Month: February 2019

Air Canada Renews Strategic Partnership with American Express for its Participation in Air Canada’s New Loyalty Program

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • New premium American Express card products to launch with Air Canada’s new loyalty program in 2020
  • 10-year deal will provide continuity for joint customers
  • The companies will expand and deepen their partnership in the consumer, small business and corporate space

MONTREAL, Feb. 28, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada and American Express today announced that they have concluded agreements for a renewed and expanded partnership that will enable the financial services company to participate in Air Canada’s new loyalty program launching in 2020. The 10-year agreements cover the creation of new co-branded payment cards, participation in the American Express Membership Rewards program, and expanded commercial cooperation between the two companies.

“We’re excited to renew Air Canada’s long-standing relationship with American Express and reaffirm our position as its exclusive Canadian co-brand airline partner,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO, Air Canada. “Amex is a global leader in premium payments, and this agreement will support the creation of new, world-class products for Air Canada’s industry-leading loyalty program launching in 2020.”

The two companies will work more closely in strategic areas such as premium customer experience, digital integration, member analytics, and incremental partnership opportunities. The terms of the deal provide Air Canada with significant revenue benefits and cost improvements, including a one-time payment upon signing, and the partnership will allow American Express to continue to expand its leadership in the premium card landscape.

“We are delighted to be expanding the nature of our partnership with Air Canada and look forward to issuing a suite of new consumer and business Cards in 2020 that harness the expertise of both our brands to deliver uncompromised value,” said Rob McClean, President & CEO of Amex Bank of Canada, and President and General Manager, Amex Canada Inc.

Membership Rewards customers in Canada and the US will be able to transfer their points into Air Canada’s new loyalty program once it has rolled out. American Express Aeroplan cardmembers will become members of Air Canada’s new loyalty program in 2020, and all their miles will be transitioned at a 1:1 rate. In the interim, members may continue to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles, and enjoy cardmember benefits as usual.

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements relate to analyses and other information that are based on forecasts of future events or results. These statements may involve, but are not limited to, comments relating to preliminary results, guidance, strategies, expectations, planned operations or future actions. Forward-looking statements are identified using terms and phrases such as “preliminary”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “may”, “plan”, “predict”, “project”, “will”, “would”, and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions, including any described in this news release and are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, among other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business. Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including the factors identified in Air Canada’s public disclosure file available at www.sedar.com and those identified in section 18 “Risk Factors” of Air Canada’s 2018 MD&A. The forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this news release represent Air Canada’s expectations as of the date of this news release (or as of the date they are otherwise stated to be made) and are subject to change after such date. However, Air Canada disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.

Air Canada Increases Key Financial Targets for 2019-2021

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Annual EBITDA margin of 19 to 22 percent
  • Annual ROIC of 16 to 20 percent
  • Cumulative free cash flow of $4.0 billion to $4.5 billion
  • Leverage ratio of no more than 1.2 by the end of 2019

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 28, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada is updating its key financial targets in conjunction with its 2019 Investor Day to be held today in Toronto from 09:00 to 12:30 ET.

From 2019 until 2021, Air Canada is targeting an annual EBITDA(1) margin (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment, as a percentage of operating revenue) of 19-to-22 percent and an annual return on invested capital (ROIC)(1) of 16-to-20 percent.  Air Canada is also projecting cumulative free cash flow(1) of $4.0-to-$4.5 billion over the same period, including projected free cash flow of between $400 million and $600 million in 2019, and a leverage ratio(1) of no more than 1.2 (measured by net debt over EBITDA) by the end of 2019. 

“Since Air Canada held its first Investor Day in 2013, we have repeatedly met or exceeded virtually all of our key financial targets, demonstrating management’s ability to consistently deliver on our commitments and successfully execute on our business plans. Moreover, we keep setting ambitious targets for Air Canada to drive continuous improvement and further increase shareholder value. Our share price has appreciated over 1,300 percent over the last five years and over 4,000 percent since April 1, 2009 when we embarked on our transformation strategy to position Air Canada for long-term, sustainable profitability.  In addition, we are now on course for our objective of achieving an investment grade credit rating,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. 

At Air Canada’s 2019 Investor Day, Mr. Rovinescu will provide an update on the airline’s strategy and Michael Rousseau, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, will discuss the updated financial targets.  In addition, select members of the Air Canada executive team will detail recent and upcoming initiatives, as follows:

  • Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice President, People, Culture and Communications, will discuss Air Canada’s competitive culture.
  • Craig Landry, Executive Vice President, Operations, will detail the airline’s operational priorities and cost transformation initiatives identified in the operations.
  • Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, will explore Air Canada’s revenue-generating initiatives and how the airline will continue to win in the marketplace.
  • Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning, will discuss the evolution of the network and fleet and outline the growth opportunities ahead.
  • Catherine Dyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, will provide insight into the benefits of the new reservation platform and other technology investments.
  • Mark Nasr, Vice President, Loyalty and eCommerce, will discuss Air Canada’s loyalty and digital strategy and related analytics opportunities.

All financial target information provided is based on the accounting standards applicable to Air Canada as at January 1, 2019, including the impact of IFRS 16 Leases.  In addition, the financial targets include the impact of Aeroplan since its acquisition date of January 10, 2019.  The cumulative free cash flow target excludes the net proceeds on the closing of the Aeroplan transaction.

The outlook provided in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws, is based on a number of assumptions, including those discussed below, and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Please see the section below entitled “Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information”.

Attendance at Air Canada’s 2019 Investor Day is by invitation only.  A link to the live audio webcast of the event and accompanying presentation slides will be available on Air Canada’s website at aircanada.com prior to the event.

Major Assumptions

Assumptions were made by Air Canada in preparing and making forward-looking statements. 

As part of its assumptions, during the 2019-to-2021 period, Air Canada assumes relatively modest Canadian GDP growth.  Air Canada also assumes that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.32 per U.S. dollar in 2019, C$1.29per U.S. dollar in 2020 and C$1.28 per U.S. dollar in 2021 and that the price of jet fuel will average 82 CAD cents per litre in 2019, 84 CAD cents per litre in 2020 and 85 CAD cents per litre in 2021.

The following table summarizes Air Canada’s major annual assumptions: 

Major Annual Assumptions201920202021
GDP CanadaRelatively Modest Growth
Canadian dollar per U.S. dollar1.321.291.28
Jet fuel price – CAD cents per litre828485

(1) Non-GAAP Measures

Below is a description of certain non-GAAP measures used by Air Canada in an effort to provide readers with additional information on its financial and operating performance. Such measures are not recognized measures for financial statement presentation under GAAP, do not have standardized meanings, may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other entities and should not be considered a substitute for or superior to GAAP results.  Readers are advised to refer to Air Canada’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis reports for the relevant periods for reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to comparable Canadian GAAP measures.

  • Adjusted pre-tax income (loss) is used by Air Canada to assess the overall pre-tax financial performance of its business without the effects of foreign exchange gains or losses, net financing income (expense) relating to employee benefits, gains or losses on financial instruments recorded at fair value, gains or losses on sale and leaseback of assets, gains or losses on debt settlements and modifications, gains or losses on disposal of assets, Aeroplan intangible asset amortization, and special items as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful. Air Canada uses adjusted pre-tax income (loss) before interest expense to determine return on invested capital.
  • Adjusted net income (loss) is used by Air Canada to assess the performance of its business without the after-tax effects of foreign exchange, net financing income (expense) relating to employee benefits, gains or losses on financial instruments recorded at fair value, gain or losses on sale and leaseback of assets, gains or losses on debt settlements and modifications, gains or losses on disposal of assets, Aeroplan intangible asset amortization, and special items as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment) is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as a means to view operating results before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment as these costs can vary significantly among airlines due to differences in the way airlines finance their aircraft and other assets. EBITDA excludes special items as such items would distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • Adjusted CASM is used by Air Canada to assess the operating and cost performance of its ongoing airline business without the effects of aircraft fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations, the operating costs of Aeroplan, and special items as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful. Aircraft fuel expense is excluded from operating expense results as it fluctuates widely depending on many factors, including international market conditions, geopolitical events, jet fuel refining costs and Canada/U.S. currency exchange rates. Air Canada also incurs expenses related to ground packages at Air Canada Vacations which some airlines, without comparable tour operator businesses, may not incur. In addition, these costs do not generate ASMs and therefore excluding these costs from operating expense results provides for a more meaningful comparison across periods when such costs may vary. Air Canadabegan consolidating Aeroplan’s results on the January 10, 2019 acquisition date. Given that the Aeroplan loyalty business was not consolidated in Air Canada’s financial results in 2018, for comparative purposes, Air Canada’s adjusted CASM guidance for 2019 excludes any impact of Aeroplan.
  • Leverage ratio refers to the ratio of net debt to trailing 12-month EBITDA and is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as a means to measure financial leverage. Leverage ratio is calculated by dividing net debt by trailing 12-month EBITDA (excluding special items). As mentioned above, Air Canada excludes special items from EBITDA results (which are used to determine leverage ratio) as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • Free cash flow is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as an indicator of the financial strength and performance of its business, indicating the amount of cash Air Canada is able to generate from operations and after capital expenditures. Free cash flow is calculated as net cash flows from operating activities minus additions to property, equipment and intangible assets, and is net of proceeds from sale-leaseback transactions.
  • Air Canada uses return on invested capital (“ROIC”) as a means to assess the efficiency with which it allocates its capital to generate returns, ROIC is calculated by dividing adjusted pre-tax income before interest by invested capital. ROIC is based on adjusted pre-tax income (loss), excluding interest expense. Invested capital includes average year-over-year long-term debt, average year-over-year lease obligations and average year-over-year shareholders’ equity, net of excess cash not required to run its core business operations. Air Canada calculates invested capital based on a book value-based method of calculating ROIC, as described above. Refer to the definition of adjusted pre-tax income (loss) for a discussion as to why Air Canada uses adjusted pre-tax income (loss) to assess the overall pre-tax financial performance of its business.

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION 

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements relate to analyses and other information that are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable.  These statements may involve, but are not limited to, comments relating to preliminary results, guidance, strategies, expectations, planned operations or future actions.  Forward-looking statements are identified using terms and phrases such as “preliminary”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “may”, “plan”, “predict”, “project”, “will”, “would”, and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions.

Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions, including those described herein and are subject to important risks and uncertainties.  Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business.  Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including without limitation, our ability to successfully achieve or sustain positive net profitability or to realize our initiatives and objectives, industry, market, credit, economic and geopolitical conditions, energy prices, currency exchange, competition, our dependence on technology, cybersecurity risks, our ability to successfully implement appropriate strategic initiatives or reduce operating costs, our ability to successfully integrate and operate the Aeroplan loyalty business following its acquisition from Aimia Inc. and to successfully launch our new loyalty program, our ability to preserve and grow our brand, airport user and related fees, high levels of fixed costs, our dependence on key suppliers including regional carriers, employee and labour relations and costs, our dependence on Star Alliance and joint ventures, interruptions of service, environmental factors (including weather systems and other natural phenomena and factors arising from man-made sources), our ability to pay our indebtedness and maintain liquidity, pension issues, limitations due to restrictive covenants, pending and future litigation and actions by third parties, our ability to attract and retain required personnel, war, terrorist acts, casualty losses, changes in laws, regulatory developments or proceedings, epidemic diseases, insurance issues and costs, as well as the factors identified in Air Canada’s public disclosure file available at www.sedar.com and, in particular, those identified in section 18 “Risk Factors” of Air Canada’s 2018 MD&A dated February 15, 2019.  The forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this news release represent Air Canada’s expectations as of the date of this news release (or as of the date they are otherwise stated to be made) and are subject to change after such date. However, Air Canada disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.

SOURCE Air Canada

Information and Administration and Permits Office agents’ positions at Montréal-Trudeau

Provided by Aéroports de Montréal /CNW

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – The process initiated by Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) in connection with Information and Administration and Permits Office agents’ positions continued in recent weeks in accordance with the collective agreement. Despite numerous discussions and meetings, the involvement of federal labour relations mediators, the downward adjustment by ADM of its cost reduction objectives, and the extension of the agreed deadlines, the parties did not come to an agreement. ADM, therefore, has decided not to maintain these jobs internally and notified the union and employees of such this afternoon.

Without minimizing the efforts of the union, the proposals presented did not meet the desired cost reduction targets, even though achieving these targets would have kept salaries within the higher range of comparable jobs in the market. The cost reductions proposed by the union were also only valid for the current year.

Employees affected by this decision will be supported through an outplacement service in addition to receiving their regular salary for a period of 16 weeks and severance pay in accordance with their collective agreement. Through these various measures, ADM wants to enable employees to quickly reposition themselves in the job market.

A model similar to other major Canadian airports

Beginning on February 27, external suppliers will deliver these services. The Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary airports already use a combination of external and voluntary suppliers to perform these functions. This way of doing things offers them greater flexibility in terms of scheduling in an airport context that has changed significantly in recent years.

Already disadvantaged by a harsher climate and less favourable fiscal obligations, Montréal-Trudeau needs to draw on best practices in the industry to remain competitive and maintain its role as a hub.

The contract for the information agents’ function will therefore be granted to Garda, while the contract for agents in the permits office will be awarded to the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. These suppliers have been selected based on their expertise and their knowledge of the airport environment, and have an obligation to maintain high standards of service quality.

Air Canada suspends flights to India following downed jets

News provided by The Globe and Mail

Aditi Shah and Devjyot Ghoshalnew – New Delhi Reuters

27 February 2019

Air Canada has temporarily suspended service to India, following a decision by the Pakistani government to close its airspace, a spokeswoman for the carrier said on Wednesday.

Canada’s largest carrier cancelled one flight to India from Vancouver and another flight en route to Delhi has turned back to Toronto, spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said by e-mail. The carrier, which operates daily service from Toronto and Vancouver to Delhi and four times weekly between Toronto and Mumbai, will “monitor the situation.”

Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets on Wednesday, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971, prompting leading powers to urge the nuclear armed rivals to show restraint.

Canada is calling for a de-escalation between the two countries.

“Canada is gravely concerned about rising tensions,” said foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland in a statement. “We urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint and avoid any further military escalation. Dialogue between India and Pakistan is needed to identify a durable diplomatic solution and maintain peace and security in the region.”

Several other airlines, including Emirates and Qatar Airways, suspended flights to Pakistan on Wednesday after the South Asian nation closed its air space following heightened tensions with neighboring India.

Etihad, flydubai, Gulf Air and SriLankan Airlines also suspended services to the country and flight tracking portals showed Singapore Airlines, British Airways and others were forced to reroute flights.

Airlines flying over India and Pakistan to Europe, the Middle East and Asia were disrupted and some flights were routed through Mumbai on India’s western coast, so they could head further south and avoid Pakistan air space, an Indian government official told Reuters.

Pakistan carried out air strikes and shot down two Indian military jets on Wednesday, Pakistani officials said, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971, prompting leading powers to urge both of the nuclear-armed countries to show restraint.

Tension has been elevated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on Feb. 14, but the risk of conflict rose dramatically on Tuesday when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base.

Mark Martin, founder and chief executive at Martin Consulting India, said about 800 flights a day use the India-Pakistan air corridor, making it “very critical.”

“You can’t overfly China, so you have to overfly Pakistan and India and go to Southeast Asia and Australia. Most of the traffic destined for Bangkok and Singapore will have to fly over Iran and then possibly take a detour,” he said.

International airlines that normally transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace have been forced to reroute, including flights by Singapore Airlines, Finnair, British Airways, Aeroflot, and Air India, according to online portal flightradar24.com which tracks the movement of planes globally.

Qatar Airways said in a statement it has temporarily suspended flights to eight cities in India and Pakistan “due to the ongoing situation on the India-Pakistan border” and that its flights routed over the India-Pakistan air space may be delayed due to rerouting in the area.

Bahrain’s Gulf Air said it had suspended all fights to and from Pakistan due to closure of airspace while low-cost carrier flydubai said it is reviewing its schedule. Emirates and Etihad also said they had suspended some flights to Pakistan.

All flights from Kabul to India have been canceled until further notice while India’s state-run carrier Air India has canceled its flights until the first week of March, an airline official in Kabul said.

Air Canada said it has temporarily suspended service to India because of Pakistan’s airspace closure.

Singapore Airlines’ Europe-bound flights would need to make refueling stops, the airline said in a statement. British Airways said it is monitoring the situation closely.

DOMESTIC DISRUPTION

India, earlier on Wednesday, shut several airports in the northern part of the country temporarily, leading to dozens of domestic flight cancellations after Pakistani warplanes crossed a disputed border into the Indian side of Kashmir.

Operations at the Indian airports have now resumed.

Indian airlines including IndiGo, India’s biggest airline by market share, low-cost rival GoAir and full-service carriers Jet Airways and Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, were forced to cancel services to at least six cities in northern India due to airport closures.

The airlines said on Twitter that flights to cities including Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jammu, Leh and Srinagar have been put on hold or temporarily suspended.

Airports in the cities of Amritsar, Pathankot, Jammu, Leh and Chandigarh were temporarily closed for commercial flights earlier on Wednesday, sources told Reuters.

Bem vindo! Air Canada Introduces Non-Stop Montreal-São Paulo, Brazil Flights

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced new winter service from Montreal to São Paulo, Brazil, the only non-stop flights between the two cities. This new route to São Paulo will commence on December 11, 2019 and operate three return-trips weekly from Montreal until March 27, 2020. Flights are timed for convenient connections across Air Canada’s network in North America, including to and from Vancouver, Calgary and Quebec City, as well as several Brazilian cities beyond São Paulo.

Air Canada will offer winter service from Montreal to São Paulo, Brazil, as of December 11, 2019. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada will offer winter service from Montreal to São Paulo, Brazil, as of December 11, 2019. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Special introductory fares start as low as $600 round-trip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase at aircanada.com or through travel agents.

“Air Canada is continuing its international expansion from Montreal with the introduction of the only non-stop service between Montreal and Brazil. Complementing existing Toronto service, Montreal-São Paulo flights will provide a link to the country’s largest city and financial centre while offering a great opportunity for Brazilians looking for a winter vacation in Quebec. São Paulo is the twelfth new international destination added by Air Canada from Montreal-Trudeau Airport since 2017, reinforcing further the commitment we have to develop Montreal as a strategic hub,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network planning at Air Canada.

“We are very pleased with Air Canada’s decision to offer Montréal-Trudeau airport passengers a new link to a major economic and industrial hub,” said Philippe Rainville, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aéroports de Montréal. “We have always wanted to significantly improve our service to South America. In addition to helping to provide more opportunities, especially for business travellers, this new connection to São Paulo further underscores YUL’s role as a hub. This good news is in line with our vision of offering quality service to passengers in Greater Montréal in collaboration with our airline partners.”

According to Gustavo Figueiredo, São Paulo airport’s CEO, the route to Montreal serves a trendy market – Canada – with the highest growth rates outside South America. “We have been looking at expanding our Canadian network for the last two to three years and Air Canada is the ideal airline: leading brand in Canada, large connectivity beyond Montreal and a strong Brazilian presence. We have no doubt that the route will be successful, combining Air Canada’s hub in Montrealwith our unrivalled connectivity within Brazil and low region of South America – Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. The Montreal market has a good mix of corporate traffic with IATA, ACI and ICAO having their main offices there – and leisure demand.”

“This new non-stop flight, the first between Montreal and Brazil, confirms once again Montreal’s international hub status. Brazil’s economy ranks 8th in the world and represents a promising and strategic market for our companies from the life sciences and aerospace sectors, among others. The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal congratulates Air Canada for its leadership and commitment to increasing the number of direct flights from Montreal,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

“As Brazil recorded a 38% increase of travellers to Québec in 2017, the Alliance welcomes the launch of a new Montréal‒São-Paulo non-stop flight. This initiative supports the current efforts to position Québec as a travel destination to markets in South America, while reflecting positively on our industry’s seasonality. Brazilian visitors are particularly fond of our winters, our wide-open spaces and our local flavours. The Alliance acknowledges Air Canada’s commitment in launching this direct international non-stop flight to Québec. Accessibility is a determining factor when pursuing vigorous growth on the international visitor market ‒ in turn, it generates major economic spin-offs for the entire destination,” stated Martin Soucy, Chief Executive Officer of l’Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec.

Flights will be operated by Air Canada’s flagship aircraft, the 298-seat, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner featuring Air Canada Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class service, with high-definition individual on-demand entertainment offering a wide range of movies, short films, TV programs and audio selections at every seat throughout the aircraft.

Customers can also collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges, priority boarding and other benefits.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC96Montreal 18:35São Paulo 07:30 + 1 dayWednesday, Friday, Sunday
AC97São Paulo 09:40Montreal 16:45Monday, Thursday, Saturday

This new service is one of three new routes announced today by Air Canada. In addition, new seasonal services were also announced between Toronto-Quito and Vancouver-Auckland. For more details please see aircanada.com/media.

Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and its regional airline partners flying under the Air Canada Express banner operate on average approximately 2,400 flights per week between Montreal and 99 destinations: 26 in Canada, including 9 in Quebec, 24 in the United States, 25 in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, 17 in Europe, two in Asia, two in North Africa, one in the Middle East and two in South America.

Air Canada to Introduce Dreamliner Service on Flights between Toronto and Honolulu

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Award-winning premium services sweeten Hawaiian dream vacations

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada announced today that it will operate its seasonal service between Toronto and Honolulu next winter with its state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Customers travelling between Toronto and Hawaii will have the option to fly in Air Canada’s Signature cabin, featuring fully lie-flat suites, meals prepared by celebrated Canadian chef David Hawksworth and other amenities.

Signature Class on Air Canada's Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Signature Class on Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“Air Canada is pleased to offer customers travelling between Toronto and Hawaii the added comfort of service aboard our state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Air Canada is the only airline flying non-stop from Eastern Canada to Hawaii and the superior comfort of the Dreamliner, featuring Air Canada Signature Service, perfectly suits this ultimate dream vacation destination, particularly as many premium Hawaii customers connect from European and other long-haul flights,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning at Air Canada.

Dreamliner service will be available on the Toronto-Honolulu route beginning December 14, 2019 and will operate three return-trips weekly until April 26, 2020. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner offers three cabins of service, Air Canada Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy. The flights will connect conveniently across Air Canada’s network in North America and Europe. Customers can also collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges, priority boarding and other benefits.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC589Toronto 16:35Honolulu 21:30Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday
AC590Honolulu 23:05Toronto 12:30 + 1 dayTuesday, Saturday, Sunday

Air Canada Signature Service customers receive priority service at every stage of the journey, including access to select airport concierge services, expedited check-in and security clearance, priority baggage handling and boarding. Customers will also enjoy lounge access at both Toronto-Pearson and Honolulu. Onboard, the service includes: next generation lie-flat suites with mattress pads to enhance sleeping comfort; Hawksworth menu items; a wine selection chosen by Air Canada sommelier Véronique Rivest; and Lavazza espresso and cappuccino.

In addition to announcing the introduction of Dreamliner service on its Toronto-Honolulu route, Air Canada today also announced three new seasonal services. These include: Toronto-Quito; Vancouver-Auckland; and Montréal-São Paulo. For more details please see aircanada.com/media

Kia Ora! Air Canada to Launch Seasonal Flights to Auckland, New Zealand from Vancouver

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Convenient connections to and from North American destinations from carrier’s YVR hub

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced the addition of new, non-stop, seasonal flights between Vancouver and Auckland, New Zealand.  Air Canada’s flights to Auckland will operate four times weekly onboard the carrier’s state-of-the-art flagship Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft beginning December 12, 2019 until the end of March 2020, subject to obtaining the necessary government approvals.

Air Canada will offer non-stop seasonal flights between Vancouver and Auckland, New Zealand. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada will offer non-stop seasonal flights between Vancouver and Auckland, New Zealand. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Air Canada has also finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand to pursue expanding its current alliance arrangement to strategically co-operate in the form of a Joint Venture, subject to Air Canada and Air New Zealand making the necessary filings, obtaining competition and other regulatory approvals and finalizing documentation. A deeper, more integrated partnership will provide greater customer choice, comprehensive benefits and an expanded trans-Pacific network.

“We are delighted to add Auckland as we continue strategically expanding Air Canada’s international network and increasing its presence in the Asia-Pacific market.  The launch of Auckland service in December will be of particular interest to New Zealanders travelling for a Canadian winter vacation, and to North Americans travelling to enjoy New Zealand’s vibrant multicultural urban and natural attractions during their summer season,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada. “We have timed our Auckland flights to conveniently connect at our YVR trans-Pacific hub to and from a multitude of non-stop destinations throughout North America including New York-Newark.  Our Dreamliners featuring our Signature Service together with the seamless connections through in-transit preclearance facilities and competitive elapsed travel times, position Air Canada and YVR as a preferred trans-Pacific option for travel.”

“Air Canada and Air New Zealand already have a close partnership, having been codeshare and Star Alliance partners for more than 20 years. We look forward to deepening our relationship and optimizing our far-reaching trans-Pacific network co-operation, offering our customers a choice of more flights, connections and travel opportunities,” added John MacLeod, Vice President, Global Sales and Alliances at Air Canada.

New Zealand Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis, welcomed the new link.  “This new non-stop service between Vancouver and Auckland will further deepen the connections between our countries and strengthen our tourism links. More and more Canadians are choosing to visit New Zealand to experience our culture, scenery and Kiwi hospitality. 71,000 Canadians visited New Zealand in 2018, staying on average for 19 days and making an important contribution to the New Zealand economy. In addition to tourism links, Canada is one of New Zealand’s closest international partners. Both countries are members of the recently implemented CPTPP free trade agreement.”

“We are delighted that Air Canada, a leading global airline, has chosen to launch seasonal non-stop services between Vancouver and Auckland,” said Adrian Littlewood, Chief Executive at Auckland Airport.  “This flight will provide increased capacity and connectivity to New Zealand for Canadians, an important visitor source market, as well as a convenient way for New Zealanders to access Air Canada’s extensive network that spans all of Canada and a significant number of cities in the United States.”

“The new flight will make it easier than ever for visitors from Canada to experience the huge range of activities New Zealand has to offer. Visitors from Canada are an important market for New Zealand, tending to stay longer and visit more regions than the average visitor and contributing over $250 million to the New Zealand economy,” says Stephen England-Hall, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive.

“We are thrilled Air Canada has added this new direct flight from Vancouver to Auckland,” said Lisa Beare, BC Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Vancouver is a great place to start a made-in B.C. adventure and we look forward to welcoming more travellers from New Zealand to discover all that British Columbia offers in the winter and spring.”

“We are very excited to welcome Air Canada’s new seasonal service to Auckland—a key destination that supports YVR’s vision to be a world-class hub,” said Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We have worked closely with Air Canada over the last several years, supporting their efforts to make YVR a premier trans-Pacific hub. This new service to Auckland, a great city with a vibrant culture and access to a broad range of tourism and business opportunities, will ensure we continue to connect North America to the world, driving economic benefits for our region.”

“It’s terrific news for BC’s tourism industry. Air Canada’s new flights will help bolster our strong visitor economy by bringing even more visitors from the South Pacific to experience all that Vancouver and British Columbia has to offer,” said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of BC.

Customers can collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges, priority boarding and other benefits.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC51Vancouver 23:45Auckland 11:05 + 2 daysMonday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
AC52Auckland 14:40Vancouver 06:40Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

Special introductory fares start as low as $1,387 CDN round-trip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase at aircanada.com or through travel agents.

Bienvenido! Air Canada to Launch Service to Quito from Toronto

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • First non-stop flight between Canada and Ecuador

MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW/ – Air Canada announced today it will launch new, non-stop service between Torontoand Quito. The new route, to be operated three-times weekly on a seasonal basis by Air Canada Rouge, will be the first non-stop service to Ecuador from Canada when it begins December 8, 2019, subject to obtaining the necessary government approvals.

Air Canada to Launch Service to Quito from Toronto, the first non-stop flight between Canada and Ecuador. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada to Launch Service to Quito from Toronto, the first non-stop flight between Canada and Ecuador. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“Air Canada is expanding its footprint in South America as part of its ongoing international growth strategy from our Toronto global hub. As the capital of Ecuador, Quito is both an important tourism and cargo market, and Ecuador has a growing number of Canadians living in the country who will also benefit from this convenient non-stop service. As well, our expansion in South America gives us an opportunity to efficiently deploy our aircraft during the winter months when southern destinations are more popular,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning, at Air Canada.

The Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, Rosi Prado de Holguín, remarked that the Ministry welcomes connectivity as fundamental to promoting the arrival of visitors to the country: “Connectivity allows tourists to fall in love of the ‘country of the four worlds’. Also, our goal is to ensure tourism remains the third largest source of income for Ecuador, that’s why we keep working every day to promote Ecuador in the world.”

“Having Air Canada introducing a direct service between Toronto and Quito represents a major announcement. This new non-stop flight will act as a catalyst to strengthen existing ties between Ecuador and Canada by facilitating mobility for tourists and students; encouraging commercial exchange and opening new doors to further expand the breadth of our relations. Congratulations to Air Canada and to the Airport of Quito for this important success!”  said Sylvie Bédard, Designated Ambassador of Canada to Ecuador.

“Air Canada’s decision to start operations between Toronto and Quito is very important as we are opening not only a new route, but a new market with a lot of potential. The Ecuadorian community in Toronto is significant and with the new flight we open the door so they are better connected to their home country. Quito is a tourist destination with great potential for Canadian travelers who are eager to explore different places and customs. In that sense, Ecuador has much to offer in cultural, historical, adventure and nature tourism, without forgetting of course its wonderful beaches and landscapes. The route to Toronto will also offer tourists from Ecuador the opportunity to get closer to Canada, a very welcoming country with unique attractions for Ecuadorians, thanks to the geographic and cultural contrast between both countries that, nonetheless, share a common characteristic: warmth towards visitors,” said Andrew O’Brian, President and CEO, Corporación Quiport (Quito International Airport).

“In recent years, Quito has substantially improved its air connectivity with new routes and more frequencies to important destinations in the world. Having a direct flight between Quito and Toronto opens the doors to new opportunities with Canada, which is one of the most important and potential markets in the world. More tourism, more business, more connectivity and greater competitiveness. This is a great example of an excellent coordination and teamwork between the public and private sectors,” said Álvaro Maldonado, Productive Development and Competiveness Secretary for Quito.

The new route will commence on December 8, 2019 and operate three return-trips weekly between Toronto and Quito until May 11, 2020. Flights will be operated by Air Canada Rouge using a 282-seat, Boeing 767-300ER aircraft offering two cabins and inflight entertainment streamed to personal devices. The flights will connect conveniently across Air Canada’s network in North America and Europe. Customers can also collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges, priority boarding and other benefits.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC1950Toronto 23:45Quito 06:30 + 1 dayWednesday, Friday, Sunday
AC1951Quito 08:30Toronto 15:05Monday, Thursday, Saturday

Special introductory fares start as low as $631 round-trip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase at aircanada.com or through travel agents.

Air Vanuatu orders four A220s

News provided by FlightGlobal.com

26 February 2019 – Flight Global – By Ellis Taylor, Perth

Air Vanuatu has ordered two Airbus A220-100s and two A220-300s, making it the launch customer for the A220 in the South Pacific.

The order, announced at the start of the Avalon air show in Australia, is the first Airbus purchase by Air Vanuatu, and will form a major part of its future growth plans.

The first delivery from the order is due in June 2020.

Asset Image
Airbus

“We are proud to be the launch airline in the South Pacific of the best-in-class Airbus A220,” says chief executive Derek Nice.

“These aircraft will be deployed to operate on our current domestic and international routes, including our newly announced non-stop Melbourne-Vanuatu service, and will bolster plans to expand our network in the South Pacific.”

Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines power all A220s, and at list prices the four aircraft are valued at $345 million.

Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier operates one Boeing 737-800, an ATR 72, three Viking Air DHC-6-300 Twin Otters and two Britten-Norman Islanders.

Makivik Corporation and Inuvialuit Development Group respond to Competition Bureau report on the merger of First Air and Canadian North

Provided by Makivik Corporation/CNW

Logo: Makivik Corporation (CNW Group/Makivik Corporation)
Logo: Makivik Corporation (CNW Group/Makivik Corporation)
Logo: Inuvialuit Development Group (CNW Group/Makivik Corporation)
Logo: Inuvialuit Development Group (CNW Group/Makivik Corporation)

OTTAWA, Feb. 26, 2019 /CNW/ – The ownership groups of First Air and Canadian North today issued the following statement in response to the Competition Bureau’s report regarding a merger between the airlines:

“While we acknowledge the Competition Bureau’s mandate to provide input to the Minister of Transport for his public interest review of the merger between First Air and Canadian North, its artificially restricted findings in this matter are of limited value and suggest a superficial understanding of the Inuit organizations proposing this solution for sustainable northern transportation.

“Our Inuit communities are surprised and extremely dismayed by the report and it is our sincere hope and expectation that the Minister will pursue his mandate of reconciliation and acknowledge that the very organizations proposing this merger have a constitutional mandate to represent the rights and interests of Nunavik and the Inuvialuit Region. 

“The Bureau abandoned its usual practice of considering efficiencies associated with a merger of this nature. By neglecting to consider the overwhelming financial and non-financial benefits to northerners that will be generated, the Bureau’s assessment fails to recognize that a merger is necessary to sustain air travel to the North and relieve the substantial financial burden currently shouldered by Inuit Land Claim Organization (LCO) owners. This process is representative of southern-led institutions’ continued ignorance of northern businesses and we disagree with the Bureau’s decision to ignore the overwhelming and substantial positive impacts this transaction would have for northerners.

“The Bureau’s narrowed focus also ignores the economic realities (i.e., significant inefficiencies due to overlapping routes, insufficient demand and redundant schedules servicing small and sparsely settled remote communities over vast distances) which are driving the parties – who otherwise face the risk of being driven out of business – to do this deal. A merger will allow us to realize operational efficiencies that are needed to bridge the service gap and continue to be financially viable. Contrary to what the Bureau has written in its report, our airlines already face direct competition and the constant possibility of new competitors every day. Our steadfast goal is to provide customers with quality, sustainable air services at competitive prices as a strong, single airline.

“The Makivik Corporation and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation have been tasked by our Inuit beneficiaries, stakeholders and all Inuit to bridge the gap between northern and southern living conditions. Currently, exorbitantly high costs of living – in part due to the challenging and high-cost nature of operating businesses in the North – result in sub-standard living conditions for our peoples. Before Inuit can be meaningful participants in the national economy, they must be meaningful participants in the northern economy; an efficient Pan-Arctic airline is the only long-term, viable answer that will provide immediate benefits.

“Our Inuit-led solution came about through hundreds of hours of discussion among Inuit and northern-elected leaders. The incomplete analysis in the Competition Bureau’s report demonstrates a lack of understanding of the northern reality which disproportionately and negatively impacts Inuit. We are reminded that the federal government has bailed-out southern national carriers, while northern airlines see continual increases in regulation and fees. The Government of Canada must not ignore Inuit autonomy, elected Inuit leaders and LCOs; continuing to do so only sacrifices the short and long-term socio-economic condition of all northerners.

“Both corporations urge the Minister of Transport to exercise his authority under the Canada Transportation Act to evaluate this merger holistically, cognizant of the long-term needs of northerners and giving appropriate weight to the overwhelmingly positive impacts on certainty and flexibility of service, connectivity, safety, environment, and self-determination of our peoples. We also ask the Minister to take into account that the new airline will act as an economic driver in the circumpolar region as one of the North’s largest private-sector employers. Any meaningful analysis of the merger would consider these significant benefits.

“We will continue working with Transport Canada as it completes its full analysis of the public interest promoted by this merger and considers the important economic, social and environmental factors that the Competition Bureau did not. We are confident that the merger between First Air and Canadian North will emerge as utterly essential to the public interest.

“Upon the completion of Transport Canada’s review and the receipt of all applicable regulatory approvals, we intend to finalize the merger. Until that time, we will continue providing our northern communities with access to safe and reliable air travel services at the financial expense of our Inuit beneficiaries.