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Available Expert - Queen’s University expert comments on Pearson Airport layoffs

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Queen’s University expert Ken Wong is available to comment on the Greater Toronto Airports Authority eliminating 500 jobs because of the dramatic reduction in demand for air travel due to COVID-19. 

The GTAA which operates Pearson International Airport, says it will not fill 200 current open positions and get rid of an additional 300 positions through voluntary departures and layoffs. 

“This sets up a situation which many businesses will need to confront in the (hopefully) near term, what happens when a business shifts from survival mode to revival mode,” Professor Wong asks. “While the current cutbacks are easily understood given the state of demand they face and the uncertainty of how the pandemic will unfold, eventually conditions will show improvement. At that time these organizations will need to return to so-called normal operations. However, before they do, they will need to undertake rehiring, retraining and re-orientation of new staff. 
Historically, during recessions, rehiring staff is the last thing done. Employers are waiting for more certainty since the cost of onboarding can only be justified if the employment is for a long duration. If Pearson Airport waits too long to begin rehiring the result will be a very uneven consumer experience which may signal to travelers that the time is not yet right for a return or it can so turn off consumers that they start to seek alternative airports or even modes of transport. 

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Julie Brown (julie.brown@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.   

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