Global Crossing Airlines Announces Final Order for Spin-Out of Canada Jetlines and Provides Details on Ex-Dividend Trading

Miami, Florida–(Newsfile Corp. – June 18, 2021) – Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTCQB: JETMF) (the “Company” or “GlobalX”) is pleased to announce the receipt of the Final Order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia (the “Interim Order”) in connection with their previously announced plan of arrangement (the “Arrangement”) pursuant to which GlobalX will spin-out the shares of its wholly-owned subsidiary Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (“Jetlines”) to its shareholders.

Each shareholder of GlobalX, as of the record date for the Arrangement (“Record Date”), will receive one share of Jetlines for every two shares of GlobalX held on the Record Date. The dividend is payable on both GlobalX’s Common Stock and Class A Common Stock. After distribution GlobalX will retain 25% of Jetlines shares, with 75% held by GlobalX shareholders as of the Record Date. GlobalX previously announced that the Record Date will be Thursday, June 24, 2021. The effective date of the Arrangement is expected to be June 28, 2021, with Jetlines shares distributed to GlobalX’s shareholders on or about July 2, 2021.

The Jetlines shares will be distributed to GlobalX’s shareholders by way of dividend. GlobalX’s shares will commence trading on an ex-dividend basis on the TSX Venture Exchange at the open of trading on June 23, 2021. This means that in order to be entitled to receive a dividend of shares of Jetlines, a shareholder must be a holder or GlobalX shares as of June 22, 2021. No additional action is required by shareholders in order to receive Jetlines shares and GlobalX stockholders will retain any certificates or direct registration statements representing their GlobalX shares.

On the closing of the Arrangement, Jetlines and GlobalX will be operated as separate companies with separate management teams and Boards of Directors. For further details on the Arrangement and the business of Jetlines following the Arrangement, please refer to the Information Notice that is available on SEDAR at

Canada Jetlines Founding Director Ravinder Minhas on CBC’s The National

“We’re able to get airplanes at one heck of a price. Where it looks like things are down, that’s the best time to get in.”

May 26, 2021

Global Crossing Airlines has announced details of its intention to spin-out Canada Jetlines to its shareholders.  If you are a GlobalX shareholder on the record date of June 24th this year, you will receive one  share in Canada Jetlines for every two shares you own in GlobalX.  This is a rare opportunity to have stock in two separate airlines by owning GlobalX before the record date.

Investors may remember that the past version of Canada Jetlines was looking to raise more than $50 million to become Canada’s first scheduled ULCC (Ultra-Low Cost Carrier) but after exhaustive efforts it was never able to get off the ground.

Fast forward to today, Canada Jetlines as a charter airline is looking to capitalize on the opportunity to get aircraft at a significant discount due to the COVID pandemic.  Jetlines is poised to become a sun destination airline for Canadians to take advantage of with an expected travel surge when restrictions are finally lifted.

Serial Canadian entrepreneur Ravinder Minhas recently joined the Canada Jetlines board of directors and was interviewed by CBC stating  “People go, “Whoa. What are you doing? Are you nuts?”  Yet Mr. Minhas believes that there has never been a better time to launch an airline in Canada.  “We’re able to get airplanes at one heck of a price.  Where it looks like things are down, that’s the best time to get in.”

In June 2020, GlobalX airlines took over the shell of the past Canada Jetlines (TSX-V: JET) and started trading on the TSX-V after closing a $1.5 million $0.25 USD unit financing. Shares briefly ran to $3.30 and as of this writing now sit at just over $2.00 as the airline finishes its FAA certification.  GlobalX is a US based airline that will operate charter and cargo flights and will operate independent of Canada Jetlines which will be looking to finance its start-up likely commencing in June.

The CBC video can be viewed by clicking here.

The CBC News article can be read here.

Global Crossing Airlines Announces Interim Order for Spin-Out of Canada Jetlines

MIAMI, FL.May 25, 2021 – Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc. (JET: TSX-V; JETMF: OTCQB) (the “Company” or “GlobalX”) is pleased to announce the receipt of an Interim Order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia (the “Interim Order“) in connection with their previously announced plan of arrangement (the “Arrangement“) pursuant to which GlobalX will spin-out the shares of its wholly-owned subsidiary Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (“Jetlines”) to its shareholders. Having obtained the Interim Order, GlobalX has posted an Information Notice on SEDAR at that contains all of the details regarding the Arrangement.

Each shareholder of GlobalX, as of the record date for the Arrangement (“Record Date”), will receive one share of Jetlines for every two shares of GlobalX held on the Record Date. After distribution GlobalX will retain 25% of Jetlines shares, with 75% held by GlobalX shareholders as of the Record Date. GlobalX has determined that, subject to receipt of final approval from the Supreme Court of British Columbia the Record Date will be Thursday, June 24, 2021.

On the closing of the Arrangement, Jetlines and GlobalX will be operated as separate companies with separate management teams and Boards of Directors. For further details on the Arrangement and the business of Jetlines following the Arrangement, please refer to the Information Notice.

About Global Crossing Airlines Group

GlobalX is a US 121 domestic flag and supplemental airline now in FAA certification using the Airbus A320 family aircraft. GlobalX has taken delivery of one A320 and one A321 aircraft as it prepares for revenue operations. Subject to FAA and DOT approvals, GlobalX intends to fly as an ACMI and wet lease charter airline serving the US, Caribbean and Latin American markets.  For more information please visit

About Canada Jetlines

Canada Jetlines is a Canadian Low Cost Carrier that intends to begin operations, pending CTA approval, as a Tour Operator with flights into popular sun destinations in the USA and Mexico. Canada Jetlines intends to operate a very efficient fleet of Airbus A320 Aircraft providing safe, reliable, friendly, and consistent service to Canadians.

For more information about everything Canada Jetlines, please visit

Continue reading

Betting on better days: Airlines launch in anticipation of travel boom

From CBC News – link to source story

Dozens of airlines say now is the time to start flying

Peter Armstrong · CBC News · May 21, 2021

Planes have spent much of the last year parked due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as public health restrictions lift and more people get vaccinated, travellers and airlines are preparing for a surge in bookings. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Amid an absolutely disastrous year, as airlines lost billions of dollars and laid off thousands of employees, imagine telling someone you’re planning on launching a new airline.

“People go, “Whoa. What are you doing? Are you nuts?'” said Ravinder Minhas, a founding board member of upstart Canada Jetlines.

And yet, Minhas believes there’s never been a better time to launch an airline in Canada.

“Where it looks like things are down, that’s the best time to get in,” he said.

Things are definitely down.

WATCH: Transport minister says he is ‘very confident’ the Air Canada deal will boost employment:

Feds ‘very confident’ Air Canada deal will lead to a jump in employment numbers: Alghabra

In February, Air Canada’s outgoing president and CEO Calin Rovinescu called 2020 the “bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation.” The airline lost $1.16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

But as restrictions begin to lift and the prospect of more normal times beckons, the airline industry stands to gain. For more than a year now, people have been cooped up inside.

Millions lost their jobs when the pandemic hit. But millions more simply shifted to working from home. They saved money by not travelling, not eating out and not commuting. CIBC says households have saved a staggering $100 billion.

Now Canadians are starting to plan for life on the other side of the crisis.

Economist Amit Damadoran, who works with the online travel site Hopper, says U.S. travel agents are already seeing a major uptick in bookings.

Carleton business professor Ian Lee says startup airlines such as Canada Jetlines are able to take advantage of current downturns in the industry. ‘The planes are cheaper. The labour is cheaper,’ he said. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

“With the vaccine rollout, we’ve seen a lot of that pent-up demand start to translate into more bookings, both for late spring and summer,” he said. 

That’s why entrepreneurs see an opportunity.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an aircraft leasing company called Avalon Holdings, says more than 90 airlines are launching this year.

‘It’s now or never’

There’s Wizz Air in Abu Dhabi, Flyr in Norway, Flypop in the U.K and Ego airlines in Italy. They’re all trying to nudge in on competitors and take advantage of the low cost of entry to the industry right now.

“It’s now or never,” said Ian Lee, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business.

A mock-up of a Canada Jetlines plane. The new discount airline plans to start flying in the summer of 2021. (Canada Jetlines)

He says new airlines have none of the baggage the legacy carriers have had to shoulder over the past year. None of the sunk costs, none of the lost billions. New carriers have been able to negotiate lucrative deals amid the crisis, he said.

“The slots are cheaper,” he says referring to fees airports charge airlines to take off and land. “The planes are cheaper. The labour is cheaper.”

Minhas says newer airlines are poised to take advantage. He also says travellers are ready to flock back onto planes. Canada Jetlines will soon offer flights to sun destinations with cheaper fares than legacy carriers, in part because they were able to strike those good deals.

“We were able to get airplanes at one heck of a price,” he said.

Consumers pining for experiences

Minhas says plane manufacturers found it harder to sell aircraft this past year simply because most airlines had too many planes and not enough spots to park them.

A lonely scene, devoid of travellers, at Montreal’s Pierre Trudeau International Airport on Friday. The Quebec government has welcomed new federal restrictions on international travel. (François Sauvé/Radio-Canada)

But getting the equipment and the permits right is only part of the picture. The real question revolves around demand. Just how quickly are consumers going to flock back onto crowded airplanes?

The past year has been incredibly cautious. How long will it take for that caution to recede?

Lee says he kept reading experts claiming everything was going to change.

“I have rejected that theory from the beginning,” he said.

Lee says there’s always been a stark divide between the stuff we buy and the things we do. This past year has made that divide even more clear. Sure, consumers could buy endless amounts of things online. But what they’ve missed more than anything are experiences.

No one knows when travel will boom again

So, as the pandemic restrictions pull back, consumers Lee predicts consumer will flood back to services that provide experiences. And he says tourism will be one of the biggest beneficiaries

A man walks inside a Terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy on Feb. 5. The International Air Transport Association has said global air travel won’t recover from the pandemic until 2024. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)

“There’s going to be an explosion in air travel,” says Lee.

But like everything else in the economy right now, there are more questions than answers. It seems all the crystal balls broke during the last crisis. The fact is, no one knows how and when travel will start booming again. The International Air Transport Association doesn’t expect things to fully normalize until 2024.

The airline industry is one of the most intensely competitive in the world. New entrants have an incredibly low success rate in Canada, as giants like Air Canada have devoured competitors one by one.

But each of these upstarts believe this time will be different. And that starts with COVID cases coming under control.

“We’re starting to see that recovery,” says Minhas. “It’s going to happen. We just need to hold on and have a little bit more patience to get there.”

Canada Jetlines Hires Brad Warren as Vice President of Maintenance

Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – May 18, 2021) – Global Crossing Airlines Group, Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTCQB: JETMF) the “Company” or “GlobalX”) is pleased to announce the hiring of Brad Warren as Vice President of Maintenance for its subsidiary Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (“Jetlines”).

Brad will be the Person Responsible for Maintenance (PRM), a key Transport Canada approved post, leading the development of the maintenance department through the certification process. Brad has more than 25 years of maintenance experience, most recently serving as Managing Director at Air Canada accountable for line maintenance with more than 1,800 maintenance technicians in Canada and globally. His prior experience includes Vice President of Maintenance for Air Georgian and Regional 1 airlines, including the role of PRM before taking a senior leadership role at Air Canada Rouge.

“Having worked previously with Brad, I know him to be a seasoned and skilled manager with extensive experience and industry knowledge. He is the ideal choice for the Vice President of Maintenance role for Canada Jetlines,” says Eddy Doyle, President of Jetlines.

About Global Crossing Airlines Group

GlobalX is a US Part 121 domestic, flag, and supplemental airline now in FAA certification using the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. GlobalX has taken delivery of one A320 and one A321 aircraft as it prepares for revenue operations. Subject to FAA and DOT approvals, GlobalX intends to fly as an ACMI and wet lease charter airline serving the US, Caribbean and Latin American markets. For more information, please visit

About Canada Jetlines

Canada Jetlines is a Canadian Low Cost Carrier that intends to begin operations, pending CTA approval, as a Tour Operator with flights into popular sun destinations in the USA and Mexico. Canada Jetlines intends to operate a very efficient fleet of Airbus A320 Aircraft providing safe, reliable, friendly, and consistent service to Canadians.

For more information about everything Canada Jetlines, please visit

Global Crossing Airlines Provides Details on Spin-Out of Canada Jetlines

GlobalX Shareholders to Receive One Share of Canada Jetlines for Every Two Shares of GlobalX

Miami, Florida–(Newsfile Corp. – April 20, 2021) – Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTCQB: JETMF) (the “Company” or “GlobalX“) is pleased to provide an update on the spin-out of Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (“Jetlines“), by plan of arrangement, to its shareholders (the “Transaction“). GlobalX and Jetlines have entered into an Arrangement Agreement pursuant to which the ownership interest of Jetlines will be distributed to the shareholders of GlobalX. Each shareholder of GlobalX, as of the record date for the Transaction (“Record Date“), will receive one share of Jetlines for every two shares of GlobalX held on the Record Date. After distribution GlobalX will retain 25% of Jetlines shares, with 75% held by GlobalX shareholders as of the Record Date. On the closing of the Transaction, Jetlines and GlobalX will be operated as separate companies with separate management teams and Boards of Directors (see below for additional information).

Figure 1 – Canada Jetlines Livery

Transaction Details

The transaction will be carried out by way of statutory plan of arrangement pursuant to the Canada Business Corporations Act (“CBCA”). Under the terms of the Transaction, GlobalX will distribute 75% of the shares of Jetlines to GlobalX’s shareholders as of the Record Date and retain a 25% interest in Jetlines. Each shareholder of GlobalX as of the Record Date will receive one share of Jetlines for every two shares of GlobalX held on the Record Date. Jetlines intends to operate as a Canadian charter airline once applicable regulatory approvals are in place and the Transaction is essential to achieve compliance with foreign ownership and control restrictions applicable to Canadian airlines.

Subsequent to the completion of the Transaction, the Company intends to complete a private placement financing of Jetlines and seek a listing of the Jetlines shares on the TSX Venture Exchange, but no assurance can be provided that such financing will be completed or that a listing will be obtained. Any such listing will be subject to Jetlines fulfilling all of the requirements of the applicable stock exchange.

The Record Date has not yet been determined but will be announced in a future press release. GlobalX expects that the Record Date, and closing of the Transaction, will occur prior to the end of Q2, 2021. The Jetlines shares will be subject to resale restrictions with 50% of the Jetlines shares being subject to escrow at the time of completion of the spin-out and released in twelve months.

Management and Directors

Jetlines has identified an experienced management team and Board of Directors to lead its business:


Eddy Doyle, Chief Executive Officer – Captain Doyle has over 35 years experience in aviation. He started his career as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force before joining Air Canada in 1989. He has over 11,000 hours flying experience, having flown Airbus and Boeing aircraft domestically and internationally. At Air Canada he was responsible for nearly 4,000 pilots, dispatchers, load agents, and administrative staff. He played a crucial role in the Air Canada restructuring process of 2004, the negotiation with the pilots’ union of the agreement that allowed the creation of Rouge and major cost control improvements. He served in many management roles during his career at Air Canada such as: Chief Pilot Member of the management team responsible for the Air Canada bankruptcy restructuring process and Vice President Flight Operations. After retiring from Air Canada, Captain Doyle took the position of Deputy-CEO at Bamboo Airways in Vietnam, where he helped launch the airline. He helped grow the airline to 25 aircraft (A320 & B787) by the end of its first year in operation. Additional accomplishments include obtaining the IATA Operational Safety Audit certificate; achieving the best on-time performance in Vietnam and being recognized by the Vietnam Economic Times as the Best Service Airline in Vietnam

Duncan Bureau – Commercial Advisor – Duncan has a vast experience in commercial aviation, having previously served in several key roles in the industry including: Senior VP Sales & Distribution at Etihad, President Air Canada Rouge, Global Vice President Sales & Distribution Air Canada, Senior VP Global Sales & Distribution at Malaysia Airlines and VP Sales & Partnerships at WestJet.

Vic Charlebois – VP Flight Operations – Vic has over 35 years experience in the industry and was previously employed by Jetlines as VP Flight Operations for two years. He is the primary author of several of the critical AOC manuals that will be submitted to Transport Canada. He has previously served in the same role with First Air, Zoom Airlines and Canada 3000 after an 18 year career in the Canadian Air Force.

Board of Directors

The Honourable Jean Charest – As the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Premier of Québec, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s most recognized political figures. He was first elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1984 and by 1986 he became the youngest person to be named to cabinet when he assumed the role of Minister of State for the Youth. He was notably the initiator of the negotiation for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). As Minister of the Environment, he led Canada’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio and was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity. The Charest government has been a world leader on the environment and climate change, and best known for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”. Furthermore, the Charest government initiated an unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec. Under his leadership, Québec experienced a sustained period of economic prosperity with stronger economic growth from 2008 to 2012 than the rest of Canada, the U.S and Europe despite a global financial and economic crisis.

In 2017-2018 Jean Charest led a year long consultation and delivered a report entitled “Vision 2025” about the future of the aerospace industry in Canada on behalf of the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC). In 2019, he was named Special envoy for the Canadian Prime Minister in the race to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council. More recently, he joined the Wilson Center border task force which studies the issue of US-Canadian cross border travel restrictions. Jean Charest is a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault.

Ravinder Minhas – Ravinder Minhas has a Bachelor of Science in Oil & Gas Engineering from the University of Calgary. After completing his degree, along with his sister Manjit, he co-founded Minhas Breweries and Distilleries which they grew to a company with sales in five Canadian provinces, 41 states and 19 countries. In 2002, Ravinder and his sister incorporated Mountain Crest Brewing Company in Alberta to create and sell premium beer at discounted prices. In 2006, they became the youngest brewery owners in the world after purchasing the second oldest brewery in the U.S, Joseph Huber Brewing Company in Wisconsin, which they renamed to “Minhas Craft Brewery”. The Minhas Craft Brewery is now ranked in the Top 10 breweries largest breweries in America. Ravinder has a passion for the arts and in 2012 he co-founded Spotlight Television & Film, a company that produces scripted, documentary and reality programs with over 480 hours of national and award winning television content. In addition to his passion for arts, Ravinder’s strong sense of community and social responsibility led him to serve as a board member of the Calgary Stampede.

David Kruschell – David Kruschell is President & CEO at Frontier Lodging Solutions, a workforce and corporate lodging company based in Calgary, Alberta. David has an extensive knowledge of the travel industry having held several key executive positions in this sector over his career. Prior to Frontier Lodging, David was Senior Vice President, Client Management & Consulting at Direct Travel, a leader in travel management in north America, employing over 725 travel professionals in Canada. David started his career in travel in 1994 at the Rider BTI Travel Group and held the role of Vice President, Western Canada from 1996 to 2000. David then embarked on an entrepreneurial path acting as partner and President in a series of UNIGLOBE branded businesses. David was able to grow each business through client acquisition and mergers culminating in 2014 with the creation of UNIGLOBE One Travel. By 2018 the company had grown to over 600 corporate clients and over $300 million in annual sales. In 2018, David and his partners sold Uniglobe One Travel to Direct Travel of Denver, CO.

Global Crossing Airlines Completes Jurisdiction Change to the US and starts First Pilot Class Training

MIAMI, FLORIDA December 22, 2020 – Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTCQB: JETMF) (the “Company” or “GlobalX”) announces that it has achieved two major milestones in its progress towards certification.

GlobalX received FAA approval and authorization of its training programs for Pilots, Flight Attendants and Dispatchers and Maintenance Technicians. With this approval, GlobalX will proceed with an in person training start date in Miami of January 4, 2021 for this first class of Pilots, with computer based training for initial training modules starting week of December 28.

“We are pleased to welcome our first class of pilots to GlobalX. The addition of these highly skilled and tenured professionals, along with the domestication to Delaware as required under US Dept. of Transportation regulations, are required steps for GlobalX to be certified as a US airline. With these milestones now achieved, GlobalX turns to on the next steps in the certification process in preparation for the launch of A320 charter operations in 2021,” said Juan Nunez, VP – Flight Operations.

Additionally, GlobalX completed the change of its jurisdiction of incorporation from the Province of British Columbia, Canada to the State of Delaware (the “U.S. Domestication”). In connection with the U.S. Domestication, the Company has also changed its name to “Global Crossing Airlines Group Inc.”. The Company will continue to trade on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSXV”) under the symbol “JET” and on the OTCQB under the symbol “JETMF”. Trading in the shares of common stock of the Company as a Delaware corporation and under the new name will commence at market open on the date specified in the final TSXV bulletin that will be issued in connection with the name change and U.S Domestication. The U.S. Domestication also better reflects from a commercial perspective the Company’s U.S.-based business and operations.

Global Crossing Airlines Appoints New President of Its Canada Jetlines Affiliate

MIAMI, Florida – December 14, 2020 – Global Crossing Airlines Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTCQB: JETMF), operating as “GlobalX” is pleased to announce, effective January 1, 2021, the appointment of Captain Eddy Doyle as President of its Canada Jetlines affiliate. Captain Doyle will lead the development and certification of Canada Jetlines as a Canadian charter airline, operating the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.

Eddy Doyle has more than 35 years of aviation experience, first as a Canadian Air Force officer and later in a long career with Air Canada, culminating in his position as Vice President of Flight Operations directly responsible to Transport Canada and overseeing over 3,000 pilots and dispatchers. After retirement from Air Canada, he served as Deputy CEO and board member of Bamboo Airways, where he led the regulatory certification and growth to 25 Airbus family aircraft in its first year of operations, gaining IOSA certification and recognized as best Service Airline in Vietnam.

“Captain Doyle is the right person to lead the Canada Jetlines launch, given his experience with over 11,000 hours in the cockpit and his extensive management experience with the national airline of Canada, and one of the most successful start up airlines in Asia,” said Ed Wegel, Chairman and CEO of GlobalX. “This announcement represents a major milestone for GlobalX as we move forward with our plans to spin out Canada Jetlines.”

As a result of its merger with Canada Jetlines, GlobalX acquired all of the assets and intellectual property of Jetlines. GlobalX will retain a controlling interest in Canada Jetlines and is evaluating distributing this residual ownership interest in Canada Jetlines to its shareholders on a pro-rata basis. The completion of this transaction would not affect in any way the current shareholdings of shareholders in GlobalX.

“I am very excited to lead this effort to bring Canada Jetlines into the air with the support of GlobalX. The time is right for a new alternative for vacationing Canadians as we look at initially serving South Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexican markets,” added Captain Doyle.

As passengers pushed for refunds, Air Canada got more than $400 million from wage subsidy

From CBC News – link to source story and VIDEO

Airline received most aid among publicly traded companies that have disclosed finances to date

Ashley Burke, Madeline McNair · CBC News · Posted: Dec 06, 2020

Air Canada tapped into hundreds of millions of dollars in government support to pay its employees a percentage of their wages during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

This story is part of The Big Spend, a CBC News investigation examining the unprecedented $240 billion the federal government handed out during the first eight months of the pandemic.

Air Canada has received the largest amount of government pandemic aid of all publicly traded companies in Canada that have disclosed their finances to shareholders to date, a CBC News investigation has found.

The country’s largest airline reported that it collected $492 million in public funds through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to pay its employees over a period ending Sept. 30, according to Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchanges filings.

According to CBC’s findings from information posted to date, that’s roughly four times more than the second-highest sum paid to a publicly traded company through the wage subsidy, which went to Imperial Oil. The Calgary-based energy giant disclosed it received $120 million from CEWS. Linamar, a large automobile parts manufacturer, and Air Transat also received more than $100 million each to help cover salaries.

Air Canada said that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it employed about 40,000 people — making it one of the “larger private sector employers in Canada” in an industry hit “disproportionately hard” by the pandemic.

“Put simply, we are by far the biggest company in perhaps the worst industry,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote in a statement issued to CBC News. 

Despite Air Canada receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to pay its workers, the air carrier is in the midst of private negotiations with the federal government on a possible industry-specific support package. Some experts argue the carrier is using travellers’ demands for refunds for cancelled flights as leverage to pressure the government during the negotiations.

John Gradek, a former Air Canada executive and lecturer at McGill University’s global aviation leadership program, claims the airline industry is “bullying” the government into bailing out the sector, arguing that other countries have already done so. He said Air Canada is playing a “shell game” of its own.

“I think it’s a little bit of gamesmanship that’s being played by Air Canada,” Gradek said. “They’re insisting that those refunds will only be processed if the Canadian government, through the Canadian taxpayer, is providing the funds for those refunds. Not a good thing.”

WATCH | John Gradek on Air Canada pandemic aid and fare refunds:

‘The Canadian aviation industry is really bullying the government,’ said former Air Canada executive.
John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University, says the airline industry is arguing it’s time for the government to bail out struggling airlines since other countries have done so

400 private companies reviewed by CBC

CBC News analyzed data from more than 2,000 publicly traded companies listed on the TSX and TSX venture exchanges and identified 400 businesses that have already filed public disclosures indicating they received taxpayer support.

While the figures reviewed by CBC News indicate Air Canada has received the most taxpayer-funded pandemic support of any company to date, there could still be other companies that have received more and have not yet publicly disclosed the sums.

WestJet, Sunwing, Porter Airlines and Flair Airlines all received the wage subsidy to help cover their payrolls; none of them trade on the TSX and none of them have disclosed to CBC News the amount of money they received. Chorus Aviation, which owns regional airlines Jazz and Voyageur, received almost $97 million through the wage subsidy, according to TSX filings. 

In total, the federal government spent $1.4 billion helping Canadian airlines pay up to 75 per cent of employee wages during the pandemic, according to the federal government’s fall economic update, released last week.

‘The biggest company in perhaps the worst industry’

No one from Air Canada would sit for an interview with CBC News. In a media statement, the airline said it received a substantial amount for the wage subsidy because it employs so many people, and “as much as 95 per cent of our revenue disappearing virtually overnight, which is why the government is now looking at specific sectoral support for our industry, just as governments around the world have already done for their airlines.”

“Given this, it is only to be expected that we are a relatively large user of CEWS — our next biggest domestic competitor was less than one-third our size in terms of employees at the outset of COVID,” Fitzpatrick said.

As the pandemic crushes airline industry revenue, passengers — many of them struggling financially — have been angrily demanding that the federal government force airlines to refund them for cancelled flights.

More than 100,000 Canadians have joined petitions calling for government action on refunds, and several class-action lawsuits have been filed against airlines.

Air Canada holding $2.3B in revenue from ticket sales

Air Canada’s president and CEO, Calin Rovinescu, told Bloomberg News earlier this month that despite the financial hit, his airline has already paid back $1.2 billion in refundable airfares. 

Rovinescu told Bloomberg on Nov. 18 that he has “no quarrel” at all with refunding customers for non-refundable flights, “assuming that the terms of the support package are adequate and the terms are appropriate and reasonable.”

Air Canada has reported that, as of the end of September, it had $2.3 billion in revenue on hand from ticket sales — about 65 per cent of which came from non-refundable fares.

Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu told Bloomberg earlier this month it had one of the strongest balance sheets in the global airline industry heading into the pandemic. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Gradek argues that Air Canada has the money to pay the refunds but is using it as a bargaining chip in bailout negotiations with the federal government.

“Air Canada does have the cash,” he said, pointing to the airline’s $8 billion in unrestricted liquidity as of September. “Air Canada does not need government funding in order for it to process those refunds.”

No more sectoral support without refunds, says Garneau

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he has made it clear to airlines that they must pay out the refunds before they can get any more government aid.

“We said very clearly no — until they commit in writing to refund passengers, they will not get a cent from the Canadian government,” he said.

When asked by CBC News whether Ottawa would allow airlines to use taxpayer dollars to refund passengers, Garneau said he would not go into details since the negotiations with the airlines are confidential.

But he did suggest that if airlines meet the government’s requirements for financial support and commit in writing to refunding passengers, carriers could qualify for help. The government has imposed conditions on bailing out air carriers that require them to issue refunds, maintain air connections throughout Canada and honour any orders placed with Canadian aerospace companies.

“It takes a while to do that refunding because there are quite a few passengers, but once the refund agreement is signed — a very specific undertaking by both sides — then they’ll be in a position to receive our assistance as they begin the refunding process,” Garneau said.

WATCH | Transport Minister Marc Garneau on sectoral aid for airlines:

‘They will not get a cent’ until airlines commit to customer refunds, says Transport Minister Marc Garneau

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the government is currently in confidential talks with major airlines about an industry-specific aid package contingent on a number of strict conditions.

‘I’m extremely upset about it’

Air Canada customer Calvin Hill said he feels like a “hostage.” 

He and his wife said they can’t afford rent in Medicine Hat, Alta., because they’re out $4,000 for Air Canada flights they never took. They say they’re sleeping in their daughter’s basement.

“I’m extremely upset about it,” Hill said. “Then to find out that the airlines want to turn around and have us Canadian taxpayers bail them out while they refuse to turn around and refund the monies back to us  — it’s very upsetting.”

Hill, who retired last year, planned to take the trip of a lifetime to Asia with his wife. Then the pandemic hit and the government told all Canadians to come home in March. 

Air Canada wouldn’t allow the couple to board their original flights out of Bangkok to get home due to travel restrictions on one of their layovers, Hill said. As a result, he and his wife had to pay for flights home with another carrier.

Hill claims an Air Canada agent promised to refund their tickets, but he’s still fighting for the money more than eight months later. He said he’s out roughly four months’ rent.

“They’re holding us as people with outstanding vouchers or refunds hostage unless we tell them, ‘Well, you give me a dollar in my left hand and I’ll give you a dollar back in my right hand to pay for it,'” he said. “Which I think is ridiculous.”

Calvin Hill and his wife Janice have been fighting for months for a refund for Air Canada flights they couldn’t board. (Submitted)

Major gap in Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations

Air Canada said it’s offering non-refundable ticket holders travel credits with no expiry date that can be transferred to others or to “convert their booking to Aeroplan points and with an additional 65 per cent bonus.”The airline said this option is in line with direction given by the Canadian Transportation Agency. 

Scott Streiner, chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, testified in front of MPs last week that there is a gap in Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations that no one saw coming. Canadian airlines are not obligated to refund passengers if cancellations are out of a carrier’s control, he said. 

“[The regulations] refund obligation applies exclusively to flight cancellations within airlines controls,” Streiner told the transport committee on Dec 1. “We now know the gap highlighted by the pandemic is significant.”

Streiner said if and when the CTA gets authority to fix that gap, “we’ll fix it.”

In contrast, Air Canada is offering customers who flew out of Europe a refund for non-refundable tickets after “extensive discussions” with European Union members. 

Air Canada in talks with government

Air Canada’s third-quarter results report to investors shows the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on the company. The airline says it saw an 88 per cent drop in passenger traffic due to the pandemic and travel restrictions.

The airline did earn $757 million in the third quarter, but that represented an 86 per cent drop of $4.7 billion from its earnings in the same time period in 2019. 

Bleeding cash, Air Canada took what it called “the painful step” of cutting half of its workforce in June — 20,000 jobs — and indefinitely suspended 30 domestic regional routes. The carrier also retired some planes early and postponed or cancelled the delivery of some new aircraft, according to the company’s financial records.

Wesley Lesosky is the president of the Air Canada component of CUPE, which represents 6,000 laid-off flight attendants. He said Air Canada should have kept those people employed through the wage subsidy program, as other airlines did. 

Lesosky is also the president of the union’s airline division, which represents 15,000 flight attendants at other airlines, including Air Transat, Sunwing and WestJet. 

“If the government’s going to give an employer that amount of assistance, which is quite high, it should have conditions tied to it where the workers are actually protected,” he said.

Air Canada, meanwhile, told CBC News that Canada is “somewhat of an outlier among developed nations in not having a targeted, sectoral support program for the aviation industry.”

The carrier points to the International Air Transport Association’s chief economist, who stated recently that more than $160 billion US in government aid has gone to airlines globally.

The U.S. and some European countries have given billions in financial aid to airlines. In some cases, there were strings attached to that aid, such as governments taking  equity stakes in the airlines and requiring them to issue refunds.

Global Crossing Announces Plans for Spin-Out of Canada Jetlines Operations

MIAMI, FLORIDA, September 8, 2020 – Global Crossing Airlines Inc. (TSXV: JET) (OTC Pink: JETMF) (the “Company” or “GlobalX“) is pleased to announce its intention to spin-out its 100% owned Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. subsidiary to an existing shell company and renaming it Canada Jetlines Vacations (“CJV”). Subject to concluding satisfactory terms, GlobalX intends to provide CJV with aircraft and crews to fly Vacation charters to Florida, Atlantic City and the Caribbean. GlobalX will retain a controlling interest in CJV and is evaluating distributing this residual ownership interest in CJV to its shareholders on a pro-rata basis.”We believe Canadians seek more alternatives when it comes to airlines and vacation providers,” stated Ed Wegel, Chairman and CEO of Global X. “We believe by creating a stand-alone public company committed to serving the Canadian market represents a unique opportunity and will ultimately bring to fruition the long term vision of our original Canada Jetlines shareholders to provide choice to Canadians when it comes to vacation and air travel.”Mr. Wegel added “we have identified funding sources to complete the proposed transaction, subject to completion of a public listing of Canada Jetlines Vacations and other customary conditions”.The completion of this transaction would not affect in any way the current shareholdings of shareholders in Global Crossing Airlines Inc. The completion of this transaction and distribution of any securities to shareholders in the new proposed company is subject to a number of conditions including the completion of legal and tax structuring analysis, identification of a suitable shell company, completion of financing and receipt of required regulatory approvals. There is no certainty the transaction will be completed on the terms proposed or at all. Further details will be provided in subsequent news releases.