The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson International Airport in Canada, is cutting its workforce by 27% due to the decline in passenger volume amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to GTAA, its passenger numbers were reduced by 97% in April compared to the same period of the last year. The current passenger number at Pearson Airport is currently at 1996 operating levels.

The announced redundancy will affect around 500 jobs. This includes the termination of around 200 unfilled positions together with voluntary departures and layoffs of around 300 employees.

This move follows various cost reduction measures implemented by GTAA in the wake of the pandemic such as a hiring freeze and the reduction of planned capital spending by $265m.

GTAA president and CEO Deborah Flint said: “Our leadership team and Board of Directors have worked concertedly each month to navigate these turbulent times and have put our people first. This reduction in force is a difficult but necessary step, and one that we take with great sadness.”

The airport noted that it is offering career transition and employee assistance programme support to the affected employees. It is also working with the Unifor union and Pearson Airport’s firefighter association to implement the changes.

As a part of the restructuring, Kim Stangeby, vice-president and chief strategy officer, who had also been GTAA’s interim vice-president for human resources, will leave the organisation.

Scott Collier, vice-president of customer and terminal services will also exit the group.