CUPE: Air Canada Flight Attendant Union Responds to Sweeping Layoffs Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Provided by CUPE/Business Wire

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The union representing Air Canada flight attendants is deeply saddened to learn that the company will temporarily lay off approximately 3,600 of its members at Air Canada mainline, and all 1,549 of its members at Air Canada Rouge.

Earlier this week, the company announced it would significantly reduce flying capacity due to diminished demand and government-ordered border closures caused by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. The layoffs announced today are effective until April 30, 2020 at the earliest, but the union is hopeful that conditions in the industry improve and allow the airline to begin bringing flight attendants back on-board.

“This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents roughly 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. “Our members have been on the front lines of this crisis since day one, and it has been a tough journey ever since. Our hearts go out to all of our members, especially those who fell sick while doing their job.”

The union has confirmed that members being laid off – or facing “off-duty status” – will be able to collect Employment Insurance, and also access benefits. The union also pledged to assist laid-off members with their next steps, and to work diligently to bring them back once conditions in the industry stabilize.

More than 5,100 Air Canada flight attendants to be laid off amid massive COVID-19 slowdown

New provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

About half of flight attendants for main airline and Air Canada Rouge will be affected

Bethany Lindsay, Desmond Brown · CBC · Posted: Mar 19, 2020

The union representing Air Canada flight attendants confirmed more than 5,100 flight attendants will be laid off. (Air Canada)

Air Canada is set to lay off more than 5,100 members of its cabin crews because of a dramatic drop in flights related to the COVID-19 outbreak, CBC has learned.

According to a March 19 letter from Renee Smith-Valade, the airline’s vice president of in-flight service, says Air Canada has “no choice” but to cut staff, calling the move “difficult but necessary.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents Air Canada flight attendants, confirmed the news, saying the layoffs will affect about 3,600 Air Canada crew members and all 1,549 of its members who work for the airline’s Rouge subsidiary.

That represents about half of the 10,000 crew members currently employed at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

“This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” Wesley Lesosky, CUPE’s president of the Air Canada component, said in a press release.

“Our members have been on the front lines of this crisis since day one, and it has been a tough journey ever since. Our hearts go out to all of our members, especially those who fell sick while doing their job.”

Smith-Valade’s memo says that Air Canada’s planned flights for April have been cut by nearly 80 per cent as governments around the world have asked their citizens to stay home in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. She said she hopes the layoffs will only be temporary.

According to the union, the layoffs will be effective until at least April 30. Those affected will be able to collect employment Insurance.

Air Canada’s mainline flight attendants are based in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. 

Launch of Air Canada Rouge’s first international flights from YQB

Provided by Aéroport de Québec/CNW

QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 21, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada Rouge’s first international flight out of YQB flew to Cancún, Mexico this morning. Surrounded by a colourful decor and environment, passengers were treated to a warm welcome from Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB; David Rheault, Managing Director – Government and Community Relations at Air Canada; and Guy Marchand, General Manager – Eastern Canada Sales for Air Canada Vacations.

De gauche à droite :

Agents de bord, Air Canada Rouge
Jean-Luc Tremblay, chef de secteur des ventes – Québec
Stéphane Poirier, Président et chef de la direction de YQB
David Rheault, directeur général des relations gouvernementales et avec les collectivités chez Air Canada 
Père Noël et jeunes voyageurs 
Agents de bord
Gary Doucet, Chef d'escale, Air Canada (CNW Group/Aéroport de Québec)
De gauche à droite : Agents de bord, Air Canada Rouge Jean-Luc Tremblay, chef de secteur des ventes – Québec Stéphane Poirier, Président et chef de la direction de YQB David Rheault, directeur général des relations gouvernementales et avec les collectivités chez Air Canada Père Noël et jeunes voyageurs Agents de bord Gary Doucet, Chef d’escale, Air Canada (CNW Group/Aéroport de Québec)

“We are thrilled that Air Canada has chosen to strengthen its presence in Québec City by offering international flights from YQB. By improving its winter service and adding flights to sun destinations, the airline is responding to the needs and requests of people in Québec City,” stated Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB. “This announcement is the result of a successful and profitable partnership between Air Canada and YQB,” he added.

Air Canada Rouge’s flights to Cancún began this morning and will end on April 11, 2020. Flights to Punta Cana will begin on December 22, 2019, and end on April 12, 2020. These routes are flown by an Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321 in a 200-seat all-economy configuration.

FlightDepartureArrivalDay
AC 1776Québec City, 08:00Cancún, 13:00Saturday
AC 1777Cancún, 14:00Québec City, 18:30Saturday
AC 1772Québec City, 08:20Punta Cana, 13:50Sunday
AC 1773Punta Cana, 14:50Québec City, 18:30Sunday

“We are delighted to offer these non-stop services to our customers in Québec City so they can treat themselves to a winter getaway in Cancún or Punta Cana. We are adding these new routes to meet an anticipated demand from customers in Québec’s capital. We also hope to give them the chance to enjoy incredible vacations,” stated Mark Galardo, Vice-President – Network Planning at Air Canada.

Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

MONTREAL, Dec. 17, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada said today that Rouge Wi-Fi high-speed satellite-based connectivity provided by Gogo is now available across the entire Air Canada Rouge fleet of 65 aircraft that fly globally and across North America.

Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“Customers now can access Rouge Wi-Fi high-speed internet connectivity on their own devices whenever they are onboard an Air Canada Rouge aircraft anywhere in the world, giving everyone the ability to stay connected to email, surf the web, or stream their favourite movies and TV shows from services like Netflix and YouTube. We are excited to now offer fast, reliable wi-fi options onboard all Rouge aircraft for the increasing numbers of customers seeking connectivity when flying,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada.

Customers can choose from a selection of Wi-Fi packages to suit their requirements with starting prices of $8.50 CAD simply by connecting to the “Rouge Wi-Fi” network onboard and following the instructions.

In addition to the full Air Canada Rouge fleet, satellite based Wi-Fi is already available on all Air Canada Boeing 777s, and most Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s with the remainder to be completed early 2020. Air Canada Wi-Fi connectivity is also available across the carrier’s entire mainline narrow body fleet and the Air Canada Express Embraer 175 and Bombardier CRJ-900 fleets. Air Canada’s new Airbus A220 fleet which it begins taking delivery of before the end of 2019 will come equipped with satellite based wi-fi.

“Stink Fruit” Cargo Spoiled An Air Canada Flight

News provided by Yahoo Finance & Freightwaves

Benzinga October 9, 2019

An Air Canada Rouge flight returned to Vancouver after the Boeing 767-300’s cabin filled with the odor from a shipment of durian fruit – whose odor is often compared to rotting meat.

Details from the flight on Air Canada‘s (TSX:AC)  low-cost subsidiary emerged in the incident report provided to FreightWaves by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSBC) on October 8.  

The troubles arose shortly after the 767 took off from Vancouver International Airport on September 17 with 245 passengers and eight crew, destined for Montreal. Crew members first noticed a “strong odor” while the aircraft was at 7,000 feet above sea level, according to the TSBC report.

The flight crew leveled off at 25,000 feet to troubleshoot the problem after failing to clear the smell from the cabin. They then declared a PAN-PAN, indicating an urgent but not immediately dangerous situation, “donned their oxygen masks and returned to land” in Vancouver, the TSBC report said.

The durian shipment in the forward cargo compartment was identified as the source of the odor and removed from the flight. The aircraft then returned to service. No injuries were reported.

Final thoughts:

The incident aboard the Air Canada Rouge flight isn’t the first time durian has caused problems as a cargo. The smell from two metric tons led to a temporary grounding of a flight in Indonesia in November 2018. 

Needless to say, the airline probably will think twice before accepting a shipment of the prized but noxious fruit. 

Air Canada To Begin Year-Round Flights From Montreal to Bogotá, Colombia

Provided by Air Canada

  • Bogotá represents Air Canada’s 39th new route launched from Montreal since 2012, 12th new route since 2017
  • Complements Toronto-Bogotá service

MONTREAL, Sept. 18, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced the introduction of new year-round service between Montreal and Bogotá, Colombia beginning June 2, 2020. Flights will operate three times weekly onboard Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER aircraft offering a choice of premium and economy service.

Special introductory fares start as low as $795 round-trip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase at aircanada.com or through travel agents.

Air Canada today announced the introduction of new year-round service between Montreal and Bogotá, Colombia beginning June 2, 2020 (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada today announced the introduction of new year-round service between Montreal and Bogotá, Colombia beginning June 2, 2020 (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“We are very pleased to offer the only non-stop, year-round flights connecting Montreal and Bogotá, two vibrant cities steeped in history and culture. This new route complements our existing Toronto-Bogotá service, and positions Air Canada as a significant player linking the growing markets between Montreal and Colombia’s capital and largest city. The addition of Bogotá represents Air Canada’s 39th new route launched from Montreal-Trudeau Airport since 2012, firmly illustrating our commitment to developing Montreal as an important, strategic hub. Bogotá is also strategically situated to allow for seamless travel across South America through Star Alliance partner Avianca,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President of Network Planning at Air Canada.

“For several years now, Aéroports de Montréal has been wanting to improve service from YUL to destinations in South America. While a flight to Sao Paolo will be inaugurated in a few weeks, Air Canada is doubling the stakes by adding this new direct connection to Bogotá, Colombia,” said Philippe Rainville, President and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal. “In addition to greatly facilitating air travel for members of Montreal’s very large Colombian community, this announcement once again affirms YUL’s role as a hub for international air traffic. We are confident that this destination will be extremely popular with travellers. And we thank our partner Air Canada who is sparing no effort to continue improving the range of destinations offered from Montreal.”

“This is a very exciting announcement. We are looking forward to connecting our capital city with Montreal, the global leader in digital art and creativity, which will further advance the growth of the creative industries sector in Colombia. This new route will also enable a greater number of Canadians to experience 21st century Colombia; a vibrant country that stands out for its opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship, and for its unparalleled offer of sustainable tourism,” said Federico Hoyos, Colombia’s Ambassador to Canada.

“More excellent news for Montreal, its economic dynamism and international influence. The announcement of this year-round service between our city and Bogotá will be positive for Montrealers and we are delighted,” said Robert Beaudry, head of economic development, trade and housing on the City of Montreal’s executive committee.

“This new flight consolidates Montreal’s position as a hub, with openness and international accessibility. This is excellent news for developing the South American market, which has grown by more than 50% in recent years. Tourisme Montréal salutes the efforts of Air Canada. This new direct air link will undoubtedly be a tourism and economic success for Montreal, confirming its status as a gateway to Canada,” said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC1952Montreal 22:45Bogotá 04:15 + 1 dayTuesday, Thursday, Saturday
AC1953Bogotá 09:00Montreal 16:20Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

Flights are timed to optimize connectivity to and from Air Canada’s extensive network at its Montreal hub. In addition, flights are timed to connect to Star Alliance partner Avianca’s network to other destinations including Medellin, Cartagena, Cali, Lima, Cuzco, Guayaquil and Quito.

Customers can 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.

Uncommanded fuel transfer diverts Rouge 767-300ER

News provided by FlightGlobal.com – link to full story

18 July 2019 by David Kaminski-Morrow, London, FlightGlobal.com

Air Canada Rouge, B767-300, C-FMWU – commons.wikimedia.org

Investigators are inspecting an Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER after it experienced the uncommanded transfer of fuel between tanks.

The aircraft (C-GDUZ) had been operating from Athens to Montreal on 16 July.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada says the twinjet, powered by General Electric CF6 engines, had been climbing to cruise altitude when the crew identified a “slight” fuel imbalance.

The crew carried out actions from the quick-reference handbook to try to rectify the situation.

But the board says the pilots subsequently determined that an uncommanded transfer of fuel – at the rate of 2.6t/h – was taking place between the left-hand main tank and the centre tank.

The aircraft climbed to around 32,000ft but, as a precaution, diverted to London Heathrow where it landed at about 18:15.

None of the 257 occupants was injured. The board says the twinjet has been undergoing inspection by the carrier’s maintenance personnel.

Fun in the Sun! Air Canada Introduces Winter Service from Quebec City to Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

First Air Canada direct service between Quebec City l and these sun destinations

MONTREAL, July 17, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced two new winter services from Quebec City (YQB) to popular sun destinations Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Service to Cancun begins December 21, 2019 until April 11, 2020, while Punta Cana flights start December 22, 2019 until April 12, 2020. 

An Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
An Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“We are thrilled to offer residents of Quebec City these non-stop connections to the popular winter getaway destinations of Cancun and Punta Cana. We are adding these new international leisure routes to meet anticipated demand from the capital of Quebec and offer Quebec City residents easy access to incredible holiday experiences,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

Travellers who book their next winter getaway departing from Quebec City to Cancun or Punta Cana can benefit from a vacation package offer through Air Canada Vacations that will save them $200 per couple or $400 per family.

With over 700 hotels, resorts, cruises, tours, as well as optional day tours, car rentals and excursions, Air Canada Vacations offers a full selection of leisure travel options to Canadians to more than 40 destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America.

“We welcome the news that Air Canada has chosen to strengthen its presence in Quebec City by offering international flights from YQB. By improving its winter service and adding flights to winter sun destinations, the airline meets the needs and demands of the people of Quebec. This announcement is the result of a great collaboration between Air Canada and YQB,” said Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB.

The flights will be operated on a 200-seat all-economy Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321. Travellers will be able to stream TV shows and movies to their personal devices via the onboard GoGo Wi-Fi streaming service.

Customers can also collect and redeem Aeroplan Miles through Canada’s leading loyalty program, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, priority boarding and other benefits.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Week
AC1776Quebec City 08:00Cancun 13:00Saturday
AC1777Cancun 14:00Quebec City 18:30Saturday
AC1772Quebec City 08:20Punta Cana 13:50Sunday
AC1773Punta Cana 14:50Quebec City 18:30Sunday

Air Canada in Quebec City

Including these two new routes, Air Canada will offer close to 1.2 million seats in the Quebec City market in 2019. Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and its regional airline partners flying under the Air Canada Express banner operate approximately 275 flights per week between Quebec and Montreal, Sept-Iles, Gaspe, Toronto and Ottawa.

The Air Canada Foundation also helps support several charities in the Quebec City region, such as Opération Enfant Soleil, Fondation Sourdine and Leucan Region Quebec.

‘Scariest time of my life’: Another woman left alone on empty Air Canada plane

News provided by CTV News – link to full story

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Kitchener’s Heather Senoran 
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pamela Prescod said she was left alone on an Air Canada flight

Just days after news broke of a woman being left alone on board an Air Canada flight, another woman has come forward with a similar experience.

Pamela Prescod, a 69-year-old woman from Guelph, Ont. who is visually impaired and has several other health issues, landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on April 6 following a three-month vacation in Barbados.

Pamela Prescod said she was left alone on an Air Canada flight.

She needed help filling out the customs forms and required a wheelchair to leave the Air Canada Rouge aircraft, so she says the crew on-board told her to wait in her seat and they would come back to help.

The staff never returned.

“(I was) scared because I have all these health issues,” she told CTV News Kitchener. “I didn’t even have a cell phone to call for help.”

“The scariest time of my life was there.”

Prescod said she sat there for an about an hour until a maintenance worker noticed her. She said the mechanic told her had he not been there, she might have been stuck in the plane for several hours until a cleaning crew arrived.

In a statement to CTV News, Air Canada blamed “a miscommunication among crew” for the incident and adds that video shows Prescod was alone in the aircraft for 10 to 15 minutes.

“Following this incident, we undertook to review our protocols with respect to on-board service,” Air Canada wrote in the statement. “This involves reinforcing our procedures by more specifically designating responsibilities among crew members to ensure consistent and proper care and handling of all customers, especially those with special needs.”

Air Canada has issued Prescod an apology and refunded her the cost of her ticket. They also offered her a $500 voucher for future travel.

“I don’t think a plane ticket is good enough,” Prescod said. “I was traumatized.”

Michell Knight, one of Prescod’s daughters, came to pick her mother up that day and said the whole ordeal was worrying to say the least.

“She’s the only mom I have and if something were to happen to her, that’s a hard loss,” she said.

Prescod’s story comes just days after Tiffani O’Brien came forward with a similar experience with Air Canada. During a flight from Quebec City to Toronto earlier this month, O’Brien said she was left on the plane after falling asleep.

In this case, O’Brien said the plane had moved off the loading dock and had been parked with all its lights turned off. She was eventually spotted by crew members on the ground.

“How could it happen twice in three months if they’re taking the necessary precautions?” said Prescod’s other daughter Debbie Louttet.

“How many more have Air Canada just left? How many more times have they dropped the ball?”

Knight added that she expects these two incidents to be a wake-up call for Air Canada.

“I hope Air Canada realizes they have a commitment to their clients and a responsibility that we are safe, and I hope they do have to face public accountability,” she said.

Prescod’s daughters said that moving forward, they will no longer let their mother travel alone.

Air Canada Enhances its Award-Winning In-Flight Entertainment by Partnering with Crave and Stingray

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Airline also boosts TV and movie content by 50 per cent on select aircraft types
  • New, easy-to-navigate in-flight entertainment system interface, will enable customers to browse in 15 languages, and discover more than 1,000 hours of high quality entertainment – more than any other airline in the Americas

MONTREAL, June 20, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada announced today that it is expanding its popular in-flight entertainment selection through unique partnerships with Bell Media’s premium entertainment service, Crave, and Canadian-based multi-platform audio service, Stingray. The new offerings are part of an enhancement of the airline’s entertainment system that will increase the content selection by 50 per cent on certain aircraft types, including many of its longest-haul wide-body Boeing 777s and 787s, as well as Air Canada Rouge’s A319s, A321s and Boeing 767s, offering enough content that a customer would have to fly around the world 22 times to consume it all.

Air Canada is expanding its popular in-flight entertainment selection. (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada is expanding its popular in-flight entertainment selection. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Now, customers flying on Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge can enjoy premium Crave content including Vida and The Girlfriend Experience from STARZ, SHOWTIME’s Billions, Ray Donovan, and The Affair, the Crave original comedy Letterkenny and Comedy Central’s Broad City. From Stingray comes a wider range of music content, including concert and music documentaries, music video playlists, artist interviews, award show coverage and introducing Stingray Ambiance, featuring videos of gorgeous destinations set to soothing soundtracks to encourage relaxation. On Air Canada mainline, Stingray audio content will be available in a variety of genres, including pop, country, hip-hop and wellness. As a special introductory offer, Air Canada customers can take advantage of a free three-month trial of Stingray Music, using promotional code AirCanada at www.stingray.com/promo until the end of September.

“Recently, Air Canada was voted the Best Airline for Onboard Entertainment by readers of Global Traveler yet Air Canada’s commitment to service excellence demands that we continually elevate the customer experience. For this reason, we are pleased to announce new partnerships with Crave and Stingray that will significantly enrich our video and music offerings. Air Canada will be the only carrier to offer full seasons of Crave programming, while music lovers will be able to enjoy a much wider array of songs and genres from top artists through Stingray,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President of Product at Air Canada.

“Additionally, Air Canada is significantly boosting the selection of movies and television shows it currently offers on its newest mainline wide-body and narrow-body aircraft types. These upgrades will give customers, including those on our longest flights, greater choice than ever before, with access to full season boxsets of shows such as How I Met Your Mother, full collections of movie franchises including Harry Potter and the Matrix, more new releases from Disney and expanded content from HBO. To help customers select and manage their entertainment options, we are also progressively introducing a new user interface that will be easier to navigate and available in 15 languages.”

Later this year, increased content will also come to Air Canada’s Airbus A330 fleet with the addition of upgraded servers.

Fun facts about Air Canada’s In-Flight Entertainment System:

  • To consume all the in-flight entertainment on board Air Canada in June, customers would have to fly Toronto to Hong Kong 72 times or around the world 22.5 times
  • Over 90 per cent of passengers engage with our in-flight entertainment.
  • At over 4 hours, the longest movie we have onboard is Cleopatra (1963)
  • The most watched movie of the year thus far is Bohemian Rhapsody.

About Air Canada 

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving nearly 220 airports on six continents. Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2018 served nearly 51 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 62 airports in Canada, 54 in the United States and 100 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,317 airports in 193 countries. 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, which also named Air Canada the 2019 Best Airline in North America. For more information, please visit: aircanada.com/media, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook