Air Transat shutting down flight attendant operations at YVR: union

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Air Transat will be closing its flight attendant base at Vancouver International Airport, causing significant job loss or relocation, according to the union representing flight attendants.

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the vast majority of flight attendants in Canada, said in a statement that it is appalled by the news of the closure of the Air Transat base at Vancouver International Airport.

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As a result, more than 200 flight attendant positions will be eliminated, a statement posted Thursday on the CUPE website said. The union said, however, that the flight attendants have been given the opportunity to be reassigned to bases in Montreal and Toronto.

Air Transat said the move comes as the company centralizes operations in Eastern Canada. The company told employees last week that it will be relocating its Vancouver flight crews to Montreal and Toronto by next July.

The company said, in an emailed statement, that an assistance program is in place “to support our teams in this transition process.”

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A maintenance team will remain in Vancouver to ensure the maintenance of Air Transat aircraft and the flight schedule to and from Vancouver will remain the same, the company said.

The union called the move a terrible decision.

“Despite our understanding of the economic imperatives that have forced Air Transat to make this terrible decision, our employer must keep in mind that the vast majority of our members at our Vancouver base have dedicated decades of loyal services to the company,” said Dominic Levasseur , president of CUPE’s Air Transat component, in the statement.

Levasseur said Air Transat must take responsibility for its employees who will be laid off or need to transfer thousands of kilometers away.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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