Air Canada Won’t Tell Staff How Many COVID-19 Cases Linked To Flights

Samantha Beattie
An Air Canada Rouge jet takes off at Montreal's Trudeau International Airport on March 20, 2020, as coronavirus infections rise in Canada and around the world.

TORONTO — Air Canada is the only major Canadian airline refusing to release numbers to the public or its flight attendants about how many employees and passengers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Like all airlines, cruise lines and rail service providers, Air Canada is required to post the domestic and international flights with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, but it’s choosing not to release the number of cases or the roles of the people impacted, according to staff and the union. 

With about 75 domestic and international flights with confirmed COVID-19 cases since March 13, Air Canada has been more affected than its main competitors WestJet and Air Transat, according to the Government of Canada website

It’s a huge, huge, huge concern for our membership based on age and numbers. We want full transparency.Wesley Lesosky, Air Canada union president

Both of those airlines have notified their employees and the public with details about their confirmed COVID-19 cases because “the coronavirus can be picked up by anyone at any point throughout the travel journey or in their daily lives,” said WestJest spokesperson Morgan Bell. 

“Therefore, we are providing information relevant to the appropriate individuals, which is our entire employee base.” 

WestJet estimated that seven employees across the organization have tested positive. 

Air Transat reported five flight attendants, five pilots and four passengers have tested positive, and about 200 staff members are in self-isolation as a result, said human resources vice-president Christophe Hennebelle in an email. 

Last week, an American Airlines flight attendant died of COVID-19. 

Watch: Will the airline industry survive the coronavirus pandemic? Story continues below.

 

Air Canada said in a statement it is compliant with all public health and Transport Canada regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19, making available N95 masks to flight crews, as well as gloves, antiseptic wipes and hand...

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