A year after receiving 20 million from Quebec and Ottawa to maintain its presence in Montreal, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is reducing its physical footprint downtown, referring to teleworking. On a more positive note, the membership of the airline lobby is growing in the metropolis.

Once the work is completed, in March 2024 according to our information, the headquarters of the organization will occupy five floors in the Stock Exchange tower, one less than currently. This facelift, during which the workspaces will be reorganized, among other things, in addition to changing the office furniture, should cost more than 4 million.

“This is an investment for the future,” IATA spokesperson Markus Ruediger said in a phone interview. “But with the possibility of telecommuting [two days a week], we can consolidate the same number of employees on five floors rather than six. »

He did not want to say if the subsidies would be used to pay for the work.

IATA is not alone in wanting to take up less space. The proof: in the first quarter, Montreal had a vacancy rate of 16.5% in the office segment during the months of January, February and March, according to the real estate services company CBRE. This is a record, she said.

The announcement was the subject of a press conference that brought together the two levels of government, Montreal International as well as the organization’s general manager, Willie Walsh.

The previous year, IATA had signaled its intention to shift more work to its office in Geneva, Switzerland, where nearly all of the 11 senior executives, including Mr. Walsh, spend most of their time. .

The financial assistance from Ottawa and Quebec – which will be paid gradually until the beginning of the next decade – came with a condition, namely the maintenance of 250 positions, particularly in the fields of law, finance and information technology, for at least four years. On this aspect, IATA has kept its promise.

According to its website, IATA is currently looking for 11 people in the metropolis. These are essentially positions that relate to legal services and data analysis.

With the anticipated recovery in the airline industry after the tremors of the pandemic, it is reasonable to believe that the number of airline lobby employees should continue to grow in the metropolis, even if the opposite is expected for the size of its offices – which are located a stone’s throw from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

On the side of the economic promotion agency of the metropolis, we prefer to keep our eyes on the size of the workforce of IATA rather than on the surface area of ​​its offices.

“Montreal International had been informed by the Association of its intention to redevelop its offices without affecting the number of employees or any other criteria established in the agreement signed in June 2022,” said its President and CEO, Stéphane Paquet. , in a statement.

The Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie agreed, adding that the “new realities of the world of work” also concern international organizations. As of this writing, Ottawa has not responded to emailed questions from La Presse.

IATA’s 79th Annual Meeting will take place June 4-6 in Istanbul, Turkey.