Controllers Protest Pending Cuts


The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA) is hitting back at signals from Nav Canada that more layoffs and closures are on the horizon at air traffic management facilities across the country. The organization, which represents the 1,900 controllers at NavCanada, issued a news release in response to reports that the corporation isn’t finished making cuts in response to the industry’s pandemic crisis. “CATCA…is vehemently opposed to these initiatives as they are contrary to the mission statement and purpose of NAV Canada…,” the union said in a statement. It calls the cuts “reckless and unacceptable.”

Commercial air traffic has dropped as much as 95 percent through the pandemic and since it only gets paid when planes fly, the not-for-profit corporation has seen a parallel drop in revenues. In September, the corporation closed flight information centres in Halifax and Winnipeg and laid off 720 employees. It also let go 159 student controllers. Last week it told the union to expect staffing level adjustments at seven air traffic control towers. The union claims air traffic control units were “chronically understaffed” before the cuts. “To further reduce these staffing levels will debilitate the air navigation system’s ability to sustain its previous capacity and safety and will impede Canada’s airlines’ ability to recover….”