Canadian carrier WestJet is set to cut around 3,333 employees across the country amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The move is part of the company’s costs reduction strategy as the outbreak severely affects air travel.

Of the 3,333 employees, 430 are reportedly from call centre positions: 72 in Calgary, 73 in Vancouver, 35 in Halifax, and 250 in Moncton while 2,300 will be from airport operations staff, including customer service agents and baggage handlers.

Additionally, 600 employees from WestJet’s head office and its low-cost subsidiary Swoop will be affected by the layoff.

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said: “Throughout the course of the biggest crisis in the history of aviation, WestJet has made many difficult, but essential, decisions to future-proof our business.

“Today’s announcement regarding these strategic but unavoidable changes will allow us to provide security to our remaining 10,000 WestJetters, and to carry on the work of transforming our business. WestJet will once again serve the needs of Canadian travellers with low fares and award-winning service levels tomorrow and years from now.”

As part of the restructuring strategy, the carrier will combine call centre activity in Alberta and outsource operations in all domestic airports except Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.

Earlier this month, German carrier Lufthansa reportedly warned that as many as 26,000 jobs may be cut during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier last month, WestJet and the Airline Pilot Association (ALPA) entered an agreement to secure the jobs of more than 1,000 pilots serving across WestJet, WestJet Encore and Swoop that are affected by the pandemic.