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Pandemic prompts Vancouver Airport Authority to lay off workers

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Airport Authority says it has issued layoff notices to 25 per cent of its nearly 550-person workforce, including both management and union employees.

About 26 million passengers go through the Vancouver International Airport each year, but the authority says that figure is expected to drop dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It predicts it will see between eight and 15 million passengers per year for the next three years.

The authority began offering voluntary departure packages to all employees on April 29, a process that's now concluded.

The airport authority says it has undertaken numerous cost-cutting initiatives and is aware of new measures announced by the federal government on Monday aimed at helping large employers through the pandemic. 

It says the size of the workforce is no longer sustainable given the lower passenger forecasts.  

"We are confident the steps being taken today will ensure we have the appropriate team in place to operate (the airport) now and into the future as we continue to serve our local community, industry and British Columbians," the authority says in a statement. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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