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Chorus Aviation Inc. is suspending its dividend, temporarily laying off staff and cutting executive salaries as it deals with the fallout from COVID-19.

The company, which operates regional aircraft for Air Canada, said its main customer and partner has slashed its network-wide capacity in the second quarter.

Air Canada Express flying has been reduced by approximately 90 per cent for April and May, resulting in significant temporary employee reductions, Chorus said.

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About 3,000 workers have been placed on temporary layoff or off-duty status, the company said in an e-mail.

“While the majority of employees impacted are in operations – pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents and line and heavy maintenance – reductions will occur throughout the organization and include management and administrative employees,” spokeswoman Manon Stuart said.

The company will also suspend its dividend after its regular monthly payment to shareholders of four cents a share on April 17 in an effort to preserve cash and help strengthen its balance sheet.

In addition, chief executive Joe Randell will forgo 70 per cent of his salary and members of the executive team will forgo up to 50 per cent of their salary, the company said.

The board of directors has also taken a 25-per-cent cut in fees.

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