Air Canada Pilots Association Elects New Chair of Governing Council

TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2021 /CNW/ – The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), Canada’s single largest pilot group, has elected First Officer Gary Russell as Chair of its highest governing body, the Master Elected Council. First Officer Russell will serve as MEC Chair for the remainder of the current term, which concludes March 31, 2022.

ACPA MEC Chair, First Officer Gary Russell. (CNW Group/Air Canada Pilots Association)
ACPA MEC Chair, First Officer Gary Russell. (CNW Group/Air Canada Pilots Association)

First Officer Russell, a B-787 Captain based in Vancouver, is a passionate advocate for pilots and the profession. Prior to his election as Master Elected Council (MEC) Chair in October 2021, he served on the MEC as a Nationally Elected Member twice (2016-2019 and 2021). First Officer Russell has been actively involved in the Association in a number of roles, including as LEC Councillor, Trustee and Chair of the External Affairs Committee.

Like many pilots in Canada, First Officer Russell began his flying career as a flight instructor and later a pilot in Northern Canada before being hired by Air Canada in 2007 on the Embraer.

“I consider working on behalf of my fellow pilots to be a calling, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said First Officer Russell. “As the world and aviation industry recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to ensure our membership has a strong voice and our profession is protected. I thank the MEC for their confidence in me.”

The MEC is ACPA’s governing body, directing both policy and administration of the Association. The MEC is composed of Local Elected Council Chairs and Vice-Chairs who are elected by pilots from home bases in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, as well as Nationally MEC Members, who are chosen by all Air Canada pilots in national elections.

As Chair, First Officer Russell will preside over MEC meetings and act as the pilots’ principal representative to Air Canada on employment matters, including negotiation and administration of their collective agreement. The Chair speaks on behalf of the MEC and is the official spokesperson for ACPA. The Chair works with the Association’s Chief Executive Officer to pursue ACPA’s broader objectives and policies.

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) currently represents approximately 3,600 commercial pilots, with 600 furloughed during the COVID crisis and the first of them beginning to return to active status.  These highly skilled professional pilots fly passengers and cargo across Canada and around the world on Air Canada and Air Canada rouge.

Air Canada Vs Air Canada Rouge – What’s The Difference?

From Simply Flying – link to source story

by Justin Hayward | November 2, 2021

Passengers flying with Air Canada are often confused by its different brands. Air Canada Rouge is the most notable of these. It is a separately registered airline but a subsidiary of Air Canada. Flights are often integrated into Air Canada itineraries, but separate bookings can be lower priced. The main differences are typical of other low-cost airlines – with more densely packed seating and fewer onboard inclusions.

Air Canada Rouge A321
Air Canada Rouge A321. Photo: Air Canada

Other brands from Air Canada

Air Canada operates several subsidiaries and other brands. Air Canada Express is a brand used for feeder flights operated by a separate regional airline. Air Canada Jetz operates a small fleet of business-class configured Airbus A319s for private hire. Air Canada Cargo usurpingly handles cargo operations. There have also been a number of previous brands, including Air Canada Tango and Zip.

Air Canada Jetz A319
Air Canada Jetz offers the A319 for charter hire. Photo: Air Canada

Integrated airline

Air Canada Rouge is a separate airline but is fully integrated into the Air Canada network. Flights are technically operated as codeshares (as Air Canada Rouge is registered as a separate airline). They carry Air Canada ‘AC’ flight numbers but will be marked on schedules as “operated by Air Canada Rouge.” Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, and Air Canada Rouge is an affiliate member. Miles are earned on Air Canada Rouge flights in the Air Canada Aeroplan scheme, and they share the Maple Leaf lounges for eligible customers.

As for routes, Air Canada Rouge mainly operates routes within Canada and to the US, Central America, and the Caribbean. On several of these routes, there are choices between Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

It previously operated several routes to Europe, but these were dropped when it retired its Boeing 767 aircraft. There is talk of European services resuming with narrowbody aircraft, but this has not happened yet.

Air Canada A321
Many itineraries will involve both airlines. Photo: Air Canada

Operating an all-Airbus narrowbody fleet

Air Canada Rouge’s fleet is very different from that of Air Canada. It currently operates an all-Airbus fleet. In its narrowbody fleet, Air Canada operates the Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A220 and the Boeing 737 MAX 8. It has more A220s and 737s still on order.

Air Canada Rouge now operates just Airbus, with 20 A319s, five A320s, and 14 A321s (according to fleet data from It retired its Boeing 767 aircraft in 2020 (it previously operated up to 25 767s, mainly on European routes but also for a time to Japan).

Air Canada Rouge A319
Air Canada Rouge operates the A319, A320, and A321. Photo: Air Canada

As of September 2021, the fleet has just re-entered service. The airline suspended flights for a second time during the pandemic in February 2021 and is re-introducing some services from September. Whether all the aircraft return to active service remains to be seen.

Air Canada Rouge cabin
The Air Canada Rouge cabin has slimline seats. Photo: Air Canada

As you would expect from a low-cost focussed airline, its aircraft are more densely configured than Air Canada’s. On the A320, for example, Air Canada Rouge fits 150 economy and 12 business class (Premium Rouge) seats. Air Canada has 132 economy and 14 business class seats on the same aircraft.

Air Canada cabin
Air Canada offers a more spacious economy cabin. Photo: Air Canada

Different onboard service and ticket inclusions

Again as you would expect from a low-cost airline, services included in the ticket and offered onboard differ between the two airlines – but are better than you often receive from a low-cost airline. In economy class, meals are available to purchase with both airlines. Both airlines have the same baggage policies as well.

Air Canada offers seatback screens on most aircraft. With Rouge, there are options to stream content from your own device.

Unlike many other low-cost airlines or subsidiaries, Air Canada Rouge offers a business class product called Premium Rouge. This is more similar to that offered by Air Canada, and you will notice fewer differences if traveling this way. They both offer larger seats arranged 2-2 and include meals and drinks.

Air Canada Rouge Premium cabin. Photo: Air Canada
The Air Canada Premium Rouge cabin is similar to Air Canada’s regional business class. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada to Launch New Flights Connecting Toronto to Santo Domingo

  • Two flights per week beginning Dec. 16
  • Convenient connections across Canada via airline’s Toronto global hub\

MONTREAL, October 18, 2021 – Air Canada today announced it will launch new seasonal service between Toronto and Santo Domingo as the airline continues rebuilding its North American network. Air Canada’s new Santo Domingo flights will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Dec. 16 onboard Air Canada Rouge aircraft featuring Premium Rouge and Economy services, product enhancements including upgraded streaming entertainment and options to purchase high-speed wi-fi. Seats are available for sale through all booking channels including and via travel agents.

“As travel restrictions ease, we are committed to rebuilding our international network to connect the world to Canada, reunite people with families, friends, and business colleagues,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “Our Santo Domingo flights connect to and from our flights across Canada at our Toronto global hub to offer easy and convenient access to Dominican Republic’s capital city, a destination that is steeped in rich culture, history including location of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in addition to being the country’s commercial and financial centre. With our industry-leading CleanCare+ biosafety protocols, Air Canada has health and safety as its top priority. We look forward to welcoming our customers onboard.”

“We are delighted to receive at SDQ this new direct flight from YYZ with Air Canada, which will allow more Canadian tourists to visit the magnificent hotels and the wide variety of recreation and entertainment options the Dominican Republic has to offer. This route will also serve the growing business and visiting friends and relatives demand; and will allow to expand the growing cargo exchange between both countries,” said Fabien Gourdon, Chief Commercial Officer of Aerodom.

Flight Route Departure Time Arrival Time Aircraft Day of Operation 
AC1722 Toronto to Santo Domingo09:05 14:25 Airbus A321 and A319Tuesday, Thursday
AC1723 Santo Domingo to Toronto  15:4019:15Airbus A321 and A319Tuesday, Thursday

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

Travelling internationally? Visit Air Canada’s Travel Ready Hub for information on the latest government entry requirements.

Foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated with Government of Canada-accepted vaccines at least 14 days prior and who meet specific entry requirements may enter Canada for non-essential travel. See the Government of Canada’s full list of requirements for travellers entering Canada.  

Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions which may change with little notice. Passengers are responsible for ensuring they meet all government entry requirements, including holding the correct travel documents, visas, any required health certificates, and all other eligibility requirements for any flights they purchase.  

Travel Policy: Book with confidence 

Air Canada’s new refund policy is applicable to all tickets purchased.  It offers customers the option of a full refund to the original form of payment, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or the equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65% bonus should the airline cancel or reschedule a flight by more than three hours.  

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. 

All Airbus: Air Canada Rouge Goes Full Narrowbody

From Simply Flying – link to source story – Thanks CW

by James Pearson | September 20, 2021

Air Canada Rouge, the lower-cost subsidiary and leisure airline of the Canadian flag carrier, took to the skies again in September. With the B767-300ER gone, its 39-strong fleet is now exclusively Airbus. They’re used on 60 routes until the end of the year as it rebuilds its network.

The A321 is crucial to Air Canada Rouge, with this example delivered directly to the carrier in 2015. Photo: Liam Allport via Flickr.

Air Canada Rouge has resumed flying

Air Canada Rouge relaunched with an initial three routes from Toronto: Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, in the distant province of Saskatchewan. These were joined by Toronto to Cancun and Tampa a few days later, with all five routes using 200-seat A321ceos.

These were its first flights since February, with the seven-month grounding due to Canada’s non-essential travel ban and the suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico – two of its essential markets – at the request of the Canadian government. Rouge’s resumption coincided with Canada reopening its borders on September 7th to fully vaccinated foreigners.

Air Canada Rouge A321
Most international routes are by the A321 with stronger economics than the A319/A320. Remember, it is a lower-cost airline, i.e. about the cost of production rather than fares. Photo: Air Canada.

Now exclusively Airbus

Rouge’s fleet is now entirely narrowbody, shows, with 20 A319s, 14 A321s, and just five A320s. This follows the retirement of its B767-300ERs, of which it had 25 at one point.

Its 767s were, of course, mainly used long-haul, including across Europe and South America, and the type’s routes had an average of 2,378 miles, OAG indicates. At 5,063 miles, Toronto-Athens was its longest-ever 767 route, but Toronto to Las Vegas had the most flights.

Air Canada Rouge A319
Air Canada Rouge has 20 A319s, with an average age of 23.5 years. Photo: Air Canada.

Currently, five aircraft are active

According to and confirmed by Flightradar24, only five of its 39-strong fleet – some 13% – is currently active, all A321s. Its A321 fleet has an average age of just 6.1 years, far younger than its A319s (23.5 years; to be retired) and A320s (14.2 years). The younger A321s were delivered directly to Air Canada Rouge.

No widebodies go hand-in-hand with Rouge previously saying that it’ll concentrate on routes within narrowbody range. Air Canada will instead operate suitably good-performing long-haul routes – many have already switched – in a rejigging of networks and focusing on relative strengths.

One of many examples is Toronto to Edinburgh, which was by Rouge’s 767s and from 2022 will instead be by its parent’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s from June 1st. It’ll compete directly with WestJet. Another: Toronto to Bogota, in Rouge’s hands from 2016, is now by Air Canada’s B787s and A330-300s.

Air Canada Rouge
Air Canada Rouge had up to 25 B767-300ERs. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

What’s the plan to the end of the year?

Between September 20th and December 31st, Rouge has scheduled 60 routes. Thirty-nine of these are to/from Toronto, with most of the rest from Montreal. With over 2,700 outbound flights planned, the domestic market has almost four in ten departures, comprising eight routes from Toronto.

Air Canada Rouge's network Sept 1st to Dec 31st
This is Air Canada Rouge’s network between September 20th and December 31st. Image: OAG Mapper.

Toronto to Québec City has the most flights

Some 13 international countries will welcome Rouge’s flights, with the US the most-served, followed by Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. Toronto to Miami has the most international flights, as shown below, although the 456-mile domestic link from Toronto to Québec City (YQB) is the most-served, with 28 weekly departures from November.

  1. Toronto-Québec City
  2. Toronto-Moncton
  3. Toronto-Thunder Bay
  4. Toronto-Miami
  5. Toronto-Las Vegas
  6. Toronto-Tampa
  7. Toronto-Fort Myers
  8. Toronto-Fredericton
  9. Montreal-Orlando
  10. Montreal-Miami

Air Canada Rouge Returns to The Skies Offering More Choice for Leisure Travellers

  • Resumed service features updated uniforms and enhanced streaming entertainment
  • Updated cabin interior to be available on select aircraft starting this fall

MONTREAL, Sept. 7, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada’s leisure airline, resumed service today with flights operating between Toronto and Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, with other destinations being introduced in September, including Cancun and Tampa.

“Air Canada Rouge remains integral to Air Canada’s overall strategy. As we emerge from the pandemic, we anticipate increased demand for vacation travel and from customers flying to enjoy overdue visits with family and friends. Air Canada’s leisure airline is ideally suited to serve this market with a compelling array of leisure destinations and an inviting travel experience so that the holidays begin as soon as customers board an Air Canada Rouge aircraft,” said Jon Turner, Vice President Inflight Services and President, Rouge Operations, at Air Canada.

Air Canada Rouge also provided a sneak peek of the cabin interior that will be available on nine Airbus A321 aircraft of the 39-aircraft Rouge Fleet, with the first entering service later this fall.

A321 Rouge Premium Economy

These nine aircraft feature a new contemporary interior design with playful Rouge brand accents and will be configured with leather seats, with 30-inch seat pitch in the Economy cabin. The A321 Rouge aircraft also offer upgraded personal power options, including USB-C ports, and a convenient personal electronic device holder integrated into the seatback.

A321 Rouge Economy

With the resumption of Air Canada Rouge service, which had been suspended since spring 2021, customers can also enjoy recent product and design enhancements onboard all Rouge aircraft. These include:

  • Upgraded streaming entertainment – customers no longer need to use an app to stream content; customers can now stream hours of television and movies available on a complimentary basis directly to their own device via their web browser, or their complimentary, sanitized iPad in Premium Rouge. 
  • Refreshed uniforms – Rouge flight attendants will be sporting a new uniform featuring many pieces of the award-winning Air Canada mainline uniform, accented with new neckwear and brevets to represent the Rouge brand.

All Air Canada Rouge flights are operated with narrow-body Airbus aircraft offering high-speed Wi-Fi (available for purchase) and a choice of Premium Rouge and Economy services. Customers travelling in the Premium Rouge cabin will be offered a complimentary bar and beverage service, and a complimentary meal on flights over two hours, or a snack on flights of shorter duration.

All flights are operated using the Air Canada CleanCare+ suite of biosafety measures. Customers can collect and redeem Aeroplan points through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges, priority boarding and other benefits. 

More information about Air Canada Rouge flights can be found at:

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. 

Air Canada Launches Two New Connections to Florida and More Frequent Flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic from Quebec City

  • New connections to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale starting in November 2021
  • The airline is resuming its international service to Punta Cana and Cancun with more frequent flights

MONTREAL, July 29, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada is pleased to announce two new winter services departing from Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB): Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, two very popular sun destinations in Florida, highly favoured by Quebecers. Flights to Fort Lauderdale will start on November 19 and flights to Orlando on December 17. Starting December 4, Air Canada will also be offering more flights to Punta Cana and Cancun.

“We’re excited to be launching these two new routes to Florida from Quebec City, a first for Air Canada. We know that, for many Quebecers, Florida is a popular place for winter vacations,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “Punta Cana and Cancun are also among the most popular tropical destinations, and we are happy to be able to bring back these connections. These routes will not only provide more diverse flight options for Quebec City residents but will also strengthen our foothold in a growing market and better serve the Jean Lesage International Airport, our long–time partner. Now that restrictions are easing, it’s time to start travelling again and book your escape to the sun. We can’t wait to see you back on board.”

“We’re delighted that Air Canada is resuming its international flights from Quebec City to destinations as popular as Cancun, Punta Cana, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale,” said Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). “Not only has Air Canada decided to bring back some pre-pandemic connections, but it has also chosen to invest in our market by increasing the frequency and adding two new destinations to the schedule for winter 2021. Now that we can finally travel again, it’s essential that the people in the Greater Quebec City area are able to depart from YQB. This announcement is the result of a fruitful and beneficial collaboration between Air Canada and YQB.”

Air Canada flights out of Quebec City will be operated by Rouge on Airbus A319 planes that can accommodate 136 passengers. Seats can be booked on or the Air Canada app, as well as through Air Canada service centres and travel agencies.

ConnectionFrequencyStart date
Quebec City–
Fort Lauderdale
Up to 4 x weeklyNovember 19
Quebec City–Orlando1 x weeklyDecember 17
Quebec City–Punta Cana2 x weeklyDecember 5
Quebec City–Cancun2 x weeklyDecember 4

Travel policy, for booking with complete confidence

Air Canada’s new refund policy will apply to all tickets purchased. The airline offers a full refund based on the original form of payment, an Air Canada travel voucher or the equivalent in Aeroplan points, plus an additional 65 per cent if the airline has to cancel a flight or change the schedule by more than three hours.

Are you travelling abroad? Check our COVID-19 hub or IATA’s Timatic website for the most recent government entry requirements. Passengers are responsible for making sure they meet all government entry requirements. In particular, they will need to have all required travel documents, visas and health certificates and comply with all other entry criteria that apply to the flights for which they have purchased tickets. Government requirements may change at short notice.

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.

Air Canada cabin crews no longer forced to cover ‘discreet’ tattoos or remove ear or nose piercings: arbitrator

The union said that forcing workers to cover their discreet tattoos and remove their additional piercings caused them stress and anxiety

Christopher Nardi  •  May 21, 2021

Air Canada cabin crews may be a little more decorated from now on.
Air Canada cabin crews may be a little more decorated from now on. PHOTO BY BRYAN PASSIFIUME/POSTMEDIA

OTTAWA – In a reflection of changing social norms, a labour arbitrator has ruled that cabin crew on Air Canada flights should be allowed to sport discreet but visible tattoos, as well as piercings in their ears and nose without fear of disciplinary action.

Until last week, Air Canada’s personnel policy did not formally allow any cabin personnel from having any visible tattoos and piercings (minus a pair of matching stud earrings) while on duty.

But in a brief but impactful ruling, labour arbitrator William Kaplan put an end to much of the policy described by Air Canada’s cabin crew union as “unreasonable and discriminatory.”

So going forward, don’t be surprised if you see Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge cabin crew sporting any of the following, as now allowed by the arbitrator:

  • Henna tattoos, a temporary form of body art generally using a paste from certain plants, so long as they are worn for any religious, cultural or celebratory reason.
  • Visible but “discreet” tattoos anywhere except on most of the head or neck, so long as they are not offensive or refer to “nudity, hatred, violence, drugs, alcohol, discrimination or harassment.”

Kaplan also makes significant changes to both airlines’ very strict policy on piercings by bumping the maximum of acceptable earrings per ear from one to three, as well as allowing a single nose piercing.

But not anything goes in terms of piercings. For earrings, they must be made of either plain gold, rose gold, silver, diamond, wood or pearl and must be a stud “no larger than a quarter inch” or a hoop that is no bigger than a Canadian dime, the arbitrator ruled.

Nose piercings must also be either a stud or hoop that must fit “flush or snug against the nostril.” Any visible adornment that stretches the ear or nose in any way, such as spacers, gauges, plugs or tunnels are still forbidden.

In his ruling, Kaplan disagreed with Air Canada’s assertion that their policies were “reasonable and not discriminatory” and that they were necessary to both protect the companies’ image as well as ensure customers’ views and values were being respected.

“I agree that the Companies’ image is important to their brands, and that customers’ views and values are important.  Indeed, other airlines have policies regarding tattoos and piercings,” Kaplan wrote.

“However, it is not clear that the Companies’ tattoo and piercings policies, in their present form, are necessary to advance their business interests,” he added, noting that the changes are also to ensure the airlines’ policies comply with the collective bargaining agreement and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

In his ruling, the arbitrator also requires Air Canada to expunge any disciplinary action relating to the now-defunct tattoo and piercing policies from impacted employees’ records.

Kaplan’s decision formalizes an agreement between the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the airline reached after the union filed a grievance back in 2019 against the company’s personal grooming standards.

On social media, the union said that forcing workers to cover their discreet tattoos and remove their additional piercings caused them stress and anxiety.

“We are extremely pleased we were able to work with our national carrier to come to an agreement on tattoos, henna and piercings being visible in the workplace,” local union president Wesley Lesosky said in a statement.

“This decision is good news for our members. It’s a precedent-setting award not just in the airline sector but across the board, and reflects an evolving and more accepting view towards free expression in the workplace.”

In a statement, Air Canada said the ruling is a sign of the times, where visible tattoos and multiple piercings are increasingly accepted without being viewed as a mark of unprofessionalism.

“Air Canada accepts this ruling as it provides clarity with respect to this matter. Social norms evolve and as a consequence corporate policies do change over time to reflect these, so we will be updating our policy accordingly and implementing this decision,” spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote in a statement.

Citing confidentiality reasons, both CUPE and Air Canada declined to say how many employees had been disciplined in the past for visible tattoos and unacceptable piercings or what kind of sanctions they faced. But Lesosky said no financial compensation would be required by any employees.

He also hopes workers for other airlines with similarly restrictive tattoo and piercing are encouraged to speak up thanks to this case.

“This is the first ruling of its type for the sector, and certainly this would open the door for other groups within the airline sector to pursue a similar course of action,” the union president said.

Air Canada Eyes Completion Of Boeing 767 Conversions Next Year

From Simple Flying – link to source story

By Chris Loh | February 13, 2021

With its continued efforts to diversify its revenue streams and capitalize on the demand for cargo transportation, Air Canada is hoping to convert seven of its retired Rouge Boeing 767s by the end of 2022.  Nearly two years away from this goal, the airline at least hopes to have two of the conversions complete by the end of 2021.

Rouge 767
The 767s come from Air Canada’s budget-leisure brand, Rouge. Photo: Tomas del Coro via Wikimedia Commons 

2020 was a devastating year for many airlines, including Air Canada. As part of its recent earnings reports, the Canadian carrier quantified its heavy losses by showing that it took an overall operating loss of nearly C$3.8 billion (nearly US$3 billion). To Air Canada’s leadership, it was “the bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation.”

Despite the gloomy situation, the airline highlighted some of its successes and achievements over the course of 2020. This included its ability to quickly pivot to cargo-only operations and reduce cash burn. Part of this expenditure-reduction sadly resulted in the retirement of 79 aircraft and the cancelation of some new aircraft orders, namely some Airbus A220 and 737 MAX jets.

As the airline continues to face hard-hitting international travel restrictions imposed by the government of Canada, it is hoping that cargo operations will have a larger part of its revenue stream.

Capitalizing on cargo

The initial pivot to cargo-only flights took the form of modifying its passenger aircraft to allow for freight in the passenger cabin. This was first seen on some of the carrier’s Boeing 777s and carried over to an Airbus A330. These weren’t full-on cargo conversions, however. Instead, the airline removed seats and installed netting and floor-markings (to ensure safe weight-distribution across the passenger deck).

As part of the airline’s Q3 2020 earnings call, it was revealed that there were plans to convert some retired Boeing 767s into permanent freighters. The 767s most recently had flown as part of the Air Canada Rouge brand.Advertisement:

Since that call, Air Canada has managed to strike an agreement with its pilots for an appropriate level of pay for cargo flights. The airline said this had to be done to remain competitive with other freight carriers.

Now, as part of the airline’s most recent earnings call, we have a little more clarity on the timeline for these 767 conversions.

767 conversion timeline

Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s EVP & CCO, noted in the call that the airline’s first two freighters are expected to be in service in time for this year’s fourth-quarter peak airfreight season.

With seven 767s on the list for conversion, it looks like the remaining five will be converted next year, in 2022. This was confirmed by the carrier’s current Chief Financial Officer and future Chief Executive during the earnings call in which Simple Flying attended:

“We’d love to have all seven up and operating by the end of next year. These are typically little bit of a longer process and slots are not really available, but we are certainly working on having all seven up and running by Q4 of next year.” – Michael Rousseau, deputy chief executive officer & chief financial officer, Air Canada

Rouge 767
The airline’s Rouge sub-brand is currently grounded – particularly as a result of the Canadian government’s restrictions on flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Photo: Lord of the Wings via Wikimedia Commons 

Rousseau’s comments on conversion slot availability allude to the fact that aircraft conversion services are seeing high demand from air operators to convert old passenger aircraft into freighters.

Apart from the two being converted this year, it looks like Air Canada will just have to wait further back in line to have the majority of its old 767s converted.

WestJet lays off 120 cabin crew due to Mexico and Caribbean route cancellations

From CBC News – link to source story

About 2,900 airline jobs have been cut in Canada so far this year

The Canadian Press · Posted: Feb 05, 2021

WestJet will lay off 120 cabin crew as of March 2. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

WestJet Airlines Ltd. will lay off 120 cabin crew members as of March 2, blaming the measure on the lack of flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.

The employees were told about the additional cuts on Friday morning, WestJet spokeswoman Morgan Bell said.

“We continue to provide all eligible laid-off employees access to CEWS [Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy] and have no additional workforce updates to announce at this time,” Bell said.

The layoffs come as Canadian airlines agree, at the request of the federal government, to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30.

Canada is also implementing new measures such as mandatory hotel quarantines for international travellers arriving in the country, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the new government measures, Air Canada said Friday that it is weighing measures such as shortened work weeks to temporarily reduce management levels as a way of preserving cash.

“We continue to manage staffing levels through mitigation as the situation requires, just as we have done since the start of the pandemic,” Air Canada spokeswoman Pascale Dery said.

Air Canada also said this week that it will pause all operations of Air Canada Rouge and lay off 80 employees starting Feb. 8 as a result of the flight suspensions.

Operation suspensions

Air Canada’s flights to Mexico and the Caribbean had been operated primarily by Rouge, Air Canada said Thursday. Rouge’s operations were suspended for part of 2020, but were resumed ahead of the winter travel season.

Friday’s announcement by WestJet follows other rounds of layoffs in the airline sector since the start of 2021, after a spike in virus cases prompted additional travel restrictions.

Air Canada announced last month that it would lay off around 1,700 workers and cut more routes after seeing a drop in travel demand. WestJet also laid off 1,000 workers in January and further reduced its flight schedule.

As of Jan. 7, travellers to Canada have been required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, a measure that airlines say has had an immediate impact on bookings.

Air Canada temporarily grounding all Rouge flights starting Monday

From City News Toronto – link to source story


Air Canada Rouge Airbus

All Air Canada Rouge flights will be paused beginning Monday.

The airline is citing new restrictions brought in by the Canadian government that effectively ban flights to sunny destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roughly 80 employees have been handed temporary layoffs.

This isn’t the first interruption for Rouge service. Flights were suspended for most of last year but restarted in November ahead of the winter travel season.

Air Canada says Rouge remains a part of its long-term business plan.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat  would suspend service to Caribbean destinations and Mexico between January 31, and April 30.

“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Trudeau said last Friday.

“By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations.”

With files from the Canadian Press