Air Canada to axe 345 flight attendants

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Air Canada, the world’s eleventh largest airline, is laying off 345 more flight attendants to cut its operating losses.

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According to reports here, the retrenchment will come into force in March, making one less flight attendant available on flights to and from Europe. Canada’s national carrier has a total staff of about 24,000 worldwide.

This will be the second cut in staff strength by the airline after the rising oil prices early last year forced it to cut operating costs. About 2,000 jobs were axed in June last year when the rising oil prices inflated the airline’s fuel bill by about $1 billion.

The airline had also scaled back its flights on long-haul routes as well as autumn and winter services in North America.

Surcharge was also imposed on the second baggage.

Voted the best airline of North America in the 2007 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Canada has been struggling to out its financial house in order for some time after the shocks of oil price hikes last year.

Because of fuel costs before the oil prices plummeted, the airline had posted a loss of $132 million for the third quarter of 2008.

After the quarterly loss, Airlines’ president and CEO Montie Brewer had announced to cut costs to meet the goal of his stated improvement target of $100 million by end of 2008.