Air Canada Announces New Schedule Offering Customers Wide Choice of Destinations for Safe Travel this Summer and Expands Goodwill Policy

From Air Canada

  • New summer schedule includes nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide
  • Options for new, fully-transferable voucher or Aeroplan Miles with 65% bonus starting June 1 mean more choices and flexibility for rebooking flights should travel plans change
  • Air Canada CleanCare+ biosecurity program offers greater protection from COVID-19 during all stages of the journey

MONTREAL, May 22, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada is offering customers a choice of nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world with an abridged schedule this summer. To ensure customers can book with confidence, the airline has implemented the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosecurity program and is introducing new cancellation options retroactive to March 1, 2020, to give customers greater flexibility and choice should their travel plans change for any reason.  

“Air Canada has put in place an abridged summer schedule offering a choice of nearly 100 destinations across Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95 per cent of our flights stopped operating and which has left us flying to less than half last year’s destinations, our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel,  where it is safe to do so. We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline. Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

“While the world is making great progress against COVID-19, we know we must remain vigilant, which includes being flexible. This is why we are introducing two new solutions for customers should their travel plans change. In addition to our regular goodwill policies, starting June 1 we will offer customers the choice of a travel voucher with no expiry date that is fully transferable or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and get an additional 65% bonus miles. Both options, retroactive to March 1, give customers greater confidence and flexibility to plan and book travel with Air Canada,” said Ms. Guillemette.

“Finally, to further ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we have introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive biosecurity program to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Air Canada CleanCare+ works through multi-layered measures that limit unnecessary interactions, require the use of personal protective equipment and employ state-of-the-art cleaning techniques onboard our aircraft. We have further committed to adopt new strategies and technologies as they become available.”

Summer Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Air Canada has had to abridge its selling schedule for summer 2020, with 97 destinations down from 220 last year, which nonetheless offers wide opportunities for travel and connectivity. Within Canada, the schedule will increase from 34 routes in May to 58 routes in June, with more routes added in August and September.  Air Canada has also updated its schedule until the end of July with resumption of some services to the U.S., Caribbean, South American, European and Pacific markets.

As part of the new schedule, in accordance with provisions for air travel to the U.S. for Canadians, Air Canada will resume service to the U.S. on May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25, including New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. This is a reduction from 53 U.S. destinations served last year. There are tentative plans to resume more U.S. service as of June 22, pending regulatory changes and demand. For information on travel to the U.S. please see https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-1596?language=en_US

Internationally, Air Canada will continue to operate from its major hubs to key global destinations in June. This includes service from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo and Tel Aviv; from Montreal to Frankfurt, London, Paris and Brussels; and from Vancouver to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.

International services will expand further starting in June and early July, including: Montreal to Athens, Rome, Geneva; Toronto to Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome and Athens; Calgary to Frankfurt; and, subject to government approval, Vancouver to Shanghai. 

Flexible Booking and Cancellation Policies

Under a revised goodwill policy, new bookings made up to June 30, 2020 can be changed without fees for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

In cases where Air Canada cancels flights due to COVID-19, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds. Since January 1, 2020, Air Canada has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers.  Both customers with refundable and non-refundable tickets will have two new options to choose from:

  • An Air Canada Travel Voucher for the remaining value of their ticket that has no expiry date, is fully transferable and retains any residual value or;
  • The ability to convert the remaining value of their ticket into Aeroplan Miles, with 65 per cent more value versus the normal rate for buying Miles.

For voluntary changes, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds or the above new options. For Air Canada customers with non-refundable tickets making voluntary changes on tickets issued up to June 30, 2020, with an original travel date between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 inclusive, they have the option to choose from the two above new options of an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan Miles.

The new goodwill policies and cancellation options are retroactive for customers with original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Customers whose flights have been cancelled due to the impacts of COVID-19 and who have already received travel credit valid for 24 months, will be able to select one of the applicable options depending on their fare at aircanada.com beginning June 15, 2020. Customers with Aeroplan Flight Rewards can continue to cancel their redemption bookings free of charge through June 30, 2020. 

For more information on Air Canada’s pandemic response, including information about Air Canada ClearCare+ and its revised summer schedule and goodwill policies, please see aircanada.com/readyfortakeoff.

Air Canada adds A220 Toronto – Vancouver service in June 2020

News from Routes Online – link to story

By Jim Liu | Posted 18 May 2020

Air Canada Airbus 220-300

Air Canada in June 2020 is adding 5th daily service on Toronto – Vancouver route, including the addition of Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The A220-300 will operate as AC111/122 service. Additional changes to planned operation remains likely.

AC107 YYZ0700 – 0854YVR 333 D
AC103 YYZ0805 – 0950YVR 789 D
AC111 YYZ1245 – 1448YVR 223 D
AC123 YYZ1800 – 2100YVR 321 D
AC125 YYZ1930 – 2115YVR 788 D

AC106 YVR0800 – 1528YYZ 321 D
AC108 YVR0900 – 1620YYZ 788 D
AC116 YVR1330 – 2055YYZ 333 D
AC118 YVR1430 – 2150YYZ 789 D
AC122 YVR1645 – 0018+1YYZ 223 D

AC111/122 operates with A319 on Day 1 from 16JUN20. The A220 briefly operated this route on selected dates in late-April 2020.

Vancouver Airport Authority Announces Appointment of Tamara Vrooman as President & CEO

From Vancouver Airport Authority YVR

RICHMOND, BC, May 13, 2020 /CNW/ – The Board of Directors of Vancouver Airport Authority today announced the appointment of Tamara Vrooman as President & Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2020. Ms. Vrooman succeeds Craig Richmond who announced in November 2019 that he will be retiring at the end of June after seven years leading the organization that operates Vancouver International Airport (YVR). 

“Tamara is a visionary executive with an exemplary track record leading large, complex institutions in both the private and public sectors, including through periods of enormous challenge, innovation and growth,” said Annalisa King, Chair of the Board of Directors. “By applying deep strategic, operational and financial abilities, matched by bold positions on sustainability and inclusion, she has led transformative change resulting in global recognition and commercial success, all while doing good. This, combined with her comprehensive understanding of YVR gained by her nine-year tenure on its Board of Directors, will enable her to reimagine YVR as a benchmark airport of the future. With a career-long commitment to the betterment of British Columbia, she is the ideal person to lead YVR forward.”

Ms. Vrooman joins YVR following 13 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union. She assumed leadership of Vancity at the beginning of the global financial crisis and transformed the business and service model, delivering record profitability and doubling its assets. During her tenure, Vancity has become a global reference point, and Ms. Vrooman has been a leading voice in the Canadian and international financial sectors, demonstrating a successful new vision for values-based banking. Today, Vancity manages more than $28 billion in assets, with more than 2600 employees, and 530,000 members at over 60 locations.

“I am honoured to lead the talented team that has made YVR the best airport in North America for 10 years running,” said Ms. Vrooman. “I look forward to working with them as we reimagine our business and how we operate in this challenging new environment as the world adapts following the COVID-19 crisis. I know from experience that crises provide an opportunity for innovation, creativity and renewal. I am eager to get to work as we chart a path forward that supports safe and efficient passenger and cargo travel, while recognizing YVR’s important role in the Lower Mainland, BC and the global markets we serve.”

Added Ms. King: “On behalf of the Board I would also like to thank Craig Richmond for his immense contributions to YVR during his time as CEO and, in particular, for his leadership during this difficult COVID-19 pandemic. All of us associated with YVR wish Craig well in his future endeavours.”

The Board of Directors conducted a global search for Mr. Richmond’s replacement with the assistance of a leading international executive search firm. Ms. Vrooman recused herself from Board activity in 2019 in order to participate as a candidate in the executive search process. She will be the first woman to lead YVR.

Prior to joining Vancity, Ms. Vrooman served as Deputy Minister of Finance for the Province of British Columbia where she oversaw the government’s annual $100 billion borrowing and cash requirements and its $36 billion fiscal plan. Ms. Vrooman has been a leading voice in BC, Canada and abroad for sustainable finance and investing, climate change measurement and reporting, and diversity and inclusion. She was named Business in Vancouver’s BC CEO of the Year (Major Private Company) in 2015. Ms. Vrooman was recognized with the Order of British Columbia in 2019. 

Layoffs begin at Vancouver International as passenger volumes plummet

From City News 1130 – link to story

BY PAUL JAMES ~ Posted May 11, 2020 FILE – B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has expressed frustration at the lack of federal action instructing and following up with people returning to Canada. (Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

SUMMARY

  • Vancouver Airport Authority has begun issuing layoff notices to more than 100 employees of YVR
  • YVR anticipates passanger volumes over the coming three years to drop to as low as eight million annually
  • Passanger volumes at the airport were 26 million a year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Cutbacks are officially underway at Vancouver International Airport as passenger volumes are expected to drop by as much as two-thirds over the next three years.

The Vancouver Airport Authority has begun issuing layoff notices to more than 100 employees of YVR, a move first announced at the end of last month.

While the exact number of people to be laid off has not been confirmed, YVR officials say the layoff notices will affect around a quarter of the roughly 550 people the airport authority employs directly.

The layoffs are specific to the airport itself and don’t involve the rest of the roughly 26,000 people who currently work on Sea Island.

Vancouver airport anticipates passenger volumes, with travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, at the airport over the coming three years to drop from 26 million a year down to between eight and 15 million annually.

“We began by offering voluntary departure packages to all employees, and that process concluded last week,” said Brock Penner, with the Vancouver Airport Authority.

“Today, we are in the very tough position to issue layoff notices to many of our valued colleagues.”

Penner said the authority is aware of the Large Employer Financing Facility, announced Monday by the federal government.

“We have undergone all manner of cost-cutting and explored all options, but the tough realization is that our workforce is sized for a 26-million passenger airport, and that is no longer sustainable given our new, smaller passenger forecasts. We must align our workforce to our operational requirements.”

Both management and bargaining unit employees are affected by the workforce reductions.

“We are confident the steps being taken today will ensure we have the appropriate team in place to operate YVR now and into the future as we continue to serve our local community, industry, and British Columbians,” the airport authority says in a release.

Skytrax Canadian Winners

From World Airport Awards – 11 May 2020

Vancouver International Airport YVR (Top 100 Ranking – 13 | 17 in 2019)
– Best Airport: 20-30 million passengers
Best Airport in North America

Toronto Pearson YYZ (Top 100 Ranking – 42 | 50 in 2019)
-Best Airport: 50-60 million passengers

Montréal-Trudeau International Airport YUL (Top 100 Ranking – 57 | 62 in 2019)
– Best Airport Staff in North America

Best Airports 2020: up to 5 million passengers
7. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
8. Halifax Stanfield International Airport


Fairmont Vancouver Airport
– Best Airport Hotel in North America

WestJet Update: 10 May • Schedule to 4 July 2020

From Westjet – 10 May 2020

WESTJET UPDATES SCHEDULE FROM JUNE 5 THROUGH JULY 4, 2020 

WestJet has updated its schedule from June 5 through to July 4, 2020 to address significantly reduced guest demand for air travel while continuing to keep critical economic lifelines open for essential travel and cargo. At this time, WestJet is also extending its temporary transborder and international route suspensions through June 25, 2020. Guests with travel booked after June 5 through July 4, will be proactively notified of their options. Full schedule details are available on westjet.com

It is through the hard work and dedication of teams across WestJet that we continue to provide safe, on-time air travel throughout Canada. We thank all WestJetters and our airport partners for their support during this time. For information on WestJet’s COVID-19 response including health, safety and cleaning protocols, visit the WestJet COVID-19 site here

Domestic route suspensions from June 5 through July 4, 2020 

Market Previous frequency 
Vancouver – Nanaimo 2x daily 
Vancouver – Comox 1x daily 
Vancouver – Regina 4x weekly 
Vancouver – Saskatoon 1x daily 
Vancouver – Winnipeg 3x daily 
Vancouver – Fort St. John 1x daily 
Vancouver – Cranbrook 1x daily 
Vancouver – Ottawa 2x daily 
Vancouver – Montreal 6 to 13x weekly 
Vancouver – Halifax 6x weekly 
Kelowna – Victoria 12x weekly 
Calgary – Prince George 1x daily 
Calgary – Ottawa 2x daily 
Calgary – Montreal 2x daily 
Calgary – London, ON 1 to 2x daily 
Calgary – Halifax 3x daily 
Calgary – St. John’s 1x daily 
Edmonton – Comox 8x weekly 
Edmonton – Victoria 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Kelowna 7x daily 
Edmonton – Grande Prairie 13x weekly 
Edmonton – Yellowknife 1x daily 
Edmonton – Saskatoon 3x daily 
Edmonton – Regina 3x daily 
Edmonton – Winnipeg 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Ottawa 4x weekly 
Edmonton – Montreal 3x weekly 
Edmonton – Halifax 10x weekly 
Edmonton – St. John’s 4x weekly 
Winnipeg – Ottawa 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Regina 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Halifax 1x daily 
Toronto – Victoria 4x weekly 
Toronto – Regina 10x weekly 
Toronto – Saskatoon 12x weekly 
Halifax – Montreal 2x daily 

The following domestic markets will have a new seasonal start date: 

Market New start date 
Calgary – Quebec City 6-Jul-20 
Calgary – Charlottetown 5-Jul-20 
Winnipeg – Montreal 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Kelowna 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Sydney, NS 5-Jul-20 

WESTJET CARGO DELIVERS FLOWERS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

While we may be physically distancing, we know moms will still be feeling the love today. Over the last three weeks, WestJet Cargo has helped deliver 15 tonnes of flowers across Canada — just in time for Mother’s Day.

Vancouver Airport at home

From YVR Twitter – 1 May 2020

We joke, but we miss air travel too. That feeling when the plane takes off, the excitement from knowing you’re going to be experiencing a new culture. There’s really nothing else like it. We can’t wait to welcome you back soon and connect BC proudly to the world.

Airports hammered by COVID struggle to survive; $2B in losses predicted

News from CTV News – link to story

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press Staff ~ Published Thursday, April 30, 2020

Toronto Pearson International Airport

People carry luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto in this file photo dated Dec. 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO — Clobbered by anti-pandemic measures that have stifled travel and grounded much of the world’s commercial aviation, Canada’s airports are predicting around $2 billion in lost revenues this year.

The isolation of would-be travellers, border closures and flight cancellations have led to a precipitous decline in demand for plane tickets and, by extension, airport services.

“Our airports have seen traffic and revenues plummet significantly — an average of about 90 per cent,” said Daniel-Robert Gooch, head of the Canadian Airports Council, which represents 100 airports. “Looking ahead to the end of the year, airports anticipate year-end revenues to be down about 55 per cent from where they would have been, even more at smaller airports.”

The bottom line, Gooch said, were anticipated losses of between $1.8 billion and $2.2 billion.

Globally, commercial air traffic shrunk 41 per cent below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March alone, according to Flightradar24.com. Canada, too, has been hit hard.

Emergency isolation measures, including the closure of the U.S.-Canada border and stay-home directives, brought the rush of normal air traffic to a crawl. At least six regional airports, from Saint John, N.B. to Prince Rupert B.C., have lost scheduled passenger service altogether.

At Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International, plummeting passenger traffic has left normally bustling, frenetic terminals looking like gleaming ghost towns. About 5,000 passengers are moving through the facility each day, down from a normal 130,000, the airport said.

Tori Gass, with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the number of flights has dropped from an average of 1,300 per day to about 350.

“There are approximately nine passenger airlines operating at Pearson compared to 67 airlines that were operating previously,” Gass said.

Several Canadian carriers, such as Porter Airlines and Sunwing, stopped regular flights altogether. Larger carriers, such as Air Canada and WestJet, have been limping along on drastically curtailed passenger loads, waiting along with everyone else for the pandemic skies to clear. That’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

“We anticipate the recovery to be protracted — faster at larger hub airports than elsewhere in the system — with passenger traffic in 2020 at only about 60 per cent of 2019 levels,” Gooch said.

Canada’s airports generate about $19 billion for the country’s economy and employ 194,000 people.

The sharp traffic reduction has forced airports, normally major economic hubs in their own right, into cutting mode. Some, like Calgary and Edmonton, have partially closed terminals. The airport in Windsor, Ont., suspended all commercial flights. Other measures include cutting employee wages or hours, or outright layoffs.

On Thursday, for example, Vancouver’s airport authority, which employs about 500 people across operations, finance, engineering, human resources and other sectors, became the latest to offer staff voluntary layoffs.

Gooch said about a dozen municipal and territorial airports appeared to be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which would allow others to avoid immediate layoffs. Either way, he said, airports were struggling to cover costs, with borrowing their way through the crisis only punting the problem down the road.

While freight traffic has risen, the increase has barely offset the losses.

“Cargo aircraft movements are a fraction of normal passenger aircraft movements at most airports, and cargo doesn’t pay airport improvement fees, park at the airport, shop in the stores or eat in the restaurants,” Gooch said.

The industry, Gooch said, was hoping the federal government — already a financial life-support system for millions of Canadians and businesses — will offer loan or bond guarantees along with interest-free loans repayable over a longer period.

Airports also want Ottawa to scrap ground rents to allow them to conserve cash, focus on operations, and pay off debt acquired during the pandemic. Smaller airports need funding for essential operating expenses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 30, 2020.

Vancouver Airport Authority announces layoffs due to COVID-19

New from City News 1130 – link to story and updates

BY TARNJIT PARMAR AND BAILEY NICHOLSON ~ Posted Apr 29, 2020

FILE: A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

SUMMARY

  • The Vancouver Airport Authority, which runs the airport, is offering voluntary departure packages to its 500 employees
  • The layoffs come as the aviation industry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Employees were notified on Wednesday that the authority must begin the process of reducing costs, and include layoffs

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s the first round of layoffs for YVR.

In an emailed statement on Wednesday afternoon, the Vancouver Airport Authority, which runs the airport, revealed it is offering voluntary departure packages to its 500 employee workforce.

That’s as the aviation industry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with less passenger traffic for the foreseeable future.

Employees were notified on Wednesday that the authority is “undergoing workforce reductions”.

Expect layoffs at the Vancouver Airport Authority. Today, staff were offered voluntary departure packages due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The layoffs involve the authority’s 500 employees, which include administrative staff, human resources and engineering. @NEWS1130

Tarnjit Parmar@Tarnjitkparmar

Layoffs will follow, but the authority hasn’t given a specific timeline but did suggest an update will be shared in around two weeks.

These layoffs are contained to the organization itself and not the broader YVR workforce of 26 thousand people.

Air Canada flight reports drone encounter while landing in Nanaimo

New from CTV News – link to story

CTV News Vancouver Island,Staff – 28 April 2020

An Air Canada Jazz de Havilland Dash 8 aircraft in August 2013. (Canadian Press)

VICTORIA — An Air Canada flight reported a close encounter with a drone while landing in Nanaimo last week.

According to a Transport Canada occurrence report, the incident happened during a flight from Vancouver on Friday.

The Air Canada Jazz de Havilland Dash 8 aircraft was making its final approach to land in Nanaimo when the pilot “reported a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) at the same altitude, just off their left wing.”

The incident report, published by the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS), says the “pilot advised [the drone] was close to the aircraft and that it was black, small to medium in size, and looked like a personal use drone.”

The CADORS report categorizes the incident as an unauthorized entry into a controlled airspace.

The flight landed safely and the RCMP were notified of the incident.