Canadian Airlines Must Follow Air Canada’s Example and Pay Airline Workers for Time Worked: CUPE

May 20, 2022

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CUPE’s Airline Division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at nine Canadian airlines, says other major carriers like WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing must follow the example set by Air Canada earlier this week, and pay flight attendants for time spent on the ground during delays at Pearson Airport.

“Our members are working just as hard on the ground to keep passengers safe and comfortable as they are in the air, and deserve to be paid-in-full for every minute they’re at work in uniform”

“We were happy to get an agreement this week to ensure an hour worked is an hour paid for our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge,” said Wesley Lesosky, president of CUPE’s Airline Division and also president of CUPE’s Air Canada Component. “This is what can happen when the union and the employer come together: we can find solutions that benefit everybody.”

While policies differ from airline to airline, generally speaking, flight attendants are paid significantly less – or not at all – for their time on the ground. The issue has boiled over in recent months, as understaffing at Canadian airports has led to delays of two to three hours during the security screening and deplaning processes.

“Our members are working just as hard on the ground to keep passengers safe and comfortable as they are in the air, and deserve to be paid-in-full for every minute they’re at work in uniform,” said Rena Kisfalvi, secretary-treasurer of CUPE’s Airline Division and president of CUPE 4055, which represents flight attendants at Sunwing.

CUPE has been raising the issue of flight attendants essentially working for free even as they perform work duties in uniform on the ground.

“Air Canada has stepped up,” said Lesosky. “Now, it’s time for the other carriers to follow suit.”

CUPE rectifies pay injustice for members at Air Canada

May 19, 2022

Air Canada A220-300 C-GROV
Air Canada Airbus 220-300 C-GROV

CUPE’s Air Canada Component is pleased to see progress on an important pay issue for its members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The union spoke out last week about how ground delays at Pearson Airport, have been resulting in members working for significantly reduced pay or for free, due to an outdated policy which paid flight attendants drastically less – or nothing at all – for their time on the ground. However, that has now changed.

Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge have just signed a memorandum of agreement with CUPE which will see ground duty pay related to “metering” – the process of managing air traffic in and out of terminals – at Pearson Airport escalated to 100 per cent.

“Making our members essentially work for free was simply unjust, and we’re happy to have the company come to the table, recognizing the issue and helping to rectify this injustice,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of CUPE’s Air Canada Component.

The memorandum also acknowledges the impact of the delays on flight attendants’ schedules, and establishes considerations for ensuring flight attendants are rested enough for their next scheduled duty after a lengthy unscheduled ground delay.

“This represents important progress for our members at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, but we know we are not the only airline facing these issues,” Lesosky added. “We will continue fighting across our union to make sure all our members are paid fairly for their time.  No one should be working for free.”

CUPE’s Air Canada Component represents approximately 9,500 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. CUPE’s Air Division represents approximately 15,000 flight attendants across nine different airlines in total.

Air Canada Inaugurates Two New Connections from Quebec City to Western Canada

  • New seasonal service to Calgary and Vancouver begins
  • Air Canada continues to strengthen its presence in Quebec City

MONTREAL, May 1, 2022 – Air Canada operated today its first non-stop service between Quebec City and Calgary, offered four times a week, providing additional travel options to Quebecers and demonstrating its commitment to the people of the provincial capital. Flights to Vancouver will start tomorrow, on May 2, with up to three flights a week.

These new seasonal domestic routes, which will operate until the end of October, will be operated by Air Canada Rouge on an Airbus A319, featuring Premium Rouge and Economy class, product enhancements including upgraded streaming entertainment and options to purchase high-speed wi-fi.

Air Canada also offers daily flights to Quebec City out of its two eastern hubs, Montreal and Toronto, and will increase capacity during the peak summer season. This is in addition to two other new routes which started in December to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and to the increased frequency to Punta Cana and Cancun.

“Our recovery is well underway, customers are returning and we’re happy to offer new popular destinations to better connect Quebec and Western Canada,” said David Rheault, Vice-President Government and Community Relations at Air Canada. “Quebec City, Calgary and Vancouver have a lot to offer and share. These new services will meet the growing demand from the Quebec City market for travel to Western Canada, while at the same time allowing tourists from Western Canada to discover and enjoy Quebec City, one of the most famous destinations in the country, with its important cultural and historic sites. Air Canada’s diversified schedule demonstrates its commitment to Quebecers and its desire to better serve the Jean Lesage International Airport, a long-time partner. Our leadership and unique extensive network will stimulate the recovery of the travel and tourism industry.”

“Vancouver and Calgary are popular destinations and this is an important development for our airport and the entire region,” said Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). “In recent months, Air Canada has not only made the decision to quickly restore pre-pandemic routes but has also increased the frequency of its flights and added new destinations. Now, we are counting on the population of the greater Quebec City area to ensure the success of these connections.”

“The new flights from Quebec City will be beneficial for the citizens of the region as well as for tourists who want to discover our beautiful province,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Quebec. “The Quebec City airport is an economic development driver for businesses and the eastern part of the province, and we will continue to support the industry during the recovery period.”

“The entire tourism industry in the Quebec City region is delighted with the enhancements to its air service with the introduction of flights to Calgary and Vancouver from Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport and welcomes the gesture of confidence made by Air Canada. For us, at Destination Québec Cité, this means greater accessibility for visitors to our destination and, at the same time, an opportunity to develop new markets. Western Canada represents an interesting pool of visitors to charm and attract. That is why we will support the promotion of these flights with the implementation of digital initiatives for the summer period,” said Robert Mercure, Director of Destination Québec Cité.

These flights are conveniently timed for connections onward to other destinations in Canada, the US and our international network from either Vancouver or Calgary.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, the country’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 from the independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which in 2021 also named Air Canada as having the Best Airline Staff in North America, Best Airline Staff in Canada, Best Business Class Lounge in North America, as well as an Excellence award for its handling of COVID-19. Also in 2021, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the third 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.

Flight cancellations mount as Canadian airlines struggle with staff shortages

From BNN Bloomberg – link to source story🔗

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press | 6 January 2022

MONTREAL – Canadian airlines are slashing their flight schedules as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on air industry plans and profits.

Transat A.T. is nixing nearly 30 per cent of its flights for the next two months. The tour operator said the ongoing impact of the Omicron variant and the federal government’s “restrictive measures” last month have triggered a wave of trip cancellations by passengers.

On Dec. 15, the Public Health Agency of Canada advised against non-essential travel abroad.

Transat’s slimmed-down flight schedule is in place Thursday through Feb. 25, though the Montreal-based company says more changes may be necessary.

Air Canada said in a flight advisory Wednesday it is suspending flights to at least 14 Caribbean destinations “in light of the current pandemic context,” effective Jan. 24 through April 30.

The Montreal-based company cancelled 11 per cent of all flights Thursday and 10 per cent Wednesday – 87 trips in total, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Air Canada Rouge called off 14 per cent of its flights Wednesday. And regional carrier Jazz Aviation, which partners with Air Canada, cancelled 16 per cent and 14 per cent Wednesday and Thursday respectively, or 155 flights in all.

Air Canada said all travellers impacted by the Caribbean route suspensions will receive a full refund.

Transat, which did not specify which routes were affected, also said customers will be fully refunded and, where possible, offered rebooked reservations as an alternative.

The move comes a week after WestJet Airlines Ltd. cut 15 per cent of its scheduled flights through to the end of January, citing a high proportion of flight crews calling in sick due to Omicron.

The airline sector, which had begun to recover following a devastating first year of the pandemic, is struggling once again amid the latest COVID-19 surge, with U.S. and Chinese carriers scrapping thousands of flights so far this month.

“The Christmas rush is over and Air Canada has decided to follow suit with our friends at WestJet and take the knife even further,” said John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University and head of its aviation management program.

“The whole year is on sale and it’s still not enough. Air Canada is still seeing very, very weak demand.”

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