Unvaccinated travellers barred from planes and trains in Canada beginning today

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

LAURA OSMAN, OTTAWA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | 30 November 2021

Health care workers wait for airline passengers at a COVID-19 testing centre, at Trudeau Airport, in Montreal, on Feb. 19.RYAN REMIORZ/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 won’t be able to board a plane or passenger train in Canada beginning today, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people.

The policy came into effect on Oct. 30, but the federal government allowed a short transition period for unvaccinated travellers who could board as long as they provided a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their trip.

The stringent new requirement comes into effect as Canada reacts to the emergence of the new, highly mutated Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The discovery of the new variant has prompted border closures and heavier screening in Canada and abroad over fears it could prove more transmissible.

The risk related to the Omicron variant is very high, according to the World Health Organization, but there is still a lot public health officials and scientists do not know about it.

While anyone coming into Canada or boarding a plane or train inside the country must be vaccinated, there are currently no quarantine measures in place except for people who have recently transited through southern Africa.

While many airlines have so far been doing random spot checks to ensure travellers are vaccinated, Air Canada and West Jet have confirmed they will ask for proof from everyone boarding in Canada as of today.

Other measures, like masks and health screenings, will still be mandatory.

“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” the government’s website states.

The rule does not apply to commuter trains.

The government has issued warnings on social media that even Canadians and permanent residents abroad will not be able to return home without a full slate of approved vaccines.

There are some exceptions, including valid medical exemptions, travel to remote communities only accessible by plane, and those transiting through Canada en route to another destination.

Most people who qualify for an exemption will need a recent COVID-19 test.

The vaccine mandate was met with a positive reaction from Canada’s airline industry when it was first announced in October, though some companies worried about making the necessary preparations in time.

Since then the federal government announced a standardized proof-of-vaccination document, which has been distributed by provinces and territories for domestic and international travel.

Giving Tuesday: Help Children Get Essential Medical Care By Donating Aeroplan Points

  • Aeroplan Points Matching Week for the Air Canada Foundation runs until December 5
  • Donations help provide sick children with access to specialized healthcare across Canada

“It really means the world to have your support system around you, for Israfil to be at home and have his own bed and have his own room, to be able to see his family between treatments,” said Jessica, Israfil’s mother.

MONTREAL, Nov. 30, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Your donations will go a long way in helping Jessica and her son Israfil, a two-year old boy who suffers from a rare type of cancer, and many other kids across Canada, to fly for medical appointments. This is what the Air Canada Foundation Aeroplan Points Matching Week is all about: helping children reach medical care.

“Your generosity, year after year, truly makes a difference in the lives of children and their families. With your precious contribution we’ve been able, over the last 18 months, to fly Israfil and his mother Jessica from Saskatoon to BC Children’s Hospital for his medical treatments,” said Valérie Durand, spokesperson for the Air Canada Foundation. “We are grateful to Aeroplan Members for their donations, which relieve a burden and ultimately allow parents to focus on their children during difficult times.”

Until December 5, members who donate Aeroplan points to the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program will double the impact of their contribution as the value of the points donated will be matched, up to 500,000 points, by Aeroplan. Through the generosity of Aeroplan Members, the Air Canada Foundation donates millions of Aeroplan points to 15 pediatric hospitals across Canada every year to help children reach the medical care they need away from home.

“We are so grateful to the Air Canada Foundation for providing the Hospital Transportation Program for all Canadian Children’s Hospitals through our partnership with Children’s Miracle Network. This program ensures that medically complex kids, like Israfil, have the support and access to the care they need, when they need it.” agreed Allison Hepworth, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and Tanner Braaten, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. 

“This program has been getting us to Israfil’s life-saving treatments since he was a year old. We couldn’t have done it without it. I can’t imagine if we would’ve had to drive 26 hours every time. You never think about the financial impact of childhood cancer,” said Jessica, who expressed her deep gratitude to Aeroplan donors on behalf of her son Israfil.

Since the introduction of the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program in 2003, sick children, accompanied by a parent, have been able to obtain the medical care needed away from home. Driving long hours can be strenuous for both the child and the parent, especially when several visits to the hospital are required each month or when treatments last several months. Travelling by air helps families avoid tiring hours on the road and alleviates some of the financial burden of travel expenses, which can cause serious economic and emotional hardship to families. For more information on the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program and its impact, visit www.aircanada.com/foundation.

About the Air Canada Foundation
The Air Canada Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on the health and well-being of children and youth, was launched in 2012. It offers both financial and in-kind support to Canadian registered charities. Core programs include the Hospital Transportation Program, which redistributes Aeroplan points to 15 pediatric hospitals across Canada, enabling sick children to access the medical care they need away from home. The Air Canada Foundation, in collaboration with the airline, also engages directly in fundraising activities, such as the Every Bit Counts program, which encourages Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge customers to donate loose change of all denominations on board flights or through collection containers available in Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges. The Foundation also offers continued support to major health-related causes that benefit Canadians and is an active participant in international humanitarian relief activity as the need arises. For more information about the Air Canada Foundation, please visit www.aircanada.com/foundation or in Air Canada’s 2020 Corporate Sustainability report available at www.aircanada.com/citizensoftheworld.

About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2019, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. 

WestJet’s new boss takes control as demand for travel ramps up after long pandemic slowdown

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

ERIC ATKINS, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER | 29 November 2021

Harry Taylor, WestJet’s chief financial officer, becomes interim chief executive officer Monday.TODD KOROL/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

WestJet’s new top executive takes charge as the Calgary-based airline is ramping up after a lengthy slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harry Taylor, WestJet’s chief financial officer, becomes interim chief executive officer Monday at a crucial time for the country’s second-biggest airline – optimism, expectations and tensions have rarely been higher.

“What keeps me up at night is I worry about our people,” Mr. Taylor said in a phone interview from Calgary. “We have, this organization has been through as the whole world has been through a cataclysmic, catastrophic event. We were at the pointy edge, we laid off people – some permanently, some temporarily. Now we’re trying to rebuild.”

The airline is trying to hire 2,000 people to meet rising demand as travellers book flights to see family and friends or visit sun destinations again, even as pandemic rules and low staffing levels cause long lineups and frustrations at the airports.

As COVID-19 took hold in March, 2020, governments in Canada and around the world closed borders and imposed quarantines on those who had to travel. WestJet grounded 80 per cent of its 180-plane fleet and laid off almost two-thirds of its 14,000 flight attendants, pilots and other employees.

Shutdowns stretched into the first part of 2021, when WestJet was running at just 15 per cent of pre-COVID capacity.

The increase in seat sales and resumption of several routes, driven by greater vaccination rates and eased travel restrictions, began in the third quarter. Today, WestJet is operating at about 70-per-cent capacity, and has added dozens of destinations, including Mexico, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Seven thousand WestJet employees are on the job, short of the 9,000 the airline hopes to employ by the end of the year, said Mr. Taylor, who has been WestJet’s finance chief since 2015 and moves into the CEO’s office to replace Ed Sims. Mr. Sims retired after four years to return to his native New Zealand.

WestJet, owned by Onex Corp., is conducting a search for a permanent CEO, and Mr. Taylor said he plans to return to his finance role when the new boss arrives.

Before moving to WestJet, Mr. Taylor had a 20-year career in finance in Canada and the United States at Canadian Tire Corp., Holt Renfrew, Home Depot and PepsiCo. The father of two grown children was born in Winnipeg and moved to Toronto at age 9. He is a chartered accountant who studied at the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario, where he earned an MBA.

Like his counterpart at Air Canada, he is unilingual. Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau ignited a controversy this month when he admitted he could not speak French, despite living in Montreal for 14 years.

“I do not speak French, at least, not very well … it’s been a long time regret of mine as a Canadian,” Mr. Taylor said.

The pandemic reshaped the airline business, forcing upon it deep losses, layers of regulations and costs associated with quickly screening and handling passengers in confined spaces while adhering to public-health rules. Passengers will continue to see more touchless check-ins and screenings, and mask requirements will persist for a long time, he predicted.

Working at an airline has become tougher, Mr. Taylorsaid, in part because passengers who are returning to the skies are frustrated by the shifting labyrinth of testing, vaccine and quarantine requirements, and long lines at security and boarding gates. Some passengers are also out of practice at flying, and have forgotten the usual rules, such as those about carry-on bags and liquids, he said.

“There is a tremendous pressure on our organization to deliver the service that we aspired to deliver to our guests. And that is to differentiate ourselves by being more caring and friendly. And yet we have guests who are frustrated. They haven’t travelled for a while. They are sometimes a little more emotional. And so they become very angry very quickly.”

This has led to more confrontations between employees and passengers.

Still, WestJet said it has flown millions of customers this year, and banned just 188 for not complying with mask-wearing rules. “We are trying at every turn to ensure that we make the travel experience easier, not more difficult for them, but unruly [passengers] are really a very, very low percentage,” WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell said.

Domestic seat sales will rebound to pre-COVID levels by the summer, Mr. Taylor said, followed in the fall by Latin America and the Caribbean. “People are just saying, ‘I’m done. I’ve got to visit my friends. I’ve got to take that vacation. I’ve got to visit my family.’ All of the recovery we’re seeing is visiting friends and relatives or leisure travel.”

Cross-border and transatlantic routes are laggards, he said, mainly because of the varied and persistent pandemic travel restrictions. He added that business travel is another segment that is slow to rebound.

Air travel may hit pre-pandemic levels in 2022: WestJet Interim CEO

From BNN Bloomberg – link to source story and video

By David George-Cosh | 29 November 2021

The Close It is too early to tell if Omicron will have an impact on our recovery: WestJet Interim CEO Harry Taylor, interim president and CEO of WestJet Group, joins BNN Bloomberg to discuss his new appointment from CFO to CEO, and how the Omicron variant may impact the airline’s recovery moving forward.

Canadian airline travel is slowly recovering to pre-pandemic levels, although passengers may see higher fares as fuel prices reach new highs, according to the interim head of WestJet Airlines Ltd.

While Canadians may be feeling more comfortable flying again, WestJet interim President and Chief Executive Harry Taylor stated in an interview that more data on the new COVID-19 Omicron variant is needed before determining what kind of impact it could have on future air travel.

“We didn’t expect this development with Omicron and certainly before Friday, as we looked ahead, we were expecting the recovery to continue,” Taylor said.

“Our expectation is for a pandemic high in our traditional holiday peak season, followed by continuing recovery into next year. Omicron may have some effect on that – we’re not sure yet. It’s probably too early to tell.”

As COVID-19 cases tied to the variant begin to emerge, Canada announced last week that it will limit travel to southern Africa, including to South Africa, where scientists in that country were first to voice their concerns about the Omicron strain.

Taylor took over for Ed Sims on Monday as interim CEO as the company continues its search for a permanent chief executive. Taylor told BNN Bloomberg he plans to return to his role as chief financial officer after WestJet’s board selects a permanent successor.

Taylor said WestJet expects its domestic operations to return to pre-pandemic levels sometime this summer, while travel to the U.S. has lagged, but should pick up next year. He noted that bookings for sun destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean have been “extremely strong.”

According to Statistics Canada, roughly 2.9 million Canadians travelled by air in September, up from just 931,000 a year earlier, but well below the 6.9 million people who travelled in 2019. Canada’s airlines reported a load factor (which represents seats filled by customers) of just 67.8 per cent in September, which is below the high-80 per cent range that is typical for Canadian air travel, the StatsCan data showed.

Passengers booking flights may be in for sticker shock, though, when it comes to airfares. Taylor noted that fuel prices are at levels not seen since 2014 and while it takes six-to-nine months to factor that into the company’s costs, it eventually will be reflected with higher fares.

“What we need to do is mitigate it and at the same time look for the most effective way to use our fuel,” he said. Taylor noted that WestJet has a relatively young fleet of jets, making its planes more fuel-efficient than some of its peers, and it is investigating ways to minimize fuel burn during flights.

“Fare prices cannot immediately react [to rising fuel prices] and we don’t want to take fares up,” Taylor added. “So, we’ve got to find other ways to reduce costs to preserve our operating profit margin.”

Saskatchewan residents facing higher airline travel costs for holidays within Canada

From Global News – link to source story

By Taz Dhaliwa,l Global News | November 29, 2021

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan residents dealing with higher than usual holiday domestic travel costs'
The holiday travel season this year is expected to be a busy one, although, it’ll cost many looking to fly domestically a pretty penny to take off. Taz Dhaliwal takes a look at why that is and what residents can expect when heading to the airport.

Flying high in the sky is going to be a more expensive this holiday season.

Flights from Regina to Toronto are already in the $700 to $1,000 range for late December. Air travel only gets more expensive the farther east you go. Prices aren’t expected to cool off until mid-January for many popular destination across the country.

“Airlines are dynamic in how they do their pricing,” said James Bogusz, Regina Airport Authority president and CEO.

“I’ve been a traveler for over 25 years, and I can say it depends on the time of year, and most importantly, the supply and demand of travel,” he added.

Even though Saskatchewan residents don’t have many airlines to choose from now, Bogusz says that is set to improve in 2022. Flair Air will be offering more flight routes within the prairies in April.

Having enough crew members to work flights appears to be a continuing struggle for the air industry. Staffing cuts and people leaving the industry to pursue other careers are having an impact. The on-boarding process for new hires or retraining for previous staff also takes time.

“It’s also a long training process. I have friends who are still in their six to eight week process of getting retrained,”said Barbara Crowe, a Saskatoon-based travel advisor with Ixtapa Travel.

It’s just not something where you call everybody back to work and everybody is available,” she said.

But for some, staying grounded simply isn’t an option.

“We still see people that are going, you know they haven’t been with their families for a couple of years. And you know, I think people are just wanting to get together over the holiday season,” she added.

Flights are still booking up despite the high costs, she notes, adding people are still hoping to book. She recommends they do so sooner rather than later, since airlines aren’t expected to decrease their rates.

“Well, the holiday is going to be a lot busier than last year,” Bogusz said.

With COVID-19 vaccines, booster shots, and continuing COVID-19 safety measures, more people appear to be comfortable with flying compared to last year.

“We’re recommending to all passengers to come at least 90 minutes before their scheduled flight, regardless of where you’re going, so that gives you a chance to check your bag and make sure you do all the pre-clearance requirements,” Bogusz stated.

Travellers need to remember to have proof of vaccination or negative test results readily available before boarding.

Bogusz says the Regina Airport has had 40 to 50 per cent of the pre-pandemic passenger traffic. Those numbers are being sustained into the end of this year.

He expects traffic to increase to about 65 per cent in the coming year, however that largely depends on the COVID-19 situation.

WestJet announces Karl Schuster as Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 29, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced the appointment of Karl Schuster, as the airline’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer (CLO). Schuster will join the WestJet executive leadership team in early 2022, following the completion of the immigration process.   

Karl Schuster, WestJet Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
Karl Schuster, WestJet Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

Schuster has over 19 years of loyalty experience, including six years as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Velocity Frequent Flyer, Virgin Australia’s award-winning loyalty program. During his time at Virgin Australia, Schuster grew Velocity to be one of the largest loyalty programs in Australia, significantly increasing their annual revenue; increasing membership subscribers to 10 million, from their previous 5.3 million members; and growing partnerships with noteworthy brands across the country. Prior to his time at Velocity, Schuster lead multi-year loyalty programs for Qantas, British Airways and Malaysian Airlines and provided consulting advice to a diverse range of airlines in his nearly 15 years at Aimia Inc.

“Karl has an impressive history of driving exponential growth for a diverse range of loyalty programs and delivering results through innovation and strategy,” said Harry Taylor, WestJet Interim President and CEO. “We are looking forward to welcoming Karl to WestJet; his breadth of experience will elevate WestJet’s loyalty program to new heights.” 

The CLO is a newly created role for the airline, responsible for the execution of growing WestJet’s loyalty program, products, services and partnerships through innovation and leadership. 

“As WestJet transitions from recovery to expansion, the airline is making significant investments in its already successful loyalty program, and I am thrilled to be joining the team at such a pivotal moment in time,” said Schuster. “As WestJet builds back stronger, there is incredible runway in front of WestJet Rewards and we will be working to bring guests more benefits and privileges through exciting and innovative loyalty enhancements. I am pleased to be joining WestJet’s high performing loyalty team alongside d’Arcy Monaghan, WestJet Vice-President, Loyalty Programs and I look forward to working with him and the team to take our program to new heights.” 

About WestJet Rewards 
Members of the WestJet Rewards program earn and redeem WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages, and more. Members can maximize their earning power by adding a WestJet RBC® World Elite Mastercard to their wallet and turning everyday purchases into WestJet dollars. WestJet Rewards Platinum, Gold and Silver members enjoy free checked bags, seat selection, lounge access, priority airport services, complimentary upgrades and more.

About WestJet  
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic. 

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium. 

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.  

ADM Aéroports de Montréal and SOFIAC Launch a Large-Scale Energy Efficiency Project at YUL and YMX

MONTREAL, Nov. 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – SOFIAC is pleased to announce a new partnership with ADM Aéroports de Montréal to develop a large-scale energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction project. Decarbonization, the implementation of innovative energy solutions, as well as significant energy cost and consumption reductions are at the heart of this significant project that will cover all airport infrastructure at the YUL Montreal-Trudeau International Airport and YMX International Aerocity of Mirabel locations.

According to Philippe Rainville, President and Chief Executive Officer at ADM Aéroports de Montréal Airport, “This partnership with SOFIAC will enable ADM to significantly accelerate efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Our organization is firmly committed to changing how we do things and being more proactive in the fight against climate change. Although the YUL air terminal emits the least GHG emissions compared to other Canadian airport terminals, we firmly believe that the innovative SOFIAC approach will help us further reduce emissions. Securing the future of the airline industry involves concrete actions that, as our initiative targets, help key players in the industry reduce their environmental footprints.”

According to Michel Méthot, Chief Executive Officer at SOFIAC, “SOFIAC is extremely proud to launch its first large-scale project with ADM Aéroports de Montréal. We are starting the procurement phase of this infrastructure investment based on properly established benchmarks thanks to invaluable months of collaboration. This project will be reimbursed over a 15-year period solely by using a portion of the energy savings generated and will greatly contribute to our local green economy.”

This construction project will be rolled out over the next two years and is a precursor to a long series of SOFIAC projects that will generate local economic benefits amounting to tens of millions of dollars. The SOFIAC intermediary mechanism eliminates barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency infrastructure projects and successfully aligns the needs of clients with those of key stakeholders in the energy efficiency market, namely high-quality entrepreneurs, equipment suppliers, and consultants. This first large-scale project demonstrates SOFIAC’s commitment to the energy transition and the interesting financing and intermediation market aspects of the innovative SOFIAC approach.

SOFIAC was launched in January 2021 by Econoler and Fondaction with the support of the ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles du Québec (MERN). SOFIAC completed its first round of financing last October, which totalled $200 M.

ADM is committed to achieving precise sustainability objectives including energy efficiency improvements, significant GHG emission reductions, water consumption reductions, and the ultimate objective of zero waste.

All details on ADM achievements and sustainable development strategies are available at https://developpementdurable.admtl.com/.

About SOFIAC

Founded in 2020, SOFIAC helps commercial, industrial, and multi-residential enterprises increase their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness by developing, financing, and implementing energy efficiency projects. The innovative SOFIAC business model permits clients to benefit immediately and without initial investments from a portion of the savings generated by reducing energy consumption levels. For more information, consult sofiac.ca.

About ADM Aéroports de Montréal

ADM Aéroports de Montréal is the airport authority for the Greater Montréal area responsible for the management, operation and development of YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, certified 4-stars under the Skytrax World Airport Star Rating program, and YMX International Aerocity of Mirabel.

2020 State of Canada’s Aerospace Industry Report

OTTAWA (ONTARIO), November 26, 2021 – Today, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) released their joint 2020 report on the State of Canada’s Aerospace Industry . The Honorable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, joined AIAC President and CEO, Mike Mueller, along with industry members to discuss the future of Canadian aerospace.

The 2020 report quantifies the impacts of the pandemic on aerospace jobs and the sector’s economic activity in Canada and points to a long recovery. According to the report, the overall aerospace industry’s contribution to the Canadian economy decreased by $ 6.2B in GDP and 27,900 jobs between 2019 and 2020. Ontario was the most impacted region in terms of manufacturing employment levels.

Aerospace saw similar declines globally. On a positive note, revenue losses in Canada were mitigated compared to the global average due to the diversity of Canada’s aerospace sector including our strength in business aircraft as opposed to large aircraft which saw a much bigger drop in demand and production through 2020. Canada ranked # 2 in the world in the manufacture of business jets in 2020, consistent with 2019 rankings.

Despite the steep decline in jobs and GDP contribution, Canada remains an innovation and export leader. The report’s key findings include:

  • In 2020, the Canadian aerospace industry contributed over $ 22B in GDP and close to 207,000 jobs to the Canadian economy. (As compared to $ 28.5 Billion contribution to GDP and 235,000 jobs in 2019);
  • Aerospace manufacturing R&D intensity and share of STEM employment were 3X higher than the manufacturing average;
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the aerospace manufacturing industry’s investment in R&D was relatively stable ($ 934M R&D investment in 2020, down from $ 1.4B in 2018, and 5X higher R&D intensity than the manufacturing average in 2018).
  • Canadian aerospace maintains its position as a global leader in several segments:
    • st in civil flight simulators
    • rd in civil engines
    • th in civil aircraft
  • The Canadian aerospace manufacturing industry exported over 75% of Canadian aerospace products to 186 countries across 6 continents in 2020
    • Over 55% of aerospace exports were supply chain related;
    • Aerospace was 35% more export-intensive than the Canadian manufacturing average.

“This report is an important account of the productive partnership between our government and the aerospace industry,” said the Honorable François-Philippe Champagne Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “As we had recognized in Budget 2021, aerospace was one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. We will continue to support our aerospace champions every step of the way to build on Canada’s strengths, continue our global leadership, and develop new competitive advantages in the green economy of the future. ”

“We thank the government and the department for their continued collaboration and for this year’s report, which is perhaps the most important to date,” said Mike Mueller, President & CEO AIAC. “These are very sobering numbers. Job losses on this scale are felt in families and communities across the country. How we plan our aerospace recovery will set the stage and determine our competitiveness for the next 30 years. ”

“We have so much to build on,” Mueller continued. “Our companies, large and small, are major exporters and integral to global supply chains. For example, Canada’s expertise and leadership in smaller, business aircraft helped to buoy against even steeper declines seen globally; the global average was brought down by the plummet in demand and production of large aircraft. Business aircraft is a strength and competitive advantage for Canada, providing a solid foundation for recovery and jobs. ”

For more on AIAC and # AerospaceChallenge2050, please visit: www.aiac.ca     

Read the report at: State of the Canada’s Aerospace Industry – Canadian aerospace and defense industry (ic.gc.ca) 

Harry Taylor becomes interim President and CEO of WestJet Group

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 29, 2021 /CNW/ – The WestJet Group today announced that Harry Taylor has officially assumed the role of interim President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Harry Taylor, WestJet Interim President and CEO

The WestJet group announced Taylor as the interim President and CEO on September 15, 2021, following news of Ed Sims retirement announced on June 9, 2021.

“I am honoured to take on the interim role of CEO at this pivotal time for the WestJet Group, and am focused on our relentless commitment to safety above all while ensuring continuity for our recovery, as we rebuild our airlines for our guests and our people,” said Harry Taylor, interim President and CEO. “By the end of the year, we will return our entire fleet to service for the peak holiday travel season, connecting loved ones and fulfilling long awaited vacations plans. I look forward to leading our organization through this crucial phase of our recovery, while we continue our search for a permanent CEO.” 

From previous releases
“I am extremely pleased Harry has agreed to take on this interim role,” said the WestJet Group Board Chair Chris Burley. “Our global search for a permanent CEO continues, and on behalf of WestJet and the board, we are grateful Harry has stepped up to help us through this critical transition.”

Harry Taylor joined WestJet in 2015 as Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). During this time, he led the airline’s inaugural U.S. bond issue, negotiated the purchase of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing MAX aircraft, and was instrumental in the sale of WestJet to Onex. Through the pandemic, Harry led the Finance team in managing WestJet’s liquidity to ensure sustainability with little to no revenue coming in.

“I want to thank Ed for his contributions to WestJet’s strategy and growth initiatives over the past four years,” said Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors. “Ed has led WestJet through the worst crisis in aviation history and will see us through to the end of 2021. We owe our relative strength and stability in no small measure to Ed’s leadership and steady hand. On a personal note, we’re pleased that Ed will be able to rejoin his family in New Zealand at the end of the year.”    

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

WestJet Eyes New Service to Spokane with Regional Subsidiary

From Airline Geeks – link to source story

A WestJet Link Saab 340
A WestJet Link Saab 340. (Photo: WestJet)

By Winston Shek | November 28, 2021

If all goes as planned with the application, Spokane will receive a daily flight to Calgary and a daily flight to Vancouver, allowing for the airport’s first scheduled international air service in more than a decade. From 1997 to 2004, the airport received its only international service from Calgary on Canadian regional carrier Central Mountain Air operating under the Air Canada code via Beech 1900D turboprop 18-seater aircraft. Earlier in the 1990s, United Airlines and now-defunct AirBC serviced Calgary from Spokane.

This move marks Spokane’s third newest airline slated to launch service at the airport. One of the U.S.’s latest airline startups, aha!, plans to start service later this year to Reno, Nev. on its Embraer E145 aircraft. Meanwhile, Sun Country plans to launch summer-seasonal services to its hub in Minneapolis on its Boeing 737s.

During the pandemic, Spokane benefitted from three new routes, including two new services to Las Vegas and Phoenix on Allegiant and a new American Airlines flight to Chicago. However, Spokane will lose some Frontier Airlines service as the carrier resumes its flying in August 2022.

WestJet Expansion

It is unclear when WestJet will commence these flights, though this will mark WestJet Link’s only service to the U.S., not to be confused with WestJet’s other regional subsidiary, WestJet Encore.

WestJet will launch its flights with Pacific Coastal Airlines’ Saab 340s, holding a total of 34 passengers in a 1-2 seating configuration. Currently, WestJet Link operates three Saab 340s, though a total of six Saab 340s can fly on the route.

WestJet Link was launched in 2017 to boost regional connectivity to WestJet’s hubs in Vancouver and Calgary. The regional airline started service in March 2018, expanding to several smaller regional destinations in Alberta and British Columbia like Medicine Hat. WestJet’s other regional subsidiary, WestJet Encore, operates the larger Bombardier Dash 8-400 to larger cities and some transborder hops to destinations like Boston or Nashville.

Currently, WestJet services 22 airports in the mainland U.S., including five destinations each in California and Florida. This winter, the Calgary-based carrier plans to add three routes to the mainland U.S., including a flight to its newest destination, Miami. In the Pacific Northwest, WestJet services Seattle and Portland, Ore., making Spokane a possible third destination in the region.

In addition to its moves in the U.S., WestJet plans to embark on a transatlantic expansion. Last week, the carrier inked a codeshare deal with Air Transat to expand the breadth of its European network. From Toronto, WestJet will launch new services to Dublin, Ireland and Edinburgh, Scotland with its Boeing 737 MAX, while from Calgary, Westjet will add new services to London and Rome, the latter of which was previously scheduled to launch in May 2020.