YVR airport will trim 30% of workforce with suppressed travel in 2020: union

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The union representing workers at the Vancouver Airport Authority says its workforce will be reduced by 25-30% in the coming weeks, following negotiations that will address voluntary buyouts and early retirement offers.

As a result of international flight restrictions and suppressed domestic demand, the airport is projecting to see up to a 55% reduction in passenger numbers, from 22 million in 2019 to a projected 10-15 million this year, said Barry Tchir, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees regional vice-president, Pacific.

The union represents about 550 workers, said Tchir. The reduction is to include management as well, he said.

“So far YVR (the employer) has been transparent with what’s going on and we hope that continues,” said Tchir of YVR CEO Craig Richmond, who actually announced his retirement earlier this year.

Vancouver Airport Authority is the organization that runs the airport and comprises just over 500 people, not the broader airport workforce of 26,000, noted a spokesperson.

YVR issued the following statement on Wednesday: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a dramatic impact on the global aviation industry.  At YVR, we now expect to operate as a smaller airport than previously forecasted, serving fewer passengers as we work through a multi-year rebuild. 

“We must make some difficult decisions to safeguard the future or our organization, including reducing the Airport Authority’s workforce to align with current and forecasted operational requirements. Vancouver Airport Authority is the community-based, not-for-profit organization that manages YVR and comprises more than 500 people in areas including airport operations, finance, engineering, human resources, administration and more.”