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Old July 7th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #181
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Air Canada should be put to work for military: pilot
David Pugliese
6 July 2005
National Post

OTTAWA - Air Canada planes and pilots could be used to haul troops and equipment overseas as part of a new scheme to deal with the Canadian Forces' air transportation problems.

Air force officials met several months ago with Air Canada pilot Don Eddie to hear details of his proposal, which would involve giving the military assured access to a group of the airline's planes. In addition, Air Canada pilots who are members of the military's reserve forces would do the flying as part of a plan dubbed the Canadian Global Airlift Reserve. The airline's other pilots would also be welcome to join the new reserve force.

Air Canada has about 400 pilots who are former members of the military or serving in the existing reserve force, said Mr. Eddie, who developed the plan. He is a member of the Canadian military's supplemental reserves and a former Australian air force pilot.

Air force officials say they don't believe Mr. Eddie's proposal would meet their needs at this time, but have left the door open as they consider how it might fit into Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier's scheme to transform the military for the future.

"We continue to consider the viability of this proposal to see what level of investment may, in the future, be warranted, should circumstances change," Air force spokeswoman Maj. Lynne Chaloux said.

Gen. Hillier wants the Canadian Forces to be able to respond faster to missions both at home and abroad. The military, however, lacks the long-range planes to move troops and vehicles overseas or to some parts of Canada, and in the past has had to rely on renting giant Antonov cargo aircraft from a Ukrainian company.

Under Mr. Eddie's plan, the military would lease freight airliners from Air Canada, which would use the planes when they're not needed by the forces.

"Right now we're renting Antonovs and we're spending a million dollars a week on them," Mr. Eddie said.

Maj. Chaloux said military officials met with Mr. Eddie in March to be briefed on his proposal, and while the plan has some merit, the Air force believes it is of limited use to the Department of National Defence at this time.

"It has since been determined that while it was an interesting proposal, Air Canada's cargo aircraft are not the kind that DND regularly requires," she added.

For instance, the doors of the MD-11 and 747 airliners are not large enough to handle the sea containers the Canadian Forces uses to ship gear. The 747 would also require special equipment for loading, and such machinery is not always available at poorly developed airfields the military sometimes has to use on overseas missions.

Some military officials note that Air Canada planes do not have ramps to allow vehicles to roll on and roll off the aircraft, a key requirement for the Canadian Forces. In addition, there are concerns that Mr. Eddie's plan would be extremely complicated to put in place since it would involve Air Canada unions and other labour issues.

Mr. Eddie said he is aware of the limitations of civilian airliners, but noted the doors of the Boeing 747 aircraft or the new 777 plane could likely be modified to accept larger cargo. In addition, specialized loading equipment could be carried in the belly of a plane for use at austere airfields, he added.

He believes his plan could save the Canadian Forces hundreds of millions of dollars since it is considering a lease or purchase of the U.S.-built C-17 military transport plane.
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Old July 8th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #182
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Several passengers quiet brutish man on flight -- by sitting on him
Armando D'Andrea
National Post
07 July 2005

Air Canada passengers restrained a man by sitting on him after he began yelling and swearing in English and Spanish during a flight to Buenos Aires yesterday morning. Flight AC 94 was diverted to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago at about 6:40 a.m. local time as a precautionary measure after the man stood on plane seats while causing the disturbance. Witnesses said several passengers had to physically restrain the man, who appeared drunk. Air Canada officials said he was also abusive to crew members and approached a flight attendant in "a threatening manner." After a two hour wait in Port-of-Spain Air Canada said the plane resumed its flight to Buenos Aires. They said the man is now in the hands of Port-of-Spain authorities. Witnesses also said that the passengers on board were shaken up, but otherwise OK. No weapons were involved.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 03:53 AM   #183
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WestJet June Load Factor Increases To 73.5%
7 July 2005

CALGARY (Dow Jones)--WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) flew 615.4 million revenue passenger miles in June, up 22.4% from 502.6 million a year ago.

In a news release, the airline said that, in the year to date, traffic increased 35.8% to 3.73 million revenue passenger miles.

In June, its capacity rose 19.8% to 837.8 million available seat miles from 699.3 million a year in June 2004. For the year to date, capacity rose 27.1% to 5.16 billion available seat miles.

The airline's load factor in the latest month was 73.5%, up from 71.9% a year ago. For the first six months of 2005, Westjet's load factor increased to 72.3% from 67.7% in 2004.

West-Jet is a low-cost airline.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 03:54 AM   #184
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Air Canada June Traffic Up 7.3%
7 July 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--Air Canada, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc's (ACE.B.T) mainline air carrier, had a load factor of 81.3% last month, its highest ever for June.

In a news release, the airline said its traffic rose 7.3% to 4.00 billion revenue passenger miles from 3.73 billion in June 2004.

Its capacity increased 4.7% to 4.91 billion avalibale seat miles in the latest month from 4.69 billion a year earlier.

Its year-earlier June load factor was 79.4%.

For the year to date, its traffic rose 5.6% to 21.15 billion revenue passenger miles and its capacity rose 1% to 26.57 billion available seat miles. For the first six months of 2005, the airline's load factor rose to 79.6% from 76.1%.

ACE Aviation's regional carrier, Jazz, recorded traffic of 214 million revenue passenger miles in June, up 37.2% from 156 million a year ago. Capacity rose 23.9% to 285 million available seat miles, and load factor increased 75.1% from 67.8% a year ago.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #185
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Air Canada to Serve Delhi Via Zurich with Introduction of Year-Round Daily Service to Switzerland and India

MONTREAL, July 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada today announced that effective October 30, 2005, it will serve Delhi via Zurich on a daily year-round basis from Toronto. The transfer of flights to India via Switzerland will allow Air Canada to re-introduce year-round service to Zurich while improving its schedule to India with an increase to daily flights from its current three-times weekly non-stop service from Toronto. In addition, Air Canada plans to pursue a codeshare agreement with future Star Alliance member, Swiss International Air Lines, by which SWISS would sell seats on a codeshare basis on the Air Canada-operated flights via Zurich.

"By offering same-plane, one-stop service to India via Switzerland, Air Canada customers will benefit from an expanded choice of year-round daily flights to both Zurich and Delhi," said Ben Smith, Vice President, Network Planning. "We look forward to pursuing talks on commercial cooperation with SWISS, our future Star Alliance partner, to serve the Europe-India market as well. Moreover, deployment of right-sized Boeing 767-300ER aircraft on the route will allow us to optimize use of passenger and cargo capacity, and reintroduce our premium Executive First product in the Zurich market on a year-round asis."

Flights will be operated using 212-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft offering a choice of Executive First and Hospitality service. Flight attendants speaking Hindi, Punjabi and German, as well as English and French, will be available to serve customers in their choice of language. Customers will be offered a choice of western and Indian meals, and the in-flight entertainment program will include a number of German-language selections, as well as Indian "Bollywood" recent releases on the Zurich-Delhi segment.

Air Canada has timed its Zurich/Delhi service to offer excellent connections to and from cities across Canada via its main hub in Toronto.

Code:
                   Toronto    Zurich            Zurich        Delhi
    AC878          18:40      08:35 (+1)        10:10         22:20

                   Delhi      Zurich            Zurich        Toronto
    AC879          02:30      07:00             09:55         13:05
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Old July 10th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #186
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WOW! WestJet's been around since 1996?! I think I heard about it after Air Canada filed for protection from creditors (poor bastards). I've been seeing and hearing a lot of their commercials lately, sounds nice.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #187
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WestJet aims to add extras — for a price
User-pay items may include satellite radio
BRENT JANG
9 July 2005
The Globe and Mail

Discount carrier WestJet Airlines Ltd. is seeking to add frills by bundling user-pay services aboard upgraded planes while still guarding its traditional strength in attracting budget travellers.

The Calgary-based airline, on the eve of celebrating its 10th anniversary next February, is considering a range of options to lure passengers willing to pay extra for everything from movies to Internet access to satellite radio.

Donald Bell, WestJet executive vice-president of customer service, said the strategy is designed to expand services for business and gadget-minded travellers without sacrificing the airline's appeal to budget-conscious consumers.

“This would be value-added stuff. You could buy different things,” Mr. Bell said in an interview. “As we become a bigger and bigger player in Canada, we have to appeal to more and more people — give them choices.”

The carrier is looking at the feasibility of installing satellite radio channels on WestJet's fleet, as well as equipping planes to handle cellphones, text messaging, BlackBerrys and Internet access for laptops.

“Those are all future things that we're looking at in the next couple of years,” he said. “It's something we're keeping a close eye on to see if it's technologically and economically viable.”

In introducing new offerings, WestJet hopes to boost its revenue by charging for frills. One idea up for discussion is to bundle various services for a single fee, so that a passenger pays the basic ticket price but has the option of upgrading in advance to receive a sandwich, drink, higher-quality headset and movie. Advance seat selection is free for now, but could become a user-pay perk.

Another possibility for upgrades at some airports could be admission to common-use lounges.

A $2.7-million computer reservation system would help keep track of passengers ordering bundled services. WestJet announced the new computer installation in February, after technical glitches wreaked havoc on customer bookings last fall. When the installation is completed in November, the new booking system will also allow WestJet to join airline partnerships, said Mr. Bell, who declined to discuss potential alliances.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said last fall that it held preliminary talks with WestJet about a possible strategic alliance, but cautioned that it could take until late 2005 to implement.

The goal is to connect to Cathay seamlessly on one WestJet booking, with bags transferred, too.

WestJet's free LiveTV has been popular with passengers since being introduced in 39 Boeing 737 aircraft this past spring, Mr. Bell said.

He said initial “amplifier” problems with 26 antennas have been largely overcome by installing new components. There are now plans to enhance the programming offered on the LiveTV screens, which are built into the back of each leather seat. Bell ExpressVu LP supplies the live satellite feed.

Besides continuing with 24 LiveTV channels, WestJet is considering launching four channels with “first-run” movies made available to airlines after hitting theatres but before they are released on DVDs. WestJet may charge $5 to each passenger ordering a movie on a personal LiveTV screen.

Other new channels could feature prerecorded Treehouse programming for children and a WestJet promotional broadcast, with content originating from video servers aboard planes.

“We had a few issues crop up, but it's way better now,” Mr. Bell said. “When you're moving a satellite receiver-antenna through the air at 800 kilometres an hour, and it's receiving 24 simultaneous channels from a satellite in space, there's a lot of technology involved.”

David Newman, an analyst with National Bank Financial Inc., said business travellers are irked at having to pay “exorbitant rates to legacy airlines,” so that leaves an opening for WestJet to outmanoeuvre rivals, notably Air Canada.

“Low-cost carriers, particularly WestJet, may be viewed more favourably by the corporate travel market, especially with improving service levels and perks,” Mr. Newman said in a recent report.

Starting this fall, WestJet will offer higher-quality headsets for $2 or $3 apiece. Last month, WestJet began charging $1 for each basic headset.

“We encourage people to bring their own headset since we have a jack that's the same as your iPod, but if you don't have a headset, we'll sell you one,” said Mr. Bell, who added that WestJet headsets left aboard planes get discarded in the garbage. “We hate throwing them out. Headsets are there for you to take and bring on your next flight.”
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:51 PM   #188
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Air Canada reports Record Load Factors for June 2005
8 July 2005


Air Canada reported a system load factor of 81.3% in June 2005, the highest ever for the month of June. The mainline carrier flew 7.3% more revenue passenger miles (RPMs) in June 2005 than in June 2004, according to preliminary traffic figures. Overall, capacity increased by 4.7%, resulting in a load factor of 81.3%, compared to 79.4% in June 2004; an increase of 1.9 percentage points.

In the domestic market, capacity increased by 1.3% and traffic increased by 5.2% resulting in a domestic load factor of 81.2% - a 3.1 percentage point increase year over year.

Jazz, Air Canada's regional airline subsidiary, flew 37.2% more revenue passenger miles in June 2005 than in June 2004, according to preliminary traffic figures. Capacity increased by 23.9%, resulting in a load factor of 75.1%, compared to 67.8% in June 2004; an increase of 7.3 percentage points.

North American traffic, on a combined basis for Air Canada and its regional carrier, Jazz, rose 10.1%.

"In June the airline again achieved record load factors for the 15th consecutive month, a clear confirmation of growing customer preference for the Air Canada product over and above the market's continuing recovery," said Montie Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our North American traffic performance was particularly strong with Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz together reporting a 10 percentage point increase over last year's record for the month."
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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:36 PM   #189
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Air Canada ejection broke rules
Passenger ordered off: Armed sky marshal bumped paying traveller on tarmac

Adrian Humphreys
National Post
11 July 2005

Air Canada violated transportation regulations by ordering a paying passenger off a flight from Toronto to Washington, D.C., to make room for an armed sky marshal, Canada's transport regulator has ruled in a decision that sheds light on the secretive and sometimes rocky efforts to protect air travel.

The saga of Harry Schatz, detailed in a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling released on Saturday, shows meeting the enhanced security requirements of the U.S. government can bring unexpected headaches.

Mr. Schatz arrived at Toronto's Pearson airport in good time for his flight on Aug. 29, 2004.

He checked in at a self-serve kiosk, brought only a carry-on bag with him and easily cleared security and U.S. Customs in time to eat before boarding.

He was assigned seat 3A on Air Canada's Flight AC 536.

Departure was delayed, however, when passengers were told "must-fly" passengers had not yet arrived, the agency's ruling says.

After the loaded plane sat on the airport tarmac for an hour, an Air Canada supervisor and an armed police officer approached Mr. Schatz and asked him to leave the aircraft with them.

"He was deplaned without any explanation and, therefore, with much embarrassment," the agency said. Mr. Schatz was escorted to the terminal.

Two seats needed to be made available for sky marshals, Air Canada later revealed. It is not known whether they were members of the RCMP's Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program or the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service.

Both agencies place armed agents in civilian clothes onboard some airliners to guard against hijacking.

"The flight could not have been operated without the marshals on board the aircraft," Air Canada told the agency.

Mr. Schatz complained to the transport regulator over the manner he was removed and the unfair manner in which he was selected to be bumped from the flight.

It is Air Canada's written policy to seek volunteers before forcing passengers off a plane. The agency found that was not followed in this case.

While Air Canada initially claimed he had been the last to board and hence the first to be bumped off the passenger list, it appears that was not the case.

Mr. Schatz claimed he was selected because he did not have checked-in luggage, making it easier to remove him. It is another security requirement that planes cannot carry the luggage of someone who is not on board.

Clearly, confusion over security remained at the time.

Air Canada first told the agency in October, 2004, that U.S. regulations prevented it from seeking volunteers, but in February said no such U.S. policy exists, the ruling says.

The agency says Air Canada must abide by its own Transborder Passenger Rules and Fare Tariff and if those procedures are not flexible enough to meet enhanced security measures they needed to be officially revised.

The plane was likely designed for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the most security sensitive airport in the U.S. because of its close proximity to the White House and other U.S. government buildings.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government requires that all flights to Reagan airport have an armed marshal aboard, along with other security measures. Private planes are still not allow to land there.

An Air Canada spokesman could not comment on the specifics of the case when reached at home yesterday because he had no access to the file.

Discussing security details is also difficult, said John Reber, a company spokesman.

"Air Canada co-operates with the authorities to implement security measures. We can't provide details to ensure their continued effectiveness," he said.

Mr. Schatz could not be reached for comment.

Air Canada has had some armed presence aboard certain flights since the 9/11 attacks.

On Sept. 17, 2002, the RCMP, Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority signed an agreement launching the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program.

Canadian sky marshals, called Aircraft Protective Officers (APOs), are placed "on board flights designated by the Minister of Transport as requiring the presence of APOs and on board other selected flights," the RCMP says on its official Web page.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #190
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WestJet Announces Completion Of Sale Of 737-200 Fleet
12 July 2005

CALGARY (Dow Jones)--WestJest Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) has completed the sale of its Boeing 737-200 fleet to Miami-based Apollo Aviation Group.

It didn't provide financial details.

In a news release, WestJet said Apollo has also purchased WestJet's inventory of spare parts and engines, as well as the company's 737-200 flight simulator.

WestJet has 10 737-200 aircraft remaining in its fleet, all of which will be replaced by Next-Generation 737 aircraft by March 2006, it said. Beginning in March 2006, WestJet will operate a fleet made up exclusively of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. It currently operates 44 Next-Generation aircraft in its fleet of 54 aircraft.

WestJet is a low-cost airline.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:40 PM   #191
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Ex-CAI pilots ask federal tribunal to uphold seniority list
Want to preserve Air Canada ranking

BRENT JANG
13 July 2005
The Globe and Mail

Former Canadian Airlines International Ltd. pilots have asked the federal labour board to uphold seniority rankings for all Air Canada pilots, urging the tribunal to ignore the “disrespectful diatribe” of disgruntled airline employees.

Since Air Canada merged operations with CAI in 2000, the airline has endured heated arguments among 3,000 unionized pilots from the two carriers.

James Hayes, a lawyer representing former CAI pilots, told the Canada Industrial Relations Board that it should dismiss attempts by so-called Original Air Canada pilots to quash the existing seniority system. OAC pilots are upset over a merged seniority list developed in 2003 by arbitrator Brian Keller, whose rankings replaced those submitted in 2001 by another arbitrator, Morton Mitchnick.

Former CAI pilots say that their own union, the Air Canada Pilots Association, is biased in favour of OAC pilots and the offshoot Red Pilots for Seniority Justice.

“It appears to be an impossible task for seniority arbitrators to make everyone happy, to convince everyone that their chosen arbitration outcome is demonstrably fair,” said Mr. Hayes, who added that he “rejects and objects strongly to the disrespectful diatribe” of pilots' union leaders advocating a revised seniority list.

“Air Canada has an obligation to remain neutral with respect to the internal seniority affairs of the pilot group,” he wrote in a new filing.

Former CAI pilots are miffed that numerous OAC pilots campaigned last month to narrowly defeat a proposed labour contract that would have cleared the way for Air Canada to order $6-billion (U.S.) in new Boeing 777s and 787s.

Mr. Hayes said his clients will support any declaration by the labour board to “state and confirm, one last time, that the issue of seniority among Air Canada pilots has already been finally and fully settled” in previous tribunal rulings and court judgments.

“In particular, the former Canadian pilots take great exception to the suggestion that the Keller award was unfair,” Mr. Hayes said. “There were pilots from both sides who were unhappy for various reasons — as is inevitably the case with any seniority integration outcome.”

Montreal-based Air Canada complained to the labour board last month that Red Pilots threatened to engage in an “illegal strike” to pressure the company to revamp seniority rankings.

Mr. Hayes said his clients take “no position as to whether or not the alleged misconduct constitutes an unlawful strike.”

He said OAC pilots who persist in their feuding over seniority are misguided in presenting a “rambling rendition” of perceived injustice.

OAC pilots who rejected the labour deal to fly new Boeing jets should be reprimanded and not rewarded for unreasonable seniority demands, Mr. Hayes added.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #192
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Deaf-blind man posed air safety hazard: tribunal
Air Canada was right not to allow man to fly alone

Armando D'Andrea
National Post
13 July 2005

Air Canada was right to insist a deaf-blind man travel with an attendant, a transportation tribunal has ruled, citing safety concerns as a top priority.

The Canadian Transportation Agency found that Air Canada's requirement that Eddy Morten travel with an attendant from Vancouver to San Francisco last fall was not an "undue obstacle."

It said the policy was justified because to allow him to travel alone could have hindered "not only his own safety but the safety of all passengers" by slowing down the evacuation process in the event of an emergency.

Almost three weeks after purchasing his ticket on Aug. 12 last year, Mr. Morten was advised that Air Canada refused to fly him alone.

Defined by Air Canada as "non self-reliant," Mr. Morten chose to have his ticket refunded when told he would have to buy a second ticket for an attendant.

Among Air Canada's concerns was that emergency evacuation success depends on how effectively verbal and visual instructions are understood, according to the 10-page decision issued last week.

It also said it would be "irresponsible" to expect flight attendants or other passengers to tend to the needs of one passenger in particular and use different methods of communication with that passenger during an emergency evacuation.

However, according to the decision, Mr. Morten felt he had effective methods of communication that would not have hindered the instruction process in the event of an emergency.

He said he could travel independently with his dog, an electronic keyboard that helps him communicate and with preprinted index cards with statements in Braille such as "ALERT follow me immediately" and "ALERT Emergency Door Exit."

He also pointed to the agency's own code of practice for travellers with disabilities, which says "personnel should be aware of the universal sign for an emergency situation, i.e. drawing the letter X on the back of the person who is deaf-blind with one's fingertips."

Mr. Morten has flown by himself previously -- to Milan in 1991 and to San Francisco earlier last year -- which Air Canada said was "inconsistent" with its policy. The airline said "he and other passengers were extremely lucky no one got hurt."

Laura Cooke, a spokeswoman for Air Canada, said safety was the paramount concern.

"The point which I think is made in this decision for us is safety is our number one priority," she said. "Our concern remains in the event of an emergency: We need to be able to quickly and easily communicate important instructions to our customers."

However, Jane Sayers, president of the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind, said she was disappointed with the decision.

"I'm not a very happy camper at the moment about this," she said. "I do feel it is an undue obstacle. The majority of persons with disabilities, especially deaf-blind people, cannot afford to buy two seats to go someplace.

"Who can afford that? I know I can't. Every time I want to go someplace I have to take someone with me?"

Ms. Sayers conceded that many deaf-blind people would not, in fact, choose to travel alone. Nonetheless, she said, how they choose to travel should be their prerogative.

"It should be our decision what we can or can't do, not someone else's decision."
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #193
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Flew AC once from Madrid to Toronto and will never do it again;rudest cabin crew I've encountered in my entire life.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #194
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Airline warned about serving disabled
Air Canada told to fix on-line system

PAUL WALDIE
15 July 2005
The Globe and Mail

Air Canada has been told by federal regulators to overhaul its on-line reservation system to better accomodate people with disabilities.

Air Canada's system “lacks essential information for persons with disabilities booking on-line,” the Canadian Transportation Agency said in a ruling released yesterday.

The CTA added that the choice of services available to disabled travellers on-line “is very limited and, in fact, does not include all of the services offered by Air Canada to persons with disabilities when they travel, nor many of the fundamental services that a carrier is required to provide pursuant to [airline regulations].”

The ruling stemmed from a case involving Wilfred Legault, who has multiple sclerosis and experiences difficulty walking and climbing stairs. In November, 2004, he used Air Canada's on-line system to book a ticket from Winnipeg to Phoenix, via Denver. The site permitted him to select one type of assistance and he requested a “wheelchair within terminal.”

The aircraft used for the first leg of the flight was a regional jet and Mr. Legault had to walk from the terminal building to the plane, according to the CTA ruling. Mr. Legault filed a complaint about the trip and argued that had he known the airplane would not dock at the terminal building, he would have selected another flight. He also raised concerns about the on-line reservation system.

Air Canada argued that it provides a wide range of services to disabled passengers, but requires 48 hours notice. The airline said there are limits to what it can put on the website and passengers who require more assistance should contact a call centre and explain.

In its ruling, the CTA said other airlines have been able to put more information and options on their reservation sites. The agency noted that disabled passengers can only make one choice on Air Canada's system even though they may require several types of services. “For example, a person such as Mr. Legault who requires wheelchair assistance for distances and assistance climbing stairs cannot indicate his or her need for both of these services when making an on-line reservation,” the agency said.

It concluded that Air Canada's system constituted an undue obstacle to the mobility of all people with disabilities.

The CTA ordered Air Canada to review its reservation system within 30 days and make changes that will broaden the type of information available for disabled travellers. The airline must also provide a detailed account of how the system works and “if Air Canada is limited in the services it can add to [the system], it is to provide a detailed explanation as to why this is so.”

Laura Cooke, an Air Canada spokeswoman, said the company is studying the ruling. “We are reviewing our on-line offerings for people with special needs in light of the CTA interim decision and will respond directly to the CTA within the required time frame,” she said.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #195
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If you subsidize rivals, no flights to Toronto, Air Canada tells PEI

Air Canada is cancelling its Toronto-Charlottetown fall and winter flights because it's livid about the PEI government's subsidies for rival WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Air Canada will be placing advertisements in local newspapers in Prince Edward Island this week to notify travellers about the airline's withdrawal, beginning in October, of flights between Toronto and Charlottetown.

PEI Premier Pat Binns' government had lured WestJet to launch service in the province by providing about $500,000 in marketing and revenue incentives.

WestJet made its PEI debut on June 28, when it launched its Toronto-Charlottetown summer-only route, offering daily non-stop flights to and from the island. The seasonal service is scheduled to end Sept. 15. Air Canada points out that it uses profit from the summer to bolster weaker winter months to maintain the route year-round, so the carrier is disturbed that the government chose to subsidize WestJet at the height of tourist season.



"Despite numerous discussions and meetings with PEI officials, including the Premier, over the past few months, we were unable to come to an agreement that would have levelled the playing field and enabled Air Canada to maintain its year-round service between Charlottetown and Toronto," Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said.

Air Canada, through its Jazz subsidiary, will continue to provide year-round flights to Halifax and Montreal from the PEI capital. Its Toronto-Charlottetown Jazz service will resume next spring, but will only last for six months before going dormant again in October, 2006.

The airline has notified Mr. Binns and federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre about its decision.

On April 26 in the PEI Legislature, opposition Liberal leader Robert Ghiz criticized the provincial Progressive Conservative government for interfering with air schedules and ignoring the implications of the WestJet subsidies. But Mr. Binns played down a letter of complaint written April 21 by Air Canada's senior director of corporate affairs, Lyse Charette.

The government's meddling forced Montreal-based Air Canada to scrap plans to boost passenger and cargo service in the summer to the island, Ms. Charette said.

Ms. Cooke added that Air Canada has been a loyal corporate citizen in Prince Edward Island, helping the local economy by transporting visitors from Canada and Japan wanting to see Anne of Green Gables tourist attractions.

"Air Canada and its regional and associated carriers are proud to have served Charlottetown for more than 30 years -- longer and more consistently than any other carrier -- and to have contributed over that period to the economic development of the province," Ms. Cooke said.

WestJet spokeswoman Gillian Bentley said the Calgary-based discount airline has yet to decide whether to extend its Toronto-Charlottetown flights beyond the targeted ending date of Sept. 15.

"It will depend on how the service is going and our aircraft availability," Ms. Bentley said. "For Charlottetown, it's more of a tourist and seasonal thing. We have to be sure that the numbers are there and it's got to be a feasible route."

A unit of Northwest Airlines Corp. of Eagan, Minn., is providing Detroit-Charlottetown summer service with the aid of $200,000 in PEI subsidies, critics say.

"The government's decision to support other carriers during the lucrative summer peak season has distorted market forces," Ms. Cooke said.

Air Canada has been benefiting from flying Japanese passengers on its Tokyo-Toronto route before connecting them on to the Toronto-Charlottetown service. But Canada's flag carrier sees Northwest as a competitive rival for carrying international visitors to Charlottetown.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #196
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Air Canada continues route expansion with more non-stop flights and improved schedules across Canada and the United States

MONTREAL, July 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada today announced major schedule enhancements in Canada and the United States with the introduction of daily non-stop services between Vancouver-San Diego, Abbotsford-Toronto, Abbotsford-Calgary, Calgary-Newark and Calgary-Orlando. The airline is also implementing significant schedule improvements with additional flights and more routes with jet service across its network, North America wide.

The new routes and additional flights will be operated by Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz, and are being introduced to respond to new market opportunities made possible with the renewal of the carriers' fleets that has begun with the delivery of new Embraer and Bombardier jet aircraft.

"The arrival of next-generation jet aircraft in our North American fleets allows Air Canada and Jazz to offer customers more point-to-point, non-stop flights, enhanced schedules and more jet service," said Ben Smith, Vice President, Network Planning. "Fifteen consecutive months of record-breaking load factors reflect the high demand for the Air Canada product, and the introduction of new fuel-efficient Embraer and Canadair Regional Jet aircraft will allow us to pursue new market opportunities. Our focus remains on strategic growth as we continue to take delivery of these new aircraft that will meet travellers' needs by offering the best schedules, the most choice and the lowest fares on an everyday basis."

Consumers in Western Canada in particular will benefit from many new non-stop services and improved schedules with more jet flying. With these schedule improvements, Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz will offer up to 188 flights per day to and from Calgary on 32 routes, more than any other carrier. Overall, the carriers will serve 60 destinations in Canada and 50 in the United States, operating more than 1,300 flights per day on 194 non-stop routes. This winter, Air Canada will operate up to 36 flights per day to and from Florida on 15 non-stop routes; and up to 44 flights per day to and from California on nine non-stop routes, the most flights of any carrier to these popular destinations.

With the addition of Embraer and Bombardier aircraft in their North American fleets, Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz will introduce the following new services:

NEW ROUTES

Vancouver-San Diego: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada Jazz will introduce daily non-stop flights using 75-seat Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-705 aircraft.

Abbotsford-Toronto: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada will introduce daily non-stop flights using 93-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. Air Canada will thus offer the only daily non-stop service between these two cities.

Abbotsford-Calgary: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada Jazz will introduce three-times daily non-stop flights using 75-seat Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-705 aircraft, the only carrier offering business class service between these two cities.

Calgary-Newark: Effective December 1, 2005, Air Canada will introduce daily non-stop flights using 93-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. Air Canada will thus offer the only year-round daily non-stop service between these two cities.

Calgary-Orlando: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada will introduce twice weekly non-stop flights on Saturday and Sunday during the winter season using 120-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, the only carrier offering business class service between these two cities.

On June 2, 2005, Air Canada announced new non-stop services made possible with the renewal of its North American fleet: Vancouver-Las Vegas (October 30, 2005), Calgary-Las Vegas (October 30, 2005), Edmonton-Regina (August 1, 2005), Edmonton-Saskatoon (August 1, 2005), Hamilton-Montreal (September 18, 2005) and Hamilton-Ottawa (September 18, 2005).

IMPROVED SCHEDULES

Air Canada is enhancing service on the following routes with the introduction of more flights and year-round service this coming fall and winter compared to last year:

Vancouver-San Francisco: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective December 17, 2005.

Kelowna-Toronto: Effective February 4, 2006, Air Canada will increase service to offer daily non-stop flights using 93-seat Embraer 190 aircraft.

Calgary-Houston: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective immediately.

Calgary-Los Angeles: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective December 17, 2005.

Fort McMurray-Calgary: Up to two daily non-stop flights with the introduction of jet service effective October 30, 2005.

Toronto-Denver: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective October 30, 2005.

Toronto-Las Vegas: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional daily flight effective October 1, 2005.

Toronto-Los Angeles: Up to five daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective immediately.

Toronto-Pittsburgh: Up to three daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight effective October 30, 2005.

Ottawa-Orlando: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada will increase service to daily flights on this seasonal route, the only non-stop service.

Ottawa-Fort Lauderdale: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada will increase service to daily flights on this seasonal route, the only non-stop service, operating a mix of Airbus and Embraer aircraft.

Montreal-Las Vegas: Effective October 30, 2005, Air Canada will increase service to offer daily flights, the only non-stop service, operating a mix of Airbus and Embraer aircraft.

Montreal-San Francisco: Effective December 17, 2005, Air Canada will introduce year-round service offering the only daily non-stop flights, using 120-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Moncton-Montreal: Effective immediately, Air Canada Jazz will increase service to four daily non-stop flights with the introduction of one additional flight, using 50-seat CRJ aircraft.

Deer Lake-Montreal: Effective October 30, 2005, Air Canada will extend summer flights to year-round service offering the only daily non-stop flights, using 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200 aircraft operated by Air Canada Jazz.

St. John's NF-Montreal: Effective October 30, 2005, Air Canada will extend summer flights to year-round service offering the only daily non-stop flights, using 75-seat Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-705 aircraft operated by Air Canada Jazz.

MORE FLIGHTS ON KEY ROUTES

Due to increased demand for Air Canada's key domestic services that have experienced sustained record high load factors, Air Canada is increasing the number of daily flights on the following key routes:

Vancouver-Toronto: Up to 15 daily non-stop flights this winter with the introduction of one additional flight.

Vancouver-Calgary: Up to 17 daily non-stop flights this winter with the introduction of three additional flights.

Calgary-Toronto: Up to 10 daily non-stop flights this winter with the introduction of one additional flight.

Edmonton-Toronto: Up to seven daily non-stop flights this winter with the introduction of one additional flight.

Winnipeg-Toronto: Up to nine daily non-stop flights this winter with the introduction of one additional flight.

Toronto-Montreal: Up to 52 daily flights this winter with the introduction of two additional flights.

NEW JET SERVICE

By October 30, 2005, Air Canada Jazz will have converted the following routes from Dash-8 turboprop to 50-seat CRJ jet service offering customers enhanced comfort and the convenience of faster travel times: Vancouver-Prince George, Vancouver-Fort St. John, Calgary-Saskatoon, Calgary-Regina, Calgary-Fort McMurray, Edmonton-Saskatoon, Edmonton-Regina, Winnipeg-Saskatoon, Winnipeg-Regina, Winnipeg-Thunder Bay, Toronto-Baltimore, Toronto-Detroit, Ottawa-Boston, Montreal-Charlottetown, Halifax-Boston and Halifax-Goose Bay.

Air Canada Jazz took delivery of its first 75-seat CRJ-705 aircraft on May 27, 2005 for a total of 15 by December 2005. The new CRJ-705s are being introduced on the following routes: Calgary-Houston (June 1, 2005), Toronto-Houston (July 1, 2005) and Toronto-Dallas (August 1, 2005).

Customers will have a choice of Hospitality or Executive Class service, a new feature on the Toronto-Houston and Dallas routes. Executive Class offers 37 inches of legroom, and Hospitality service offers an industry leading 34 inches of legroom. Both cabins feature all-leather seating, and in-seat audio and personal television systems will be installed beginning in the fall 2005.

Air Canada will begin taking delivery of the first of 15 Embraer 175 aircraft in July 2005, joining 45 Embraer 190 aircraft set to begin arrival in November 2005. The Embraer 175 aircraft has nine seats in Executive Class offering 38 inches of legroom, and 64 seats in Hospitality with up to 34 inches of legroom. The Embraer 190 has nine seats in Executive Class offering 38 inches of legroom and 84 seats in Hospitality offering 33 inches of legroom. Both cabins feature in-seat audio and video on demand to be installed in the fall 2005, in-seat power within reach of every passenger, no middle seats, generous overhead bins, wide aisles and a spacious interior.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #197
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Air Canada pulling out of P.E.I. in off-season
WestJet subsidies made it difficult for the airline to continue

BY ANDREW PHILIPS
Telegraph-Journal

New Brunswick airport heads don't plan on getting involved in a nasty dispute between Charlottetown's airport and Air Canada, which has opted to stop flying into the Prince Edward Island capital during the off-season.

John Buchanan, president and chief executive officer of Saint John Airport Authority, declined to comment on Air Canada's decision to make good on an earlier threat to stop flying to Charlottetown after the provincial government granted a $300,000 revenue guarantee to lure rival WestJet Airlines to the island this summer.

"It's an unfortunate situation that needs to be addressed between the airport authority and Air Canada," Mr. Buchanan said speaking in his role as president of the Atlantic Canadian Airports Association.

Mr. Buchanan and his counterpart in Moncton, Rob Robichaud, also opted not to speculate whether their facilities might get the now disbanded Air Canada Charlottetown-Toronto route.

Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said the airline hasn't decided where it might add a route to replace the Charlottetown offering.

"That aircraft will be put back into the system," Ms. Arthur said.
Mr. Robichaud said he's saddened, but not entirely particularly surprised, that Air Canada made good on its earlier threat.

"I'm never particularly pleased to hear of a community losing air service," said Mr. Robichaud, who noted any regional air-service is beneficial because it raises the area's profile. "At the end of the day, it's their (Air Canada's) decision."

But Ms. Arthur said the Island government's WestJet subsidies made it difficult for the airline to continue the service in the winter, when there are traditionally fewer travellers.

She also noted Air Canada will continue flying to Montreal and Halifax from Charlottetown and plans to begin seasonal Jazz service from the airport again next spring.

In the past, Air Canada has also received government subsidies to fly into certain locations, but those areas included places such as Bathurst, where Air Canada would have been the only carrier serving the market.

As for WestJet, the Calgary-based carrier continues to play its cards close to its chest, declining to say if it will continue flying between Toronto and Charlottetown past its previously announced, Sept. 15 end date.

"It will depend on how the service is going and our aircraft availability," WestJet spokeswoman Gillian Bentley said.

"For Charlottetown, it's more of a tourist and seasonal thing. We have to be sure that the numbers are there and it's got to be a feasible route."
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Old July 20th, 2005, 05:41 PM   #198
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Agency slams door on Air Canada cargo plan
Battle with Cargojet: Denies route bid, launches inquiry into operations

Chris Sorensen
20 July 2005
National Post

Air Canada's cargo unit has suffered an embarrassing setback after federal regulators turned down its request to fly all-cargo freighters between Toronto, Calgary and Shanghai, and launched an inquiry into the airline's existing cargo operations.

Transport Canada said yesterday it will not approve Air Canada's application to add a controversial Calgary stop to its Toronto-Shanghai service -- the latest development in what is shaping up to be a nasty battle between Air Canada Cargo and rival Cargojet Income Fund.

"We did decide that, in this case, the interest of the Canadian public wouldn't be served," said Lucie Vignola, a Transport Canada spokeswoman.

One of the loudest critics of Air Canada's plan was Cargojet, which said Air Canada's decision to add a Calgary stop to original application to serve Toronto and Shanghai was an attempt to "scoop the cream" from a profitable route. Cargojet, which was previously under contract to fly cargo between Toronto and Calgary for Air Canada, also argued Air Canada's use of leased U.S. aircraft and crews on the domestic leg of the route was unfair and threatened to open the door to U.S. competitors.

"We are just asking for a level playing field," said Ajay Virmani, chief executive of Cargojet Income Fund. "[Air Canada] tried to use a back-door approach instead of being upfront."

Laura Cooke, an Air Canada spokeswoman, said the airline was "surprised and disappointed" by the agency's decision, but added the airline's Toronto-Shanghai service will continue without the Calgary stop.

Cargojet and Air Canada are increasingly locking horns as Air Canada Cargo, a division of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., tries to get back into the dedicated air cargo market it abandoned in the 1990s, and Cargojet, which rose from the ashes of Canada 3000's bankruptcy, attempts to protect the sizable market share it has built in just a few years.

Cargojet, a domestic-only carrier with scheduled overnight service to 13 Canadian cities, said Air Canada is not playing by the rules. It complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) that Air Canada ran domestic cargo routes on its leased U.S. freighters without a proper licence during the past year.

The CTA responded by launching an inquiry. According to a letter sent by the CTA to both parties, Air Canada initially denied Cargojet's allegations in a sworn affidavit, but later admitted it did solicit business for a Toronto-Vancouver route on one of the leased planes in question.

In its letter, the CTA said it was "deeply concerned" about Air Canada's failure to file a full and accurate affidavit in response to the allegations raised by Cargojet. "Air Canada either failed to conduct a diligent enquiry ... or it failed, upon discovery of these irregularities, to amend its affidavit accordingly."

Air Canada's Ms. Cooke said the airline had no comment on the inquiry, other than to say the airline planned to co-operate fully.

Mr. Virmani said he is not trying to thwart Air Canada's cargo aspirations, even though Cargojet is in the midst of hammering out a strategic partnership with the Calgary Airport Authority that would see Cargojet provide the city with an air cargo link to China.

Caught in the middle of the spat is the Calgary airport, which is trying to raise its profile as an international cargo and logistics hub.

"We need that [China] service," said Stephan Poirier, the director of cargo and logistics for the airport. He said the airport is not taking sides in the dispute, but that it is eager to have a Canadian cargo carrier fly between Calgary and the huge Chinese market.

"It's disappointing that Air Canada can't do it today. But that's the way it goes. There's not much we can do about it."
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Old July 20th, 2005, 07:55 PM   #199
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Go to >>>> Air Canada continues route expansion with more non-stop flights and improved schedules across Canada and the United States
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Old July 20th, 2005, 07:56 PM   #200
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Ottawa nixes Air Canada lease of U.S. jet for Toronto-Calgary cargo
Wednesday, July 20, 2005


TORONTO (CP) - The federal transport minister has denied Air Canada's application to pick up and drop off cargo in Calgary using a leased American plane and crew en route between Toronto and China.

Canada's largest airline operates a jet on a so-called wet lease, including crew, from Washington-based Gemini Air Cargo, and plans to ship cargo from Toronto to Shanghai using the American aircraft. The flight must make a technical stop in Calgary, said Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke.

Because of Transport Minister Jean Lapierre's decision Tuesday, the airline will not be able to pick up or drop off cargo in Calgary on the route

Air Canada (TSX:ACE.B) had applied for an exemption from Canadian aviation regulations governing foreign airline operations within the country.

"Air Canada Cargo is both disappointed and surprised at Transport Canada's decision to deny our ability to offer cargo services between Toronto and Calgary, then on to China," Cooke said.

"The ultimate loser we believe will be businesses and shippers in Toronto who now will not have a choice about shipping," she added. "And shippers and businesses in Calgary have now lost an opportunity for direct cargo services to a booming Chinese market."

However, competitor Cargojet (TSX:CJT.UN) praised the denial of Air Canada's application.

Ajay Virmani, chief executive of Mississauga, Ont.-based Cargojet, said the application had "met with heavy opposition from all major industry stakeholders, all of whom cited lack of economic benefits for Canadian shippers and the aviation industry."

Virmani added: "We are pleased that the minister has endorsed the views of the industry acknowledging that this application does not meet public interest requirements nor is it beneficial to Canadian consumers."

Washington-based Gemini Air Cargo describes itself as the world's largest aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance operator of DC-10 freighter aircraft.
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