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Old July 20th, 2005, 10:40 PM   #201
Bertez
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The E75 Has Arrived!!!
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Old July 21st, 2005, 03:33 PM   #202
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DCCI urges increase in flights between Dubai and Canada
BY A STAFF REPORTER

21 July 2005



DUBAI — Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) urged Canada to launch and increase the number of direct flights between Dubai and Canada due to its significant role in supporting the bilateral trade between the two countries.


Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee, Director General of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), told Graham Rush, Head of Consulate and Senior Trade Commissioner of Canada in the UAE, yesterday, citing the example of Australia, that the increasing number of flights between Dubai and Australia has largely contributed in enhancing the trade exchange between the two countries.

The meeting also discussed the ways of developing and supporting the commercial ties between Canada and Dubai through the activation of the key role of the Canadian Business Council in Dubai and setting a date for another visit of a Canadian high-ranking official delegation to the Dubai Chamber in September.

Al Mutaiwee said: "It would be highly important to activate the roles of the Canadian Business Council in Dubai and the Arab-Canadian Business Council in Canada due to their important contribution in developing the commercial relations and trade exchange between the two countries, in addition to the urgent need to launch and increase air flights between Dubai and Canada through the Emirates and the Air Canada airlines."

Rush, while agreeing on the necessity to open up the air services between Dubai and Canada due to their key role in upgrading the trade and tourism sectors in the two countries, said: "Launching new direct flights between Dubai and Canada through Air Canada and the Emirates is a very significant issue that we should discuss with our Canadian government.

We would like to send a top official delegation from Canada to visit the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in September 20th to discuss several issues that would help enhance the trade exchange between our countries, especially as Dubai is turning into an international and regional business hub."

The Canadian Consul pointed out that the top official delegation will include more than 35 people of senior Canadian politicians, the Canadian Ambassador to the UAE, as well as the Consul General and the CEOs of about 25 Canadian companies, including those operating in Dubai.

The Director General of DCCI noted that this visit would be very important in terms of helping to create a mutual vision to activate and upgrade the trade exchange and attracting investments from both countries.

"The Dubai Chamber will arrange an effective meeting for the Canadian delegation with the DCCI Chairman and some of its major members, in addition to the representatives of the Canadian Business Council in Dubai and managers of some top Canadian companies that operate in the emirate. The visit will be a chance to discuss all issues that contribute to the development of trade ties between the two countries," said Al Mutaiwee.

He said that the top Canadian delegation visit to the DCCI in September would also be an opportunity to introduce the Canadian officials and investors to the astonishing economic development which Dubai is witnessing and which helped making the emirate an international and regional business center.

Dubai's total non-oil trade with Canada has increased in 2003 to Dh831.2 million ($226.3 million), compared to Dh681.3 million in 2002 ($185.5 million).

Dubai's total imports from Canada in 2003 touched Dh611.9 million ($166.6 million), while Dubai's total exports to Canada in the same year reached Dh138.8 million ($37.7 million), whereas Dubai's total re-exports to Canada in 2003 hit Dh80.5 million ($21.9 million).
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Old July 21st, 2005, 08:01 PM   #203
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I believe if Air Canada wants to have non-stop Dubai-Toronto they would have to purchase additional A340s to cover the long distance without stopping.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:51 PM   #204
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Air Canada cuts back P.E.I. flights
National carrier to suspend Toronto-Charlottetown service during fall, winter months

CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - P.E.I. Premier Pat Binns has shrugged off Air Canada's decision to cancel its Toronto-Charlottetown service during the fall and winter months following a bitter dispute over provincial subsidies offered to rival WestJet Airlines Ltd.

The soft-spoken politician held a news conference yesterday to say the announcement was "not the end of the world," mainly because Air Canada (TSX:ACE.B) has said it will continue its flights between Montreal and Charlottetown.

The premier said the province will look to another airline to provide direct-flight service between Toronto and the provincial capital during fall and winter.

Air Canada, the country's largest airline, has said the Toronto-Charlottetown service will be suspended in October but will resume next spring.

Binns said his government tried to resolve the dispute with Air Canada in recent weeks but those talks failed.

"We were not able to come to a satisfactory agreement," he said. "Air Canada wanted exclusivity in regard to advertising and they also ... wanted involvement or a veto in terms of additional carriers coming in the future."

WestJet, lured to the Island by $500,000 in marketing and revenue incentives, has offered daily, non-stop service between Toronto and Charlottetown sine June 28. But that service is limited to the summer travel season.

A spokeswoman for Air Canada said the airline's move was "purely a business decision."

Laura Cooke said the P.E.I. government's year-round subsidies for WestJet (TSX:WJA) made it difficult for Air Canada to continue service in the fall and winter, when there are traditionally fewer travellers.

"Because the market forces have been distorted, from a business perspective, we can no longer justify offering a route during the leaner winter months," Cooke said.

"The subsidy to another business carrier is diluting what we can achieve during the summer months, which, historically, had subsidized the winter operation."

However, Binns said Air Canada had received subsidies from the P.E.I. government in the past.

"We provided a subsidy to them to initiate that Montreal service and its been so successful that they run three airplanes a day from Montreal and two in the wintertime," Binns said yesterday.

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.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #205
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Aeroplan Income Fund sets cash payout for August

MONTREAL, July 22 (Reuters) - Aeroplan Income Fund <AER_u.TO> said on Friday it will distribute its first cash payout in mid-August.

Aeroplan Income Fund, which owns 14 percent of the Aeroplan Limited Partnership frequent flyer program, said it would distribute 6.22 Canadian cents for each unit on Aug. 15, covering the June 29 to July 31 period.

That represents a monthly cash distribution of 5.83 Canadian cents a unit, the fund said.

Air Canada parent ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. owns the rest of Aeroplan LP.

The Aeroplan spinoff, the first by a major airline of its loyalty plan, set the program's market value at about C$2 billion ($1.6 billion).

Aeroplan Income units were off 17 Canadian cents at C$12.33 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon. ACE Aviation shares were down 59 Canadian cents or 1.4 percent, at C$40.30.

($1=$1.22 Canadian)
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Old July 25th, 2005, 02:39 AM   #206
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Etihad coming to Toronto

Etihad Airways is starting Abu-Dhabi to Toronto service visa Brussels on Oct 31 2005, 3 times a week.
Now maybe AC and Emirates will wake up.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #207
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Air Canada has no ability to fly the Dubai route right now. They'll most likely have to put an A340 for the route, or fly a Boeing / Airbus jet and stop in Europe for refueling.

AC seems to be aggressively expanding its Asian and South American routes right now, and the Middle East is not a top priority.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #208
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Air Canada Flight Skids to a Stop
Josh Pringle
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 2:40 AM

An Air Canada pilot aborted take-off last night after an engine warning light came on at the Ottawa International Airport.

The airline says the Ottawa to Vancouver flight was almost at takeoff speed more than halfway down the runway when the pilot noticed the light and rejected take-off.

Passengers say the pilot came on the intercom immediately after braking, announced he lost the engine and apologized.

The heat generated by the braking was so intense, that all the aircraft's tires were shredded.

None of the 120 passengers onboard were injured.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 04:31 AM   #209
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ACE might sell part of repair unit following U.S. merger
Chris Sorensen
22 July 2005
National Post

Air Canada could be gearing up to sell part of its aircraft maintenance division following the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines scheduled to be completed this fall, an analyst says.

"Management have indicated that they will take a closer look at spinning off this unit once this deal closes," said Fadi Chamoun, an analyst at UBS Investment Research, who recently met senior management at the airline and its parent company ACE Aviation Holdings Inc.

This year, ACE revealed it had promised to invest US$75-million in the newly merged U.S. airline, to be called US Airways, in exchange for commitments for $1.5-billion worth of outsourced aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul contracts to Air Canada Technical Services (ACTS) over a five-year period. The deal is expected to create about 700 jobs at ACTS.

Mr. Chamoun said the merger's success is key to a sale because the resulting contracts will reduce ACTS' reliance on Air Canada, which accounts for about 70% of its business.

Laura Cooke, a spokesman for Air Canada, said the airline's policy is not to comment on analyst reports, but noted that the company's stated goals are to maximize the value of its various operating units.

ACE Aviation recently raised $250-million by converting 12.5% of Aeroplan into an income trust, and several analysts have speculated ACTS is next in line to be presented to investors.

Horst Hueniken, an analyst at Westwind Partners, said another reason ACE needs to wait until the US Airways-America West merger closes is because it's not yet clear whether ACTS will perform the outsourced work at its Canadian bases or will buy some of the U.S. carriers' facilities.

He noted that Robert Milton, ACE chief executive, has expressed interest in buying the maintenance assets of distressed U.S. airlines.

Doug Parker, chief executive of America West, offered reassurances yesterday the merger was going forward.

"Our proposed merger with US Airways is well on track, with $565-million of committed equity, Department of Justice approval and teams from both companies working diligently on integration," Mr. Parker said in a statement.

ACTS has taken other steps in recent months to raise its profile as a stand-alone business.

In late March it signed a five-year deal worth $300-million with Delta Air Lines Inc. to service Delta's fleet of 208 Boeing 757 and 767 jets. The work began in May and was expected to create as many as 300 jobs at the company's base in Vancouver.

As well, the division has created its own Web site and branding campaign in an effort to attract new customers. In addition to Air Canada and its regional subsidiary, Jazz, ACTS does work for 80 customers including JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, Mexicana and the Department of National Defence.

ACTS earned $18-million on sales of $184-million in the last three months of 2004.

Westwind's Mr. Hueniken said it's possible ACTS could double its annual revenue as a result of the US Airways-America West deal.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 07:17 PM   #210
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WestJet sets flight bold new campaign
Also beefs up routes: Major drive to entice business travellers in 'Eastern Triangle'

Chris Sorensen
28 July 2005
National Post

Air Canada passengers flying through Toronto's Pearson International Airport might notice something unusual about the airline's departures and arrivals area in the palatial Terminal 1 -- giant billboards that trumpet the comfort and convenience of rival WestJet Airlines Ltd.

The bold ad campaign is part of a massive push by the Calgary-based low-cost carrier [which operates out of Terminal 3 in Toronto] to boost its presence in Eastern Canada following Jetsgo's abrupt collapse in March.

WestJet said yesterday it was adding more flights between Toronto and Vancouver and better flight times between the cities that comprise the so-called Eastern Triangle: Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The routes are viewed as key to capturing the business travel market, which has traditionally been dominated by Air Canada.

"We are very excited to offer Torontonians a more convenient schedule when travelling with WestJet," said Sean Durfy, the airline's executive vice-president of marketing and sales, in a statement.

But while WestJet is positioning itself to steal passengers from its competitors in Canada's largest city, some observers are wondering whether the airline's push into Central and Eastern Canada, where the former Jetsgo's operations were concentrated, is a case of too little, too late.

"Nothing is ever permanent, but as far as we are seeing now, WestJet appears to have missed an opportunity," said Nadi Tadros, an analyst at Desjardins Securities, referring to the gaping hole left by Jetsgo when it suddenly stopped flying on March 11 and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Mr. Tadros released a research note this week that showed that Air Canada added 916 flights to its domestic schedule since March while WestJet added just 137. Before its collapse, Jetsgo operated about 814 weekly flights, according to the survey.

That means Air Canada managed to capture five percentage points of Jetsgo's 7% market share while WestJet took just one percentage point, the report said. Moreover, the report noted that Air Canada's biggest gains came in Eastern Canada, where it has historically been the dominant carrier, although it also made gains in B.C. and the prairie provinces, WestJet's backyard.

"Air Canada appears to have filled the void," Mr. Tadros wrote. "(It) has added flight frequencies more broadly across the country than either WestJet or CanJet, gaining market share in every geography."

In other words, WestJet fought the war against Jetsgo only to see the spoils go to its main rival -- at least for the time being.

WestJet executives were not available for comment yesterday, but the airline said in a release it hoped to "develop Toronto as a centre for WestJet's domestic and transborder operations."

The airline also said it was planning to fly Toronto-Las Vegas and extend its summer service between Toronto and Charlottetown -- a route that Air Canada recently abandoned during the winter months because of a spat with the government of Prince Edward Island.

As well, Mr. Tadros acknowledged there is more than one way to measure the relative gains made by each airline. For example, Air Canada's post-restructuring business plan has called for more smaller jets flying more routes between more Canadian cities.

Meanwhile, WestJet has opted to retire its older, less-fuel efficient fleet of Boeing 737s and replace them with larger next-generation models. Hence, while Air Canada is offering more flights, WestJet is flying bigger planes.

Nevertheless, Mr. Tadros maintains that Air Canada's load factors, a measure of how well an airline fills its planes, are about 10 percentage points higher than WestJet on average.

The irony is that WestJet, which saw its shares rise 40% on the day Jetsgo died, was widely expected to be the chief beneficiary of Jetsgo's failure since both airlines prided themselves on offering the lowest available air fares and were thought to be chasing the same segment of the market. WestJet's share price peaked on March 22 at $17.11, but has since fallen to just above $13, about where it was in February.

Moreover, it was WestJet -- not Air Canada -- that is generally credited with running Jetsgo's founder and chief financier, Michel Leblanc, into the ground by matching Jetsgo's "irrational" $1 fare promotions with seat sales of its own. "Jetsgo hurt WestJet more than Air Canada because WestJet was fighting to meet those low prices," said Rick Erickson, a Calgary-based aviation analyst.

The impact of Jetsgo's pricing is still being felt by WestJet. Clive Beddoe, WestJet's CEO, told analysts earlier this year the airline's first and second quarter earnings would be impacted by a swath of cheap seats sold by WestJet before Jetsgo's March 11 collapse.

WestJet is scheduled to release its second quarter results today.

Horst Hueniken, an analyst at Westwind Partners, predicted in a research note that WestJet would make money in the second quarter after two consecutive quarterly losses -- the first ever in its history as a public company.

But Mr. Erickson said a return to profitability does not mean that WestJet's problems are over. He said a particular threat comes from Air Canada's plan to take delivery of as many as 90 regional jets over the next several years, opening up new domestic and transborder markets for the mainline carrier and regional operator Jazz.

"These little regional jets that Air Canada have coming are going to be a problem for WestJet," Mr. Erickson said. "They are going to open up these secondary centres that used to be the domain of WestJet. I have a feeling that 2006 is going to be real dogfight in the Canadian marketplace."
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Old July 29th, 2005, 03:30 AM   #211
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I do not like the direction westjet is going. They are starting to get to comfortable where they are. There prices have gone up substantially and more more charges are coming up. In fact many flights are more expensive then air canada.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #212
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Will this signal the start of a duopoly in Canadian skies?
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Old July 29th, 2005, 06:36 PM   #213
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Fuel costs drag down WestJet profit
Firm also lost money on promotional fares and rivals' ‘deep discounting,' CEO says

29 July 2005
The Globe and Mail

WestJet Airlines Ltd. acknowledged yesterday that it is facing a tricky balancing act between keeping fares low and coping with rising fuel costs.

“That's going to be the art of the business from here onward,” chief executive officer Clive Beddoe told analysts yesterday during a conference call.

“There's no question that our average fare has risen significantly in the course of the last three or four months, but so have our costs. And so the big challenge will be to what degree they have been covered by the fare adjustments,” he added. “We can see that the market does adjust to higher fares just like it does at the pumps for gasoline, but there will be some decline in demand if we're not careful.”

Higher fuel costs pummelled WestJet's bottom line in the second quarter. The company posted a profit of $2.3-million, or 2 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30. That compared with a profit of $7.5-million, or 6 cents a share in the year earlier period. Although the profit marked a turnaround from losses in the first quarter of 2005 and fourth quarter of 2004, the amount was far below analysts' expectations of 14 cents a share.

Revenue climbed to $326.4-million from $257.3-million.

Fuel prices soared 59 per cent in the quarter to $81.4-million, the company said. To illustrate the squeeze caused by rising oil prices, the company noted that a large number of the $172-million of advance tickets sold in the second quarter occurred with oil at around $50 (US) a barrel “and we will likely be flying these guests in a $60 fuel environment.”

“What we need above anything else is stability in fuel prices,” Mr. Beddoe said.

Rising fuel costs also pushed down the company's yield, a key measure of revenue per passenger mile, to 18.2 cents (Canadian) in the quarter from 18.5 a year earlier.

Meanwhile, ticket prices were still affected by steep discounts offered by Jetsgo Corp., which grounded its planes in March and filed for bankruptcy in May.

Mr. Beddoe said 42 per cent of WestJet's seats were sold at promotional fares, with half of those at “the more extreme levels.” He added that WestJet lost more than $20-million in revenue from deep discounting, largely by Jetsgo.

The demise of Jetsgo has stabilized the pricing environment and Mr. Beddoe said he is cautiously optimistic about earnings in the third quarter.

He noted that while WestJet has added a number of new flights and increased its capacity by 23 per cent, its load factor, a measure of the number of filled seats, increased to 71 per cent in the quarter from 67.5 a year earlier. Mr. Beddoe said that demonstrates that so far the company has been able to increase prices without scaring off passengers.

WestJet is also moving ahead with plans to replace its fleet of Boeing 737s with more fuel-efficient Boeing models. That move, coupled with longer flights, should help to offset some of the rising fuel costs, he added.

The airline's results did not impress Michael Linenberg, an analyst at Merrill Lynch.

“Although WestJet's earnings represented a return to profitability, albeit a modest one, we were disappointed with the bottom-line result,” he said in a research note yesterday. “In fact, WestJet's 5.7-per-cent operating margin for the quarter trails the profitability of most U.S. low-cost carriers that have reported thus far.”
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 12:05 AM   #214
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Embraer delivers first ERJ-175 to Air Canada
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 @ 1:48 PM CEST by sn26567

Embraer Embraer has delivered the first three of 15 ERJ-175 jets to Air Canada, the launch customer for the model, in a ceremony at Embraer's headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. The ERJ-175 now joins the ERJ-170 already in service with other airlines around the world. The ERJ-175 for Air Canada will be specially configured to offer premium comfort and service in two classes. It will carry 73 passengers, nine in Executive Class (three abreast at 38-inch pitch) and 64 in Hospitality Service (four abreast at 34- and 32-inch pitch

Air Canada has also ordered 45 ERJ-190s to be equipped with a 93 seat configuration (nine in Executive class and 84 in Hospitality class). Deliveries will begin in November 2005.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 01:11 AM   #215
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Air Canada resumes full flight schedule



Monday, August 01, 2005 2:22:57 PM ET

MONTREAL (Reuters) - ACE Aviation Holdings Inc unit Air Canada said its operations returned to normal on Monday after 4 percent of flights were canceled on Sunday.

Canada's top airline said on Sunday that it canceled about 4 percent of scheduled flights because certain pilots had reached their flying time quota for the month.

A spokeswoman for the airline could not provide details on the number of flights canceled or passengers affected.

Air Canada said the percentage of flights affected represented less than the number typically canceled on a bad weather day, and were limited to the airline's narrow-body Airbus fleet.

A disruption of flight operations at Halifax airport in July and bad weather in the northeast United States and central Canada also produced a number of canceled flights during the month.

That led to flight diversions and the use of a significant number of flying hours not previously planned, Air Canada said.

The airline said it began adjusting schedules two weeks ago, canceling some flights and adding others with larger aircraft, almost exclusively on high-frequency routes on Canada and to the United States.

(c) Reuters 2005. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 09:57 PM   #216
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Air Canada Resumes Toronto Flights
August 3, 2005

Air Canada will resume flights on Wednesday at Toronto's Pearson International Airport a day after operations ground to a halt when an Air France airliner overshot the runway and burst into flames.

Air Canada said its expects some delays and cancellations to and from Toronto, as the airline adjusts to the disruption of operations at Pearson on Tuesday afternoon.

All 309 passengers and crew aboard the Air France Airbus A340 survived the crash.

(Reuters)
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Old August 4th, 2005, 06:14 AM   #217
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Air Canada Resumes Full Flight Schedule
August 1, 2005

Air Canada said its operations returned to normal on Monday after 4 percent of flights were canceled on Sunday.

The airline said on Sunday that it canceled about 4 percent of scheduled flights because certain pilots had reached their flying time quota for the month.

A spokeswoman for the airline could not provide details on the number of flights canceled or passengers affected.

Air Canada said the percentage of flights affected represented less than the number typically canceled on a bad weather day, and were limited to the airline's narrow-body Airbus fleet.

A disruption of flight operations at Halifax Airport in July and bad weather in the northeast United States and central Canada also produced a number of canceled flights during the month.

That led to flight diversions and the use of a significant number of flying hours not previously planned, Air Canada said.

The airline said it began adjusting schedules two weeks ago, canceling some flights and adding others with larger aircraft, almost exclusively on high-frequency routes on Canada and to the United States.

(Reuters)
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Old August 4th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #218
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Air Canada pulls two flights

Edmonton Airports spokesman Traci Bednard said Air Canada customers were relatively unaffected by domestic flight cancellations over the weekend, with just one flight to Toronto cancelled both Saturday and yesterday.

The airline cancelled more than 177 flights last month because some pilots had reached the limit of allowable work hours. Under their contract Air Canada pilots can fly 84 hours a month.

Air Canada spokesman Laura Cooke said yesterday should have marked the end of the cancellations.
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Old August 5th, 2005, 03:21 AM   #219
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ACE Aviation soars to profit, plans Jazz spinoff
By Robert Melnbardis

MONTREAL, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Air Canada parent ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. soared to a second-quarter profit on a rebound in air travel, despite a 36 percent rise in fuel costs, the company said on Thursday.

ACE also said it plans to spin off its regional carrier Jazz in the third quarter, a move that follows the spinoff of its customer loyalty program, Aeroplan <AER_u.TO>, into an income trust in June.

The Jazz spinoff, which analysts have been expecting, would come in the form of an initial public offering of trust units, ACE said. It would keep an interest in Jazz after the spinoff.

Income trusts, which have a favorable tax status, are popular with investors because they pay the bulk of their cash earnings to unit holders.

ACE class B share surged C$2.23, or 6 percent, to C$39.75 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon.

For the second quarter, ACE said it earned C$168 million ($139 million), or C$1.49 a share, a big turnaround from a loss of C$510 million, or C$4.24 a share, a year earlier.

Net income included a dilution gain of C$190 million and a tax provision of C$28 million related to the spinoff of part of Aeroplan, and charges of C$29 million.

Operating income, before items, surged to C$177 million from C$22 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 11 percent to C$2.46 billion from C$2.22 billion.

"We feel we're hitting on everything, revenue-wise, cost-line wise. The issue is obviously fuel," ACE Chief Executive Robert Milton said on a conference call.

ACE's results came a week after Air Canada's main rival, WestJet Airlines Ltd. , posted a 70 percent drop in profit, largely because of seat sales and record fuel costs.

"We believe these are generally positive numbers, and should relieve some of the anxiety that followed the weaker than expected WestJet second-quarter results last week," Desjardins Securities Nadi Tadros said in a research note.

The year earlier quarter included restructuring charges of C$426 million, when the airline was under court protection from creditors. Air Canada emerged from 18 months of bankruptcy protection at the end of September.

Domestic passenger traffic accelerated, and international traffic was strong in the latest quarter, ACE said. Yield, measured as passenger revenue for each revenue passenger mile, rose to 17.4 Canadian cents from 17 Canadian cents.

The company had a record load factor, or the percentage of seats filled, of 83.6 percent. That compared with a load factor of 80.4 percent in July 2004.

ACE released its results on the same day that Air Canada unveiled its new 73-seat Embraer 175 airliner, which it plans to use on key Canada-U.S. transborder routes.

Air Canada is expected to take delivery of 15 Embraer 175 jets by December. In addition, It will also begin adding 45 93-seat Embraer 190 jets to its fleet in November.

Embraer is the main rival of Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier Inc. , which has supplied regional jets to Air Canada for a number of years.

ACE said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and aircraft (EBITDAR) of C$594 million in the first half of the year had slightly exceeded its expectations. Second-quarter EBITDAR was C$394 million, before items.

ACE previously forecast EBITDAR of C$1.6 billion for the full year 2005, but some analysts have said the record high fuel prices could make it difficult to achieve that target.

During the conference call, Milton refused to be pinned down on the C$1.6 billion estimate, saying volatile fuel prices made it difficult to precisely predict the figure.

($1=$1.21 Canadian)
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Old August 9th, 2005, 08:01 PM   #220
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Air Canada to sell Jazz
Airline delivers second-quarter profit despite paying $142M more in fuel costs

TORONTO (CP) - Air Canada will sell part of its Jazz regional operation to investors, parent company ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. said yesterday while reporting that rising revenue and an "unrelenting emphasis on costs" brought home a second-quarter profit of $168 million.

That was up from a loss of $510 million a year earlier, when the airline was operating under bankruptcy-court protection.

ACE disclosed it will spin off Jazz as an income trust. No details were made public, but a prospectus for the initial public offering is to be released in the current quarter, likely valuing Jazz at over $1 billion.

The company's voting stock (TSX:ACE.B) closed up six per cent, rising $2.27 to $39.79, with a 52-week high and low of $43.00 and $21.05.

"We're pleased with our performance for the quarter in all markets that we serve worldwide," Robert Milton, chairman and chief executive of ACE, told a conference call.

Air Canada's 80.2 per cent load factor in the April-June quarter - the proportion of seats filled - was up from 77.8 per cent a year ago and "more than 10 percentage points above that of our major competitor," Milton declared.

Canada's largest airline also announced that the load factor in July was its highest ever at 83.6 per cent.

Air Canada - which emerged from court protection last September after slashing debt, costs and staff - said second-quarter earnings were $1.49 per share, compared with a year-ago loss of $4.24 per share.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 77 cents per share, 11 cents above the Thomson Financial analyst consensus expectation.

Revenue swelled 11 per cent to $2.46 billion from $2.22 billion, with revenue passenger miles up seven per cent at 11.61 billion as Air Canada and other Canadian airlines benefited from the collapse of discount competitor Jetsgo.

Operating income of $177 million was up from $22 million a year ago.

"These results were achieved despite record fuel prices which added $141 million to our fuel bill in the second quarter," Milton told congratulatory analysts.

He said management's "unrelenting emphasis on costs" reduced non-fuel expenses by $74 million, compared with a year ago, despite a four per cent capacity increase, with $49 million of these savings coming from salaries, wages and benefits.

Air Canada's already shrunken workforce was reduced by about 400 year-over-year to 32,400, and revenue per full-time-equivalent employee surged 12 per cent to $76,000.

The only non-fuel cost increase, Milton said, was in "uncontrollable" airport and navigation fees, which rose by $23 million or 11 per cent.

He said Air Canada's fuel cost rises by $28 million Cdn for every $1 US per barrel change in the North American oil price benchmark. And he predicted that high fuel costs will soon bring down some other North American carriers.

"The bubble is going to burst - we are going to see some airlines fail between now and next summer if this keeps up," Milton said.

This will open up opportunities for Air Canada to add to its fleet cheaply, he said, and "we are not going to chase current aircraft lease rates."

Air Canada burned 884 million litres of fuel during the quarter at an average price of 59.6 cents per litre, up from 851 million litres at 43.6 cents per litre a year earlier - a 42 per cent increase in fuel costs.

Milton said about one-third of this was recovered from fuel surcharges on fares.

Air Canada, with no fuel-price hedges during the quarter, plans a "systematic fuel risk-management strategy" to hedge about half of its fuel expenses over the next two years.

The company also announced the appointment of former TD investment banker Richard McCoy to the ACE board, replacing former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, now Canadian ambassador to the United States.
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