Tuesday,  January 19, 2021  3:07 am

“What is the hold up?” Trudeau pushed on airline bailout status

“What is the hold up?” Trudeau pushed on airline bailout status
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn't have much to say about the status of the bailout package his government is reportedly preparing for the airlines.

While Trudeau addressed media on Friday (Jan. 8), journalist Glen McGregor of CTV News pointed out how Trudeau had been “standing in this spot since the spring, saying that you’re negotiating with the airlines to try and help them.”

“Here we are in January, still with no industry-specific package to help the airline industry,” McGregor said. “When is it coming and what is the hold up?”

In response, Trudeau noted the government's nearly $1.5 billion investment in supporting Canada’s airline companies to support workers with the wage subsidy and other measures.

“…because we know that airline industry is extremely hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister reiterated that “people shouldn’t be travelling,” a warning that he recognized as a “direct challenge for the airline industries to manage through.”

As for news of a potential bailout package for the airlines, Trudeau said his government expects “people to be reimbursed, [and that] regional routes to be protected." 

"We expect certain things from airline industry, and those discussions about how we’re going to make sure people are protected as we offer supports are continuing," he said.

The Prime Minister did not comment on the announcement that WestJet will be slashing its network and workforce as it faces volatile demand and instability in the face of Canada’s new pre-departure testing rule for travellers, which kicked in Jan. 7.

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