Category: Air Canada

Air Canada to Launch Seasonal Flights Between Calgary and London, Ontario

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

Convenient connections at Calgary hub throughout Alberta and BC

MONTREAL, Feb. 21, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it will launch new daily, seasonal flights between Calgary and London, Ontario beginning June 24, 2019 until mid-October.  Flights will be operated onboard Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 aircraft with a choice of two cabins, wi-fi options and in-flight entertainment streamed to personal devices.

Air Canada to Launch Seasonal Flights Between Calgary and London, Ontario (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada to Launch Seasonal Flights Between Calgary and London, Ontario (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“We are pleased to expand Air Canada’s domestic network linking London, Ontario to our Calgary hub with daily seasonal flights this summer.  We have strategically added these non-stop services between the considerable southern Ontario market and Alberta to offer both convenient point-to-point travel, as well as easy connections at our Calgary hub to and from destinations throughout Alberta and BC including Vancouver Island,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning at Air Canada.  “In London, the addition of Calgary flights complements our flights to Montreal and Toronto, giving customers in the greater southwestern Ontario region unparalleled options of connecting over three convenient hubs when travelling to their final destinations this summer.”

“This is wonderful news for travellers throughout southwestern Ontario,” says Mike Seabrook, CEO of London International Airport. “Air Canada continues to demonstrate their commitment to our region and have been steadily increasing the number of destinations that they serve from London. With our “Easy and Comfortable” approach to travel at London International, passengers are going to love this new service.”

“This new flight offers Albertans a direct link to western Ontario and will make for a shorter journey to western Canadafor passengers from the east,” said Michael Hayward, Vice President, Marketing and Guest Experience, The Calgary Airport Authority. “We’d like to thank and congratulate Air Canada on this new flight.”

Flight #DepartLocal TimeArriveLocal Time
AC1697London, ON (YXU)07:00Calgary (YYC)09:08
AC1698Calgary (YYC)16:10London, ON (YXU)21:58

Flights are now available for purchase along with special promotional fares at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, through Air Canada’s Contact Centres, and through travel agents.

All Air Canada flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access at main airports, priority boarding and other benefits.

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Air Canada to Implement Recently Increased Foreign Ownership Levels

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 15, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada (TSX: AC) today announced that it will seek shareholder approval at its 2019 annual and special meeting of shareholders to amend its articles of incorporation to increase the limits of foreign ownership and control of its voting shares to those permitted by amendments made to the Canada Transportation ACT (CTA) in 2018.  The amendments to its articles will be undertaken by way of a court supervised and shareholder approved statutory plan of arrangement.

Prior to the CTA amendments, no more than 25% of the voting interests of a Canadian air carrier could be owned or controlled by non-Canadians. The Government of Canada’s stated purpose in implementing the CTA amendments is to attract more foreign investment and encourage growth in the aviation sector by increasing, from 25% to 49%, the permitted level of foreign ownership of Canadian air carriers.  At the same time, the CTA amendments introduced two new limitations on voting ownership and control, by capping the voting rights of single non-Canadians and of the aggregate of non-Canadian air carriers at 25%.

Completion of the plan of arrangement is subject to shareholder approval and approval of the Quebec Superior Court.  Full details regarding the plan of arrangement will be included in the management proxy circular which will be made available to Air Canada shareholders in connection with the shareholder meeting.

Air Canada Reports 2018 Annual Results

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Operating income of $1.174 billion and EBITDAR of $2.851 billion
  • Record operating revenues of $18.065 billion
  • Leverage ratio of 2.1 and record unrestricted liquidity of $5.725 billion
  • Q4 operating income of $122 million and record Q4 EBITDAR of $543 million

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 15, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today reported full year 2018 EBITDAR(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and aircraft rent) of $2.851 billion compared to full year 2017 record EBITDAR of $2.928 billion.  Air Canada reported an EBITDAR margin of 15.8 per cent, in line with its projections.  Air Canada reported 2018 operating income of $1.174 billion compared to 2017 operating income of $1.371 billion.  Adjusted pre-tax income(1) amounted to $952 million in 2018 compared to adjusted pre-tax income of $1.165 billion in 2017.  On a GAAP basis, the airline reported net income of $167 million in 2018 compared to net income of $2.029 billion in 2017.  The decrease of $1.862 billion in net income year-over-year is mainly due to an increase in net tax expense of $981 million, unfavourable foreign exchange results of $437 million and Air Canada having a recorded a loss on disposal of assets of $188 million in 2018. 

“I am very pleased with Air Canada’s solid fourth quarter results with record EBITDAR of $543 million, and operating income of $122 million.  These quarterly results showed an improvement over last year’s fourth quarter on many fronts – including passenger revenues, traffic and yield – and complete a strong fiscal year.  Moreover, they demonstrate the resiliency of our business model and affirm that Air Canada has positioned itself for long-term, sustainable profitability. During the year, we successfully managed many challenges, including intensifying competition and a volatile fuel price environment which resulted in approximately $1 billion in additional costs or 30 per cent more than 2017,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada.

“Our strategy generated record operating revenues of more than $18 billion in 2018.  Combined with a strong adjusted CASM performance, we ended the year with record unrestricted liquidity of more than $5.7 billion and a leverage ratio of 2.1, positioning us well on our path towards investment grade.  The added financial flexibility these results give our company further bolsters our already confident outlook, based on current positive business trends.

“We carried a record 50.9 million customers in 2018, which is evidence of the success of our commercial strategy and the strength of the Air Canada brand. To further heighten our customer appeal, we are investing strategically in product and service enhancements, including a new enhanced reservation platform system planned to start operating later this year, a new loyalty program launching in 2020 to strengthen our recently completed Aimia Canada acquisition and our ongoing fleet renewal.

“Another outward sign of Air Canada’s success in 2018 was the number of significant awards won by our airline, notably Eco-Airline of the Year, a global recognition, and, for the second consecutive year, Best Airline in North America from Skytrax. These and a variety of other talent and sustainability awards are proof of the professionalism and commitment of Air Canada’s 30,000 employees, whom I thank for their hard work and dedication. I also thank our customers for their continued loyalty and for continuing to choose to fly Air Canada in record numbers,” said Mr. Rovinescu.

Full Year Income Statement Highlights

In 2018, on capacity growth of 7.1 per cent, record system passenger revenues of $16.223 billion increased $1.63 billion or 11.2 per cent from 2017.  The increase in system passenger revenues was driven by traffic growth of 8.5 per cent and a yield increase of 2.5 per cent.  An increase in average stage length of 2.1 per cent had the effect of reducing system yield by 1.2 percentage points. On a stage-length adjusted basis, system yield increased 3.7 per cent year-over-year.

In the business cabin, system passenger revenues increased $376 million or 13.2 per cent from 2017 on traffic and yield growth of 9.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively.

In 2018, operating expenses of $16.891 billion increased $2.01 billion or 14 per cent from 2017, mainly driven by higher fuel prices year-over-year and by the increase in capacity.

Air Canada’s cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 6.0 per cent from 2017.  The airline’s adjusted CASM(1)increased 0.3 per cent from 2017, in line with the range of no increase to an increase of 0.75 per cent projected in Air Canada’s October 31, 2018 news release. 

Air Canada recorded adjusted net income(1) of $677 million or $2.45 per diluted share in 2018 compared to adjusted net income of $1.145 billion or $4.11 per diluted share in 2017.  On a GAAP basis, the airline reported 2018 net income of $167 million or $0.60 per diluted share compared to 2017 net income of $2.029 billion or $7.31 per diluted share.  In 2018, Air Canada recorded foreign exchange losses of $317 million and a loss on disposal of assets of $188 million.  In 2017, Air Canada recorded a deferred income tax recovery of $759 million and foreign exchange gains of $120 million. 

Fourth Quarter Income Statement Highlights

In the fourth quarter of 2018, on capacity growth of 5.8 per cent, record system passenger revenues of $3.795 billionincreased $386 million or 11.3 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017.  The increase in system passenger revenues was driven by traffic growth of 7.2 per cent and a yield improvement of 3.8 per cent.  An increase in average stage length of 1.2 per cent had the effect of reducing system yield by 0.7 percentage points. On a stage-length adjusted basis, fourth quarter system yield increased 4.5 per cent year-over-year.

In the business cabin, system passenger revenues increased $92 million or 12.5 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017 on traffic and yield growth of 9.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, operating expenses of $4.124 billion increased $437 million or 12 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017, mainly driven by higher fuel prices year-over-year and the increase in capacity.

Air Canada’s cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 5.7 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017.  The airline’s adjusted CASM increased 0.5 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017, better than the 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent increase projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 31, 2018. Air Canada’s better than expected adjusted CASM performance was largely due to lower aircraft maintenance expense, driven by a favourable annual adjustment related to end-of-lease maintenance provisions, as well as the timing of certain engine maintenance events. 

Air Canada reported record EBITDAR of $543 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 versus the previous record EBITDAR of $521 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.  On a GAAP basis, the airline reported fourth quarter 2018 operating income of $122 million compared to fourth quarter 2017 operating income of $133 million.

Adjusted pre-tax income amounted to $68 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to adjusted pre-tax income of $77 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.  On a GAAP basis, the airline recorded a loss before income taxes of $216 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to income before income taxes of $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.  The fourth quarter of 2018 included foreign exchange losses of $269 million while the fourth quarter of 2017 included foreign exchange losses of $62 million. 

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Air Canada recorded adjusted net income of $54 million or $0.20 per diluted share compared to adjusted net income of $60 million or $0.22 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017.  On a GAAP basis, Air Canada reported a net loss of $231 million or $0.85 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to net income of $8 million or $0.02 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Financial and Capital Management Highlights

At December 31, 2018, unrestricted liquidity (cash, short-term investments and undrawn lines of credit) amounted to a record $5.725 billion (December 31, 2017 – $4.181 billion).

At December 31, 2018, total long-term debt and finance leases (including current portion) of $6.652 billion increased $533 million from December 31, 2017.  The unfavourable impact of a weaker Canadian dollar, as at December 31, 2018compared to December 31, 2017, increased foreign currency denominated debt (mainly U.S. dollars) by $501 million.  New borrowings of $1.210 billion were largely offset by debt repayments of $1.167 billion.

At December 31, 2018, adjusted net debt of $5.858 billion decreased $258 million from December 31, 2017 as increases in long-term debt and finance lease balances of $533 million and capitalized operating lease balances of $112 million were more than offset by an increase in cash and short-term investment balances of $903 million.  At December 31, 2018, Air Canada’s leverage ratio was 2.1, unchanged from December 31, 2017.

Net cash flows from operating activities of $2.695 billion decreased $43 million compared to 2017.  In 2018, free cash flow of $791 million decreased $265 million from 2017 and exceeded the $500 million to $600 million range projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 31, 2018.  The better than expected free cash flow can be attributed to a combination of lower than projected capital expenditures, better than expected cash from working capital and stronger than anticipated income from operations. 

For the 12 months ended December 31, 2018, return on invested capital (ROIC(1)) was 12.6 per cent, in line with approximately 12 per cent ROIC projected in Air Canada’s October 31, 2018 news release, and significantly higher than Air Canada’s weighted average cost of capital of 7.2 per cent.

Outlook

With the adoption of accounting standard IFRS 16 “Leases” on January 1, 2019 and the acquisition of Aimia Canada Inc. on January 10, 2019, the 2017 Investor Day targets for annual EBITDAR margin, annual ROIC, cumulative free cash flow and leverage ratio are no longer relevant.  Updated targets are being reviewed and will be announced in conjunction with Air Canada’s 2019 Investor Day scheduled for February 28, 2019.

Following the closing of Air Canada’s acquisition of Aimia Canada Inc., Aimia Canada changed its name to Aeroplan Inc.  Air Canada began 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. 

The following outlook includes the impact of the new accounting standard IFRS 16 “Leases”.  The guidance for 2019 is compared to restated 2018 financial results.  Refer to section 14 “Accounting Policies” of Air Canada’s 2018 MD&A for additional information on the estimated impacts of the adoption of IFRS 16 “Leases”. 

First Quarter and Full Year 2019 Adjusted CASM

For the first quarter of 2019, Air Canada expects adjusted CASM (which excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations, the operating expenses of Aeroplan, and special items) to increase between 2.0 to 3.0 per cent when compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Air Canada expects full year 2019 adjusted CASM to increase between 2.0 and 3.0 when compared to the full year 2018.

Additional Guidance

Except as stated below, the following guidance includes the impact of Aeroplan. 

For the full year 2019:

Depreciation, Amortization and Impairment Expense

Air Canada expects depreciation, amortization and impairment expense to increase by approximately $225 million from the full year 2018.  This increase includes the impact of Aeroplan except for the amortization expense related to the fair value of intangible assets recorded upon the acquisition of Aeroplan.  Such amount will be determined and reported with the first quarter 2019 results.

Employee Benefits Expense

Air Canada expects employee benefits expense to increase by approximately $25 million from the full year 2018.

Aircraft Maintenance Expense

Air Canada expects aircraft maintenance expense to increase by approximately $80 million from the full year 2018. 

2019 Outlook – Major Assumptions:  Assumptions were made by Air Canada in preparing and making forward-looking statements. As part of its assumptions, Air Canada assumes relatively modest Canadian GDP growth for the first quarter and full year 2019. Air Canada also expects that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.32 per U.S. dollar in the first quarter and for the full year 2019 and that the price of jet fuel will average 77 CAD cents per litre in the first quarter and 82 CAD cents per litre for the full year 2019.

The following table summarizes the above-mentioned outlook for the first quarter and the full year 2019 and related major assumptions:

First Quarter 2019 
versus
First Quarter 2018
Full Year 2019 
versus
Full Year 2018
Adjusted CASM (excluding Aeroplan)Increase of 2.0% to 3.0%Increase of 2.0% to 3.0%
Depreciation, Amortization and Impairment Expense (including Aeroplan but excluding Aeroplan acquisition accounting)Increase of $225 million
Employee Benefits Expense (including Aeroplan)Increase of $25 million
Aircraft Maintenance ExpenseIncrease of $80 million
Major AssumptionsFirst Quarter 2019Full Year 2019
Canadian GDPRelatively modest growthRelatively modest growth
Canadian dollar per U.S. dollar$1.32$1.32
Jet fuel price – CAD cents per litre7782

The outlook provided constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws and is based on a number of additional assumptions and subject to a number of risks.  Please see section below entitled “Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information”.

(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 review the section entitled Non-GAAP Financial Measures in Air Canada’s 2018 MD&A for a further discussion of such non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation of such measures to Canadian GAAP.

  • Adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted earnings (loss) per share – diluted are used by Air Canada as a means to assess the overall financial performance of its business without the after-tax 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, and special items as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful. Starting as of and including the fourth quarter of 2017, adjusted net income (loss) is determined net of tax.
  • 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, 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 to determine return on invested capital.
  • EBITDAR 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, impairment and aircraft rent as these costs can vary significantly among airlines due to differences in the way airlines finance their aircraft and other assets. Air Canada excludes special items from EBITDAR as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • Adjusted CASM is used by Air Canada as a means to assess the operating and cost performance of its ongoing airline business without the effects of fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations®, the operating costs of Aeroplan, and special items, as such expenses 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. Following the completion of Air Canada’s acquisition of Aeroplan on January 10, 2019, Air Canada began consolidating Aeroplan’s results. 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 adjusted net debt to trailing 12-month EBITDAR leverage ratio 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 adjusted net debt by trailing 12-month EBITDAR (excluding special items). As mentioned above, Air Canada excludes special items from EBITDAR 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.
  • Return on invested capital (ROIC) is used by Air Canada as a means to assess the efficiency with which it allocates its capital to generate returns. Return is based on adjusted pre-tax income (or loss, as applicable), excluding interest expense and implicit interest on operating leases. Invested capital includes average year-over-year long-term debt, average year-over-year finance lease obligations, average year-over-year shareholders’ equity, net of excess cash not required to run its core business operations, and the value of capitalized operating leases (the latter calculated by multiplying annualized aircraft rent by 7). 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.

Air Canada’s 2018 Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes and its 2018 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition are available on Air Canada’s website at aircanada.com, and will be filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

For further information on Air Canada’s public disclosure file, including Air Canada’s Annual Information Form dated March 19, 2018, consult SEDAR at www.sedar.com

Air Canada Enhances Service by Deploying Q400 Aircraft to More Western Canada Regional Markets

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Capacity increasing for Vancouver Island, Northern BC, BC Interior, Saskatoon, Winnipeg

MONTREAL, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it will boost capacity on regional routes across Western Canada this spring as it deploys more state-of-the-art Bombardier Q-400 Next Gen aircraft.  The changes are part of an ongoing transformation of Air Canada Express that will result in enhanced services for customers.

“Air Canada is strategically enhancing the flying experience and increasing capacity this summer on key regional routes in Western Canada.  The ultra-quiet, comfortable, fuel efficient and faster Q-400 aircraft will be well-received by our customers and is larger than the regional aircraft it is replacing.  We are pleased to deploy it to more communities in Western Canada as we further strengthen our regional network to optimize all significant connections between our extensive regional and global markets,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning at Air Canada. “With our varied and flexible fleet, we are also adding frequencies to our Vancouver-Anchorage and adding capacity to our Calgary-Winnipeg route with larger Airbus aircraft in response to demand.”

Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz Aviation LP are scheduled to provide convenient, point-to-point travel, as well as easy connections to Air Canada’s extensive domestic, US and international network at Vancouver and Calgary.  Customers 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 at main airports, priority boarding and other benefits.

Increased services this summer peak compared to last year include:

RouteFrequenciesCapacity
Vancouver-Nanaimo7 daily Q-400 flights546 daily seats, 14% increase
Vancouver-Comox4 daily Q-400 flights312 daily seats, 23% increase
Vancouver-Sandspit2 daily Q-400 flights156 daily seats, 52% increase
Vancouver-Prince Rupert2 daily Q-400 flights156 daily seats, 5% increase
Vancouver-Smithers2 daily Q-400 flights156 daily seats, 14% increase
Vancouver-Kamloops4 daily Q-400 flights312 daily seats, 25% increase
Vancouver-Penticton3 daily Q-400 flights234 daily seats, 17% increase
Calgary-Kelowna3 daily Q-400 flights234 daily seats, 13% increase
Calgary-Saskatoon4 daily Q-400 flights312 daily seats, 7% increase
Calgary-Winnipeg2 daily A320 + 1 daily CR-900 flights368 daily seats, 19% increase
Vancouver-Anchorage1 daily 320 and 1 daily 319 flight266 daily seats, 80% increase

Air Canada Makes Strategic Enhancements on Eastern Canadian Regional Routes for Spring 2019

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Toronto to Fredericton, Moncton, Thunder Bay and Montreal to St. John’s flights to be operated with Airbus A319
  • Capacity added between Montreal and St. John’s and between Calgary and Halifax with larger aircraft

MONTREAL, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced strategic changes to Eastern Canada including upgrading Air Canada Express regional aircraft to larger Air Canada Rouge aircraft with inflight amenities on its flights from Toronto to Fredericton, Moncton and Thunder Bay, and from Montreal to St. John’s.

“Air Canada is upgrading key Eastern Canada routes currently operated with all-economy regional aircraft by deploying larger Air Canada Rouge jets which offer a choice of two cabins, wi-fi and in-flight entertainment streamed to personal devices,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning at Air Canada. “We are pleased to add more travel options to and from Newfoundland and Labrador by increasing capacity on our flights to St. John’s via our Montreal hub which offers excellent connections to and from our extensive North American and global network. With our varied and flexible fleet, we are also adding capacity to our popular Calgary-Halifax seasonal flight with larger mainline Airbus A320 aircraft, with connections in Calgary conveniently linking eastern and western Canada.”

Customers 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.

RouteFrequencies
Montreal-St. John’s2 daily Air Canada 
Rouge A-319 flights
effective June 5
Toronto-Fredericton2 daily Air Canada 
Rouge A-319 flights
effective June 1
Toronto-Moncton3 daily Air Canada 
Rouge A-319 flights
effective May 1
Toronto-Thunder Bay3 daily Air Canada 
Rouge A-319 flights
effective May 1
Calgary-Halifax1 daily Air Canada A
-320 flight effective
May 14

Following the recently finalized Capacity Purchase Agreement between Air Canada and Chorus Aviation, Air Canada is optimizing its fleet within its network strategy and deploying the aircraft best-suited to the communities it serves as it modernizes and simplifies its regional fleet.

Air Canada To Strategically Increase Capacity on Transborder Markets

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Upgraded regional jet service from Toronto to Nashville, Washington Dulles and Memphis
  • More frequencies added from Toronto to Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Austin

MONTREAL, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it is upgrading service and boosting capacity on key transborder routes from its Toronto and Montreal hubs.

“We are very pleased to offer customers travelling between Toronto and the cities of Nashville, Washington Dulles and Memphis an upgraded travel experience with larger and more comfortable aircraft featuring a choice of Business Class and wi-fi options on all flights. We are also adding daily frequencies on our Toronto to Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Austin routes and from Montreal to Baltimore,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning at Air Canada.

“These changes are part of an ongoing transformation of Air Canada Express and customers will benefit from even more convenient schedules and enhanced onboard experiences as we further strengthen our North American network, optimizing connecting opportunities between our extensive transborder, North American and global markets,” concluded Mark.

These enhancements are in addition to Air Canada’s recent announcement it will launch new daily flights from Montreal to Raleigh and increase capacity by deploying larger aircraft with Business Class and wi-fi options on its Toronto to Raleigh and Charlotte flights.

Air Canada Express flights are scheduled for convenient, point-to-point travel as well as easy connections to Air Canada’s extensive domestic and international network at its Toronto Pearson global hub.  Customers 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 at Canadian airports, priority boarding and other benefits.

Upgraded services this summer peak include:

RouteFrequenciesCapacityAircraft
Toronto-Nashville2 daily flights effective June 1152 daily seats76 seat CR9 operated by Jazz Aviation LP effective June 1
Toronto-Washington (Dulles)3 daily flights effective May 1228 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional effective May 1
Toronto-Memphis1 daily flight effective May 176 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional effective May 1
Toronto-Raleigh3 daily flights effective May 1228 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional
Toronto-Charlotte2 daily flights effective May 1152 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional
Toronto-MinneapolisAdding 1 flight for 4 daily flights effective June 3304 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional
Toronto-PhiladelphiaAdding 1 flight for 5 daily flights effective June 3380 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional
Toronto-AustinAdding 1 flight for 2 daily flights effective April 29152 daily seats76 seat Embraer E75 operated by Sky Regional
Montreal-BaltimoreAdding 1 flight for 2 daily flights effective June 4100 daily seats50 seat CRJ operated by Jazz Aviation LP
Montreal-RaleighNew daily flights launching June 350 daily seats50 seat CRJ operated by Jazz Aviation LP

Air Canada tail-strike pilot was conducting first 777 flight

News provided by FlightGobal.com

13 February, 2019 – By: DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW

Investigators probing an Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER tail-strike at Hong Kong have disclosed that the landing was the pilot’s first on the 777, outside of a simulator.


Canada Boeing 777-300ER from commons.wikimedia.org

The first officer, the flying pilot, had obtained a type rating on the 777 five days earlier and was under the supervision of a training captain, with over 6,400h on type, during the flight from Toronto.

Hong Kong’s Air Accident Investigation Authority states that the first officer had not previously flown the aircraft, other than through simulator training, nor previously carried out a Hong Kong approach as an operating crew member.

Two cruise relief pilots were also in the cockpit at the time of the event on 11 December last year.

The crew briefed for the approach but, while the pilots had expected to land on runway 07L, the arrival runway underwent a late switch to the parallel 07R.

Weather conditions for the approach included a crosswind of up to 12kt from the left.

Investigators state that the aircraft was “marginally above” the glideslope for 07R, but stabilised, and the first officer disengaged the autopilot at 400ft. The captain provided verbal guidance during the descent towards the runway.

But as it passed through 200ft the twinjet commenced a series of, initially minor, roll deviations before entering a “pronounced” roll to the left and then the right, the inquiry says in its preliminary findings.

“The [first officer] introduced large control inputs into the aircraft to control the sudden and unanticipated roll behaviour,” it adds. “The aircraft was not wings-level at the touchdown point as it was rolling to the right.”

Its right-hand main landing-gear contacted the runway first, and the combination of a high descent rate and nose-high attitude resulted in a hard landing and allowed the aft fuselage underside to strike the runway surface. The aircraft bounced before settling.

Inspection of the jet (C-FITW) showed that it had suffered substantial damage to its lower fuselage. “The aircraft is currently unserviceable and is undergoing a major repair process,” the inquiry says.

None of the 376 passengers and 17 crew members was injured during the event. The inquiry stresses that the findings are preliminary and it has yet to reach conclusions over the circumstances.

Air Canada, WestJet update travel alerts as latest winter storm hits with full force

News provided by TravelWeek.ca

Air Canada, WestJet update travel alerts as latest winter storm hits with full...

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group

TORONTO — Air Canada and several other airlines have updated their travel alerts for upwards of 20 gateways in Canada and the U.S., as a massive winter storm sweeps through Ontario, Quebec and onwards to the east, disrupting flights and causing travel snarls.

The weather may be frightful but the wind and snow are also keeping the phones ringing off the hook at travel agencies and tour operators, making for one of the best winter seasons in the travel industry in years.

Air Canada already had more than a dozen cities with travel alerts posted yesterday and has since added to that list. Passengers on impacted flights won’t incur flight change fees if they need to alter their travel plans.

Air Canada has issued travel alerts for some 20 gateways impacted by the storm, including: Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto (YTZ and YYZ), Sydney, Sept-Iles, Saint John, NB, Quebec City, Ottawa, New York (EWR and LGA), Montreal, Moncton, Hartford, Gaspe, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Boston and Bathurst, NB.

The Air Canada alerts apply for flights both today and tomorrow (Feb. 12 and Feb. 13).

WestJet is also allowing flight changes without fees, for the following cities and regions, all due to winter storm systems: Comox, Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Victoria (through Feb. 12); New York region (Feb. 12); Southern Ontario (Feb. 12); Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton, Sydney and Charlottetown (Feb. 13); Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal (Feb. 12 – 13) and Gander and St. John’s (Feb. 14).

Porter Airlines also has several cities on its Travel Alerts page for Feb. 12, including Boston, Montreal, New York (EWR), Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Toronto.

Currently on Toronto Pearson Airport’s departures web page there are more red ‘Cancelled’ notifications than green ‘Departed’ notifications for flights within Ontario and to gateways in Quebec and the Maritimes, however most sun destination flights and flights heading west to cities like Vancouver are mostly departing just fine.

This latest winter storm in what’s already been a proper snowy and cold winter across much of Canada, is a ‘Colorado low’ moving northeast from the U.S. The storm has been pelting Ontario with snow, ice and high winds on Tuesday, with Canada’s weather agency warning residents to brace for worsening weather before the system moved east into Quebec.

Environment Canada issued widespread winter storm warnings across Ontario, with everything from freezing rain in the southwestern part of the province to as much as 40 centimetres of snow near the Ottawa region expected today.

Schools and post-secondary institutions across the province called off classes. The closures in Ontario may be a sign of things to come for the rest of the country, said Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng, adding the system promises to make itself felt in Quebec and all points east in the coming days.

“It’s not just affecting parts of Ontario, it’s also affecting Quebec and eventually all the Atlantic provinces,” he said. “Basically, a lot of people in eastern Canada will be affected by this storm.”

Cheng said moisture the storm system will have gathered on its way north will result in freezing rain falling on a large stretch of southwestern Ontario from Windsor to London. As it moves north, however, Cheng said the precipitation will shift to a combination of snow and ice pellets.

That mix is expected to fall on the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions, he said, bringing between 15 and 25 centimetres of combined precipitation.

Snowfall totals are expected to rise as the storm travels east, he said, adding the Ottawa area can brace for as much as 40 centimetres.

The storm is expected to hit Quebec overnight and into Wednesday morning, he added.

“This is a big storm, and not only are we talking about the precipitation … winds can gust up to 80 kilometres per hour,” he said.


With files from The Canadian Press

Regional airline loses 1.5-million passenger contract with Air Canada, but firms deny safety concerns a factor

News provided by the National Post

Tom Blackwell – February 7, 2019 4:52 PM EST

Air Georgian has strenuously denied allegations of safety shortcomings by current and former employees, first reported by the National Post

Air Georgian’s head offices at Toronto Lester B Pearson Airport, Monday October 16, 2017.Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Air Canada has ended its contract with regional carrier Air Georgian and is shifting thousands of flights to another company, but denies that concerns about Georgian’s maintenance and safety practices had anything to do with the change.

The move will not be readily visible to passengers, as all the planes fly under the Air Canada Express banner, but appears to be a significant blow to privately owned Air Georgian.

It has strenuously denied allegations of safety shortcomings by current and former employees — first reported by the National Post — and criticized a Transportation Safety Board report that highlighted systemic problems at the airline.

The firm currently provides 62,000 flights a year for Air Canada, carrying 1.5 million passengers on short-haul trips within this country and the U.S., part of a little-known trend where large, “mainline” airlines contract out regional service.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the transition from Georgian to Jazz Aviation was unrelated to the allegations.

“Air Georgian has performed safely and reliably for us for 20 years,” he told the Post via email. “The changes to our regional flying are purely a commercial decision.”

Georgian is proud to be one of nine Canadian airlines certified by the international airline association’s rigorous, 900-point operational safety audit, said Matthew Law, a lawyer for the company.

“Safety is the cornerstone of Air Georgian’s business,” he said in a letter emailed to the Post. “Air Georgian has consistently achieved audit results that place it in the top tier of operators in Canada.”

If the Post publishes “unfounded speculation” about the company, “Air Georgian will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action,” Law warned.

The company said it does not expect the loss of this single contract to negatively impact its long-term business growth. “We are very well positioned in the marketplace, with a 25 year track record of superior safety, operational, and financial performance.”

National Post investigation in late 2017 reported the concerns of several current and former crew members about Georgian’s safety approach, including allegations that it delayed fixing defective plane parts, discouraged reporting of problems and experienced an unusual number of emergency landings.

An Air Canada Express flight makes it’s final approach into Toronto Lester B Pearson Airport, Monday October 16, 2017. Peter J. Thompson/National Post

In a report last spring, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) blamed a 2016 incident in Calgary — where a plane’s front landing gear failed to extend and the aircraft scraped along the runway — on longstanding failings, including inadequate maintenance procedures and training and internal systems that failed to detect potential maintenance problems.

John Lee, the board’s Western regional manager, refuted Georgian’s contention at the time that the report dealt solely with one, narrow maintenance issue. “The system that didn’t catch that lubrication task is the same system that oversees other, maybe more serious maintenance activities as well,” he told the Post.

But in an internal memo, Georgian said the TSB’s investigator showed bias, bullied employees and acted insensitively toward staff whose first language was not English. And it has called the allegations of current and former employees false and in some cases motivated by revenge.

Most large legacy airlines in North America now contract out many of their shorter routes to other companies under “capacity purchase agreements” that are generally considered a way to limit costs.

Fitzpatrick said Air Canada is “ending its capacity purchase agreement“ with Georgian to “simplify and modernize our regional fleet, including a shift to larger aircraft, and to improve customer service and to enable us to compete better.”

Air Canada’s shift away from the Toronto-based firm has occurred discreetly, its news release about an expanded accord with Jazz not even mentioning Georgian. As of Thursday, Georgian’s website — devoted almost exclusively to its role as a “proud partner” of Air Canada — said nothing about the loss of business.

The only public hint came from a pilots’ union release last month about a new Jazz collective agreement, which noted Jazz has expanded its Air Canada work and taken over several leased jets from Georgian.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) represents both companies’ aviators and said Air Georgian pilots would be absorbed by Jazz.

“By joining Jazz, Air Georgian pilots’ career paths will be enhanced significantly through better wages and working conditions,” Jim Macarthur, ALPA’s Air Georgian chair, said in a news release.

An internal Georgian memo posted on the Avcanada.ca website indicates that flight attendants, mechanics and other employees will also be able to move to either Jazz, Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge.

One poster on an Avcanada forum said Georgian employees, earning some of the lowest wages in the industry, had ironically “won the lottery,” even as their company lost its primary source of business.

As part of the change, Air Canada is also investing $97 million in Jazz parent Chorus Aviation.

In the wake of the Post’s investigation, Georgian filed a $10-million libel lawsuit against a former pilot for the company who spoke to the Post. That pilot, Alan Eugeni, has now filed a “SLAPP” (strategic litigation against public participation) motion asking a Toronto court to throw out the suit against him.

Georgian’s lawsuit, filed last March, charges that Eugeni’s self-published book about his two years at Georgian — called The Next Plane Crash — was “replete with false and defamatory statements” about the airline and damaged the business, partly by making it harder to recruit and retain staff.

But the motion prepared by Toronto lawyer Howard Winkler says the suit — which also cited quotes Eugeni gave to the Post — was designed to “silence, intimidate and punish” the pilot, and will deter other employees from speaking out about safety issues at regional carriers.

“This is a serious concern given the lack of applicable whistleblower legislation in Canada for airline personnel,” says the document, filed under a 2015 Ontario law designed to counter so-called libel chill.

Chorus Aviation announces acquisition of nine new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft

Provided by Chorus Aviation/CNW

HALIFAX, Feb. 6, 2019 /CNW/ – Chorus Aviation Inc. (‘Chorus’) (TSX: CHR) today announced that it has entered into a firm purchase agreement with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft to acquire nine CRJ900 regional jet aircraft. These aircraft will be operated by its subsidiary, Jazz Aviation LP (‘Jazz’), under the Air Canada Express brand as per Jazz’s Capacity Purchase Agreement (‘CPA’) with Air Canada. The nine aircraft will be delivered in 2020.

“The addition of these new CRJ900 aircraft is a significant step in modernizing the Jazz fleet with larger aircraft while supporting the continued growth of our leasing revenue,” said Joseph Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus. “The economics of this aircraft will enhance our competitive position and our ability to more effectively respond to the needs of our customer and changing market demand.”

“We are delighted that Chorus and Jazz have chosen Bombardier products for the growth and renewal of their fleet. It reaffirms their confidence in the value that the CRJ provides to airlines, said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. The CRJ900 aircraft is ideally suited to growing markets and is recognized for its superior performance, economics and passenger comfort.”

These nine 76-seat aircraft will be configured in two classes of service with 12 seats in business class and 64 seats in economy class, including 20 preferred economy seats.

The new aircraft will be equipped with Bombardier’s new ATMOSPHÈRE cabin featuring a larger passenger living space, increased overhead bin capacity, more spacious lavatories, and overall improved aesthetic details to enhance the passenger experience.