Air Canada airplanes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on March 20, 2020. Nav Canada’s CEO says the air traffic control company saw a “staggering” decline in flights over the past year due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in massive layoffs and revenue shortfalls. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Air Canada airplanes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on March 20, 2020. Nav Canada’s CEO says the air traffic control company saw a “staggering” decline in flights over the past year due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in massive layoffs and revenue shortfalls. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

CEO of air traffic controller Nav Canada cites ‘staggering’ drop in flights in 2020

Nav Canada also suffered a 59 per cent decrease in air traffic last quarter

Nav Canada saw profits and air traffic plummet in its first quarter as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter the air traffic control company.

The “staggering” decline in flights prompted massive layoffs as well as a 45 per cent year-over-year drop in revenue for the three months ended Nov. 30, said CEO Neil Wilson.

Net losses at the non-profit company, which runs the country’s civil air navigation service, were $138 million last quarter compared with $36 million a year earlier.

Nav Canada also suffered a 59 per cent decrease in air traffic last quarter, causing revenue to sink to $202 million from $364 million a year earlier.

The losses came despite a drastic rate hike as well as cost-saving measures and the federal wage subsidy that helped slash expenses by about 16 per cent from the same period in 2019, the company said.

“We also had to make the very difficult decision to reduce our workforce across all departments, all groups,” Wilson said at the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, acknowledging the “devastating impact” for staff.

The drop in global travel demand prompted the company to lay off about 900 employees — more than 17 per cent of its workforce — over the past 10 months, including 190 workers in December.

The company hiked its rates by 30 per cent in September, prompting at least one carrier to raise surcharges for passengers on domestic flights.

Wilson, who will step down as chief executive at the end of the month, said the rate hike allowed Nav Canada to seek debt financing and ensure liquidity after it unsuccessfully asked Ottawa for financial support last summer.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. appealed the hike to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which dismissed the case in a decision Tuesday, Nav Canada said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Damien Kurek on a Zoom call with Bashaw chamber members Jan. 13, 2021.
Brainstorming for businesses: Zoom meeting held to discuss supports

Chamber members were joined by business owners and elected officials for session

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages, shown in a handout photo, due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Food Inspection Agency Mandatory Credit
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Customers are advised to throw away or return the product

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

Most Read