carrier also said it has extended the deadline to submit a request for a refund for flights or vacation packages by 30 days until July 12. About 40% of eligible customers have requested a refund since the policy came into effect on April 13, with 92% of requests being processed.

Air Canada customers have the option of a transferrable travel voucher with no expiry date or converting the value of their ticket to Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus. Customers who obtained these refunds can also exchange them for a refund in the original form of payment.

Air Canada says its new refund policy for all purchased tickets will be a choice of a voucher or Aeroplan points if the airline cancels or reschedules a flight by more than three hours.