Bearskin Airlines of Thunder Bay has laid off 26 of its 430 employees as a result of a downturn in the economy. The company is blaming the Sept. 11 tragedy, the federal government’s $24-security tax on return domestic flights, and the eight-week Ontario government employees strike for the layoffs. Bearskin has also cutback flight frequency and the hours of work by part-time staff. Most of the laid-off employees work in the company’s maintenance department in Thunder Bay. Sales and administrative staff were also laid off. The company says the layoffs are temporary until passenger traffic increases.