Thursday, April 9, 2020

April 9 Update: Air Canada & WestJet to hire back laid off employees, even discontinued grandfathered Mastercards get new benefits & Air Canada's May flight schedule

Air Canada and WestJet will re-hire over 16,000 and 6,000 employees respectively thanks to the Government of Canada's Emergency Wage Subsidy. Here is a statement from WestJet's CEO Ed Sims:

“We are pleased to announce, after discussions with the federal government, that we will bring almost 6,400 employees back on the WestJet payroll, once the government has approved the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.” 

“This does not automatically mean that they will be coming back to work as there may not be work there for them. But it does help them make ends meet and I am grateful for the hard work by the Government of Canada and of all governments across Canada to provide businesses with the tools to continue operating in these challenging times. We will be communicating with those WestJetters who are affected by this decision as soon as we can.” 

and from Air Canada's CEO Calin Rovinescu:

"The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is an extremely important program to help employees and employers during this time of crisis, and as one of Canada's largest employers most affected by COVID-19, we want to acknowledge the leadership of the Government of Canada in introducing it," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer at Air Canada. 

"While our seat capacity and operations have decreased by more than 90 per cent overnight, we are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help. Depending on wage levels, many furloughed employees will get a somewhat higher amount under CEWS than they would otherwise receive from Employment Insurance payments plus they will maintain their health insurance and other benefits and stay more connected to our company during the Program Period. Once the crisis passes and passenger demand increases, we look forward to returning as many employees as possible to active status as we resume normal operations," concluded Mr. Rovinescu.

Great news for those of you who have the grandfathered version of what used to be Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card from years ago - the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard. Rewards Canada reader Leo T. asked if we knew if the card would also receive all the new World and World Elite Mastercard benefits we announced last week. He contacted Capital One who told him to contact Mastercard. Well he decided to just try it out on the Boingo site and Leo has confirmed that his card was eligible.

This should hopefully mean it also gets all the other new benefits that come with premium Canadian Mastercards. Read more about the new benefits here.
Top image via Mastercard

Air Canada has released their intended flight schedules for May and it sees international flights tripling from 30 per week to 90 as the airline slowly prepares for a hopeful early return to travel. Their page shows a significant increase in flights within Canada although it is still not even close to what it was before the pandemic. Flights to the U.S. are also being increased but are once again being limited to departures from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can find all their scheduled flights for May here. (List below is sourced from  RoutesOnline).

Here are Air Canada's planned international operations for May:
Montreal – Brussels 4 weekly A330-300 (service resumption)
Montreal – Fort-de-France 1 weekly A319 (service resumption)
Montreal – Frankfurt 1 daily 787-9
Montreal – London Heathrow 5 weekly A330-300
Montreal – Paris CDG 1 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)
Montreal – Pointe-a-Pitre 1 weekly A319 (service resumption)
Toronto – Bogota 3 weekly 787-8 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)
Toronto – Bridgetown 1 weekly A319 (resumes on 16MAY20)
Toronto – Cancun 2 weekly A320 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)
Toronto – Frankfurt 1 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)
Toronto – London Heathrow 2 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)/787-9
Toronto – Mexico City 1 daily A319
Toronto – Montego Bay 2 weekly A319 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)
Toronto – Punta Cana 2 weekly A320 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)
Toronto – Tokyo Haneda 4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)
Toronto – Zurich 4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)
Vancouver – Hong Kong 5 weekly 787-9
Vancouver – London Heathrow 5 weekly 787-8
Vancouver – Seoul Incheon
4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)
Vancouver – Tokyo Narita
5 weekly 787-9
Image via Air Canada


Throwback Thursday - Here's a throwback to 2012 when Rewards Canada was featured as the Travel Website of the Week on Of note that's when the WestJet RBC World Mastercard became a World Elite Mastercard. Read the old article here.

Remember to visit and bookmark our COVID-19 resource page where we are keeping you up to date with all the latest airline, hotel, lounges and loyalty program news, policies, closures and more.
Other resources on Rewards Canada to help you make the most of your points and miles right now:

Posts since our last update:


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