WestJet plans to put nearly 6,400 employees who were laid off due to the novel coronavirus pandemic back on the payroll, the airline’s president and CEO announced Wednesday.

In a video message posted to social media, Ed Sims credited the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy program, which he said WestJet will apply for after the airline had “substantial” conversations with Ottawa.

Sims said the move would not necessarily mean those employees will be going back to work, “as there may simply not be enough work there for them.”

“It will help them make ends meet, and I’m grateful for the hard work of the government of Canada and of all governments across Canada to provide businesses like ours with the tools to continue operating through these most challenging of times,” he said.

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Our President and CEO, Ed Sims, reiterates our commitment to WestJetters and Canadians.

The aviation industry will play a primary role in kickstarting the strong recovery of the Canadian economy. The people of WestJet are proud and prepared to play our part. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/g9B7d5ptgO

— WestJet (@WestJet) April 9,