AirCanada executives will return their bonuses after public backlash.
In response to “public disappointment,” AirCanada executives will return their 2020 bonuses. In addition, Calin Rovinescu, who retired in February 2021 as president and CEO, will gift to the Air Canada Foundation. Nonetheless, the decision only applies to senior executives without middle management, which makes up $8 million out of $10 million in bonuses. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had called the bonuses for senior executives “inappropriate.”
Air Canada was one of the airlines that struggled most during the pandemic. Apparently, bonuses also targeted people that were “instrumental” to the airline’s survival the past year. In a statement, the airline said: “Air Canada’s leadership team is focusing completely on Air Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The company also remarked that they “look forward” to continue working with important stakeholders such as the federal government. Air Canada, moreover, reiterated its commitment to the “safe re-start” of the flight industry. Nevertheless, the bonuses were contentious, especially because of the federal government-backed AirCanada during the past year.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra highlighted how Canadians should indeed expect responsible corporate behavior from companies. This is especially true for AirCanada, which received financial support from taxpayers money to survive the industry’s collapse during the pandemic.
In a statement, they said that this situation “could have been entirely avoided” by AirCanada. Still, this is a step in the right direction. The AirCanada executives will not only repay their bonuses but also share appreciation units they received. Hopefully, this is a reminder to companies’ management not to prey on difficult times for corporate greed.