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

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
RCMP investigating suspicious trailer found abandoned in Cache Creek

Hazardous materials believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs were found

The trustees of the Spences Bridge Improvement District argue that one reason the EV charging station (l) should be moved is because it could compromise emergency response from the nearby fire hall. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Time is running out for Spences Bridge EV charging station

Lease for the site runs out at the end of January and no new agreement has been reached

Areas in blue show properties in Cache Creek zoned C1, which the village’s Cannabis Regulatory Framework proposes as properties where retail cannabis stores could be sited. The area outlined with a dotted orange line shows a 200 metre buffer zone around Cache Creek Elementary School, within which no retail cannabis establishments could operate. (Photo credit: Village of Cache Creek)
Cache Creek council gets more input on cannabis regulations

Council considers options to regulate retail cannabis sales and production within the village

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Most Read