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Canadian carrier WestJet and the Airline Pilot Association (ALPA) have entered an agreement to secure the jobs of more than 1,000 pilots amid the Covid-19 crisis.

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The agreement will benefit pilots serving across WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop.

The announcement follows confirmation by the airline earlier this month to layoff 1,700 pilots across the three businesses. The layoffs were supposed to be effective either from 1 May or 1 June this year.

The WestJet Group of Companies can retain pilots across the three groups by amending the terms to the current agreements.

WestJet executive vice-president and chief operating officer Jeff Martin said: “I am pleased that ALPA and WestJet through robust negotiations and collaboration have come together to minimise the impact of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic on our pilot groups.

“We thank ALPA for the joint effort in working with us to assist our airline in remaining flexible and competitive. Our pilots will be a critical element of our recovery and retaining these important roles leaves us better positioned to recover strongly and return WestJet to a global airline.”

WestJet will use the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to keep the inactive employee on the payroll.

Meanwhile, ALPA will communicate specific details to WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop Pilots. The carrier did not disclose further information on the development.

ALPA MEC chair representing WestJet and Swoop captain Dave Colquhoun said: “The agreement we have reached is due to the dedication of the WestJet executive and the WestJet pilots in a time where everyone is making sacrifices to protect our airline.”