WestJet announcing Tuesday it has cut its workforce in half as 6,900 people received notices confirming early retirement, early outs and both voluntary and involuntary leaves.

President and CEO Ed Sims says it’s devastating news for all WestJetters and the fact the airline avoided a potentially worse outcome is a testament to the spirit and selfless attitude demonstrated by employees.

WestJet will continue to operate with a collective remaining workforce of 7,100.

Sims says two-thirds of the airline’s fleet has been grounded due to low demand and closure of international borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.