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Old August 12th, 2005, 07:59 AM   #221
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Air Canada, Jazz hike prices

Thursday, August 11, 2005 Updated at 5:16 PM EDT

Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Air Canada and its Jazz subsidiary are raising ticket prices on flights within Canada and to the United States in response to record high fuel prices, the Montreal-based airline announced Thursday.

Base fares for flights within Canada are being increased by $5, $8 or $12 each way ($10, $16 or $24 per two-way ticket), depending on the length of the flight, Air Canada said.

Base fares for flights between Canada and the United States are being increased each way by $12.

The increases come into effect on tickets issued beginning Friday for all domestic Canada travel, and are effective immediately for all trans-border U.S. travel.


The increases apply to most fare types including published, web and other special fares for travel on Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and Air Canada codeshare flights for travel within Canada and between Canada and the United States.

Shares of Air Canada's parent, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., closed Thursday at $39.30, up 30 cents, prior to the announcement.
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Old August 13th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #222
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WestJet, Air Canada join airline rate hike move

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Canada's two major airlines, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Air Canada, have joined U.S. airlines in a round of fare increases aimed at recouping higher fuel costs.

WestJet said on Friday it will increase its base fares on short-haul flights of less than 300 miles by C$5 each way, with fares for longer flights increasing by C$8 to C$12. The higher fares will take effect on Monday.

Air Canada, a unit of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc , announced the same rate hikes on Thursday for both its flights in Canada and to the United States. Fares will also go up on regional carrier Air Canada Jazz.

Calgary, Alberta-based WestJet also said it will speed up the phase-out of its older and less fuel-efficient Boeing 737-200 aircraft. It said it expects to be flying only newer 737s by March 2006.
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Old August 13th, 2005, 06:42 AM   #223
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how's those satellite TV on westjet? i hope they have them on every airline as well.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 08:04 AM   #224
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Dogfight over Canada: Air Canada and WestJet taking different routes to win over travellers
Chris Sorensen
13 August 2005
National Post

Canada's airline industry has entered the twilight zone.

Unbeknownst to passengers, rivals Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. have unwittingly flown into a foggy, parallel dimension in which normal economic forces no longer apply. In this world, zippy low-cost airlines -- among them Calgary-based WestJet -- struggle to make money while Air Canada, a mammoth legacy carrier, stares at a balance sheet finally free of red ink.

Or at least that's the way things looked in the second quarter of this year, when WestJet's net income for the three-month period plummeted and Air Canada's parent company, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., posted its first quarterly profit since exiting bankruptcy proceedings.

But what lies behind the apparent reversal of fortunes is a tale far more complex than the classic plot twists of science fiction TV shows. At its heart are two competing business strategies -- higher sales versus lower costs -- and a mad dash to capitalize on the void left in the market by failed discount airline Jetsgo. So far, Air Canada appears to be winning the race, but some observers wonder whether the country's largest airline can hold on to its lead.

To the satisfaction of its investors, ACE on Aug. 4 posted earnings of $168-million, some of which was related to the partial spinoff of the Aeroplan loyalty program as an income trust. ACE also revealed plans for a similar deal with Air Canada's regional carrier, Jazz, effectively the second-largest airline by fleet size and number of destinations behind Air Canada.

It's precisely the performance of these related businesses, as well as Air Canada's dominance in Eastern Canada, where Jetsgo's operations were concentrated, that has some observers particularly excited about the airline's future prospects.

"There's lots of arms and legs, bits and pieces, to the Air Canada franchise -- and the brand is strong," said Rick Erickson, an independent, Calgary-based aviation analyst. "There are so many components that add value to Air Canada's bottom line. By contrast, WestJet has a very simple business model. They have nowhere near the number of tools that Air Canada has [to make money]."

Indeed, revenue generation is the cornerstone of Air Canada's new business model, which also includes a focus on its higher-margin international flying. Although it managed to dramatically reduce costs through its restructuring -- it shaved $1.1-billion in annual labour costs alone -- Air Canada has admitted the it will never be as low-cost as its smaller rival.

Hence, Air Canada is instead trying to coax travellers to pay more for their tickets, while still advertising "competitive" base fares. Passengers booking on Air Canada can choose to pay extra for perks such as unlimited schedule changes, advance seat selection, concierge service and executive class services; they can also buy air fare "passes" that allow for frequent travel between certain cities.

"We are getting more people willingly buying higher-priced fare products," Montie Brewer, Air Canada's chief executive, told analysts during a recent conference call.

These additional revenues were partially responsible for Air Canada's enviable operating margin of 7.2% in the most recent quarter. "Not only was that better than last year's 1% operating margin," wrote Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Linenberg in a research note. "But it exceeded WestJet's operating margin by 150 basis points. It also puts ACE among the most profitable of all North American carriers."

Air Canada is also in the midst of reorganizing its domestic fleet as it takes delivery of as many as 90 Bombardier and Embraer regional jets during the next several years. Some analysts believe the small, but comfortable jets will lead to a dogfight with WestJet for domestic and transborder marketshare.

Not everyone agrees that Air Canada's recent performance is sustainable over the long term.

Marc-David Seidel, a business professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, acknowledges that Air Canada's strengths lie in international flying, at least until the advent of low-cost airlines on overseas routes. But he says the airline will continue to see its domestic and transborder business chipped away by low-cost airlines such as WestJet.

"Air Canada is a legacy carrier that's trying to compete with a business model that it wasn't originally designed to compete with," says Mr. Seidel who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the impact of low-cost carriers on the airline industry. "It's going to be an uphill battle."

Ben Cherniavsky, an analyst at Raymond James, offers a similar warning. "We have no doubt that [Air Canada] management should be commended for the degree of change that it has brought to the corporation," he says in a 72-page industry report. "... However, where our confidence wanes considerably is in the magnitude and sustainability of this improvement."

While Mr. Seidel says Air Canada's new business plan looks good on paper, he argues that the airline still suffers from a number of problems that are typical among legacy carriers -- in particular sour employee-management relations.

"They still have strong labour issues that are not trivial," Mr. Seidel says. "We've all seen what's going on with the pilot seniority lists."

Air Canada was recently forced to abandon a $6.1-billion plan to buy 32 state-of-the-art, long-range Boeing jets after a group of pilots hijacked a vote over work rules relating to the operation of the new jets. The so-called Original Air Canada Pilots said they used the vote to express their dissatisfaction with the airline's pilot seniority list, which saw a number of former Canadian Airlines pilots bumped ahead of Air Canada pilots when the two airlines merged in 2000.

Robert Milton, the chief executive of ACE Aviation, has downplayed the significance of the situation, saying he believes the seniority issue will eventually be resolved. But Mr. Seidel sees the loss of the jet order as a blow to Air Canada since the long-range jets are needed to realize Air Canada's new business plan of focusing on international routes.

"This is a real problem for Air Canada," Mr. Seidel says.

By contrast, WestJet has largely stuck to its original concept of being a low-cost, low-fare airline, relying heavily on key ingredients that include a non-unionized workforce and a homogenous fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft to keep maintenance and labour costs as low as possible.

But WestJet also learned the hard way last year that low costs do not always guarantee big profits -- particularly when facing a competitor such as the former Jetsgo, which was willing to lose money on every seat in the hopes of stealing market share.

WestJet posted its first quarterly loss during the last three months of 2004. It was followed by another loss in the first quarter of this year and a small profit in the second quarter. The culprit? About half a million heavily discounted tickets that were sold before Jetsgo's March 11 collapse. "The significance of this was largely not appreciated by the investment community," Clive Beddoe, WestJet's chief executive, recently told analysts.

Richard Bartrem, WestJet's director of brand and communications, said in an interview that the issue has largely been taken care of as the swath of cheap seats have worked their way through the system. He added that WestJet is now benefitting from the higher air fares it began selling following Jetsgo's collapse.

Bay Street appears to agree with the outlook of WestJet's management. Nearly all of the analysts who follow WestJet's stock are recommending that investors buy or at least hold on to their shares.

Mr. Cherniavsky, for example, wrote in a recent research note that WestJet has done "an exceptional job at managing its controllable costs," and that he believes the airline will enjoy "a much higher share price in 6-12 months."

Some of the optimism comes from WestJet's plans to further lower its cost-structure in the face of escalating fuel prices. By March of next year, WestJet will have retired all of its older Boeing 737-200 fleet and replaced them with next-generation models that are 30% more fuel-efficient. As well, WestJet has opted to equip its jets with "winglets," extensions to the tips of an jetliner's wings that can reduce fuel costs by about 4%. WestJet yesterday followed Air Canada's lead by raising fares for the second time this summer to offset rising fuel costs.

WestJet is also winning favour for its decision to launch a massive push into Eastern Canada as it looks to steal a chunk of the business travel market away from Air Canada. The airline recently signed a deal with the federal government to fly civil servants at discounted rates and has been aggressively marketing new amenities such as leather seats and live television on its jets.

"If you look on the business market side, there is certainly room for us to make inroads," said Mr. Bartrem, adding the airline will unveil another ad campaign next month with a focus on Ontario and other Eastern provinces. "If you look at it from a corporate travel perspective, companies are looking for more low-cost travel."

According to Mr. Seidel, WestJet enjoys a distinct advantage over Air Canada when it comes to the domestic market since the airline was conceived in today's more competitive industry conditions.

"Its harder for an older existing carrier to adapt to a new industry environment than it is for a start-up," Mr. Seidel said, adding that the domestic airline sector has been forever transformed by the advent of low-cost airlines.

In short, many observers agree that WestJet still enjoys strong fundamentals that will allow it to weather this most recent storm.

WestJet's Mr. Beddoe puts it more bluntly: "In the end, he who has the lowest costs wins."
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Old August 14th, 2005, 05:51 PM   #225
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Air Canada unveils EMBRAER 175 aircraft, spacious new jet with leading-edge amenities key to North America strategy



TORONTO, Aug. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada today officially unveiled the airline's brand new EMBRAER 175 aircraft, the most recent addition to its North American fleet. At Air Canada's main hub in Toronto, frequent fliers, travel industry representatives and the carrier's employees saw first hand this next-generation aircraft that will set new standards for air travel in North America. The spacious 73-seat jet aircraft is configured to provide a choice of Executive Class or Hospitality service, and features industry-leading legroom throughout, personal in-seat entertainment systems at each seat, and Air Canada's new seating and cabin design.

Air Canada will deploy the EMBRAER 175 primarily in key Canada-U.S. transborder markets. With the arrival of the EMBRAER 175, Air Canada is introducing Executive Class and in-flight enhancements on the following three routes: Toronto - Washington D.C. Regan National Airport, Toronto - Philadelphia and Toronto - Atlanta. In addition, Air Canada will deploy the EMBRAER 175 on Toronto - Boston, Toronto - Newark, Montreal - LaGuardia and Montreal - Chicago, as well as the carrier's first early morning Rapidair departure from Montreal to Toronto at 05h30, introducing Executive Class service on this flight for the first time.

"Today is an exciting day for Air Canada as we present to our customers, the travel industry and our employees, the future of air travel in North America," said Montie Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer. "With the arrival of these next-generation Embraer aircraft, we are implementing our North American fleet strategy to serve current markets more effectively with enhanced schedules and in-flight amenities, and purse new market opportunities throughout North America. These new aircraft in the 70-110 seat range allow us to introduce Executive Class service on routes for the first time, and offer all our customers a superior in-flight experience with industry-leading space, comfort and personal seatback entertainment that puts control in the hands of our customers."

"Embraer is proud to have Air Canada as the first EMBRAER 175 operator. Air Canada shows foresight in taking advantage of our E-Jets as a key component of its business strategy and future success," said Frederico Curado, Embraer Executive Vice President, Civil Aircraft, in Toronto for the unveiling. "As an operator, Air Canada will reap the benefits of the reliability and economics of the EMBRAER 175 in filling the mid-market niche; while its customers will appreciate the aircraft's unprecedented comfort."

Air Canada is expected to take delivery of all 15 EMBRAER 175 aircraft on order by December 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 August 16th, 2005, 04:21 AM   #226
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Air Canada expands Online check-in to the United States
Monday, 15 August 2005


Air Canada announced today that its online internet check-in service is now available to most of its customers departing the United States for Canada.

Ticket holders departing from sixteen major U.S. airports will be able to check-in and print boarding passes from the companies website. The company currently offers web check-in for all flights originating from Canada.

The service is offered for the following U.S. airports: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York La Guardia, Newark, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington Regan National.

To check-in, flyers must enter either the credit card number used to purchase the ticket, booking reference number or Aeroplan membership number. Once checked in passengers can select their seats, print out their boarding card, standby for earlier flights or request upgrades. Web check-in is available within 12 hours before a flight, and up to 90 minutes before U.S.-Canada flights.

Discuss this story in our Home Computing Forum in the Digital Forums. Membership in the Digital Forums is free and with over 60 forums and 10,400 members, there is always something new and interesting to discuss.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:05 PM   #227
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Air Canada may cut bag allowance to cover rising fuel costs
Chris Sorensen
18 August 2005
National Post

Air Canada passengers may soon want to travel lighter. The country's largest airline is considering a number of ways to conserve pricey jet fuel, including tightening rules on checked-in luggage.

According to industry sources, the airline, which this summer twice raised fares because of higher fuel costs, is looking at reducing the maximum allowable weight of passengers' checked-in baggage by 4.5 kilograms per bag.

Air Canada passengers are now allowed to check in two bags weighing a maximum 32 kg each, or one bag weighing up to 45 kg. If the proposed changes are adopted, passengers would be permitted two bags weighing less than 23 kg each or one bag weighing less than 32 kg.

Passengers with heavier bags will continue to be charged for extra weight.

The per-kilogram fee may, however, also be increased. It's unclear whether the proposed changes would affect passengers on both domestic and international flights.

"We're currently looking at a number of processes and procedures, including baggage allowance, to determine what, if any, changes we need to make to our current policy," said Laura Cooke, spokeswoman for Air Canada. She said the airline is committed to pricing its services in a way that reflects the costs of delivering them.

Air Canada's move would come on the heels of similar decisions in the United States by Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines, both of which have dropped by 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) the maximum allowable weight of bags checked in on international flights by coach or economy-class passengers.

Like all North American airlines, Air Canada is struggling to offset sky-high fuel prices, which have been exacerbated by a lack of refining capacity to meet the current demand for jet fuel.

David Newman, an analyst at National Bank Financial, said in a research note that the so-called "crack spread," the difference between the price of a barrel of oil and kerosene jet fuel, accounts for a significant portion of the 48% rise in the price of jet fuel over the past year.

"We estimate the refining spread was at its highest quarterly level in at least 15 years in (the second quarter)," Mr. Newman wrote.

Air Canada saw its second- quarter fuel costs rise 42% or $156-million compared with the first three months of the year. The airline increased its capacity by just 4% during the same period.

Some U.S. air carriers already have come up with creative ways to help reduce their exposure to high fuel prices. For example, American Airlines launched a program to reduce the amount of drinking water carried on board its aircraft, reducing overall weight and fuel burn; Delta Air Lines estimated it could save US$244,000 annually on fuel if it eliminates just two dozen soda cans from each of its flights.

For their part, Air Canada executives have implemented a fuel-hedging program and raised air fares -- a move that was immediately followed by rival WestJet Airlines Ltd.

A WestJet spokeswoman said yesterday the airline was monitoring its baggage situation closely, but hasn't made any decisions to alter existing policies.

Similarly, CanJet Airlines doesn't have anything planned, but may review the issue in the future. "I really think it's something that all carriers will have to look at," said Wayne Morrison, a spokesman for the airline.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #228
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Aeroplan to ramp up flight options
Improvements in spring, says CEO
To be no limit on Star Alliance seats

Sharda Prashad
Toronto Star
18 August 2005

It's one of the biggest complaints about loyalty programs: You have the points, but discover the flight you want isn't available.

After the audience at a luncheon in downtown Toronto presented this frustration to Aeroplan Limited Partnership's president and chief executive, he offered a solution.

"As of sometime next spring, we'll have unlimited access to Air Canada (and Star Alliance airline) seats," said Rupert Duchesne, a former British Royal Air Force pilot who has a degree in pharmacology. "If you want to leave tomorrow at 10 a.m. on a premium business flight to Vancouver, we'll able to give you a seat. Normally that seat might be 25,000 miles; it might be 50,000 miles if you book it at last minute."

The program will apply to economy and business class seats for Air Canada and other Star Alliance partners. The holder of 230,000 miles himself, Duchesne said the increased availability of seats would offer a "substantial improvement."

It would also provide the 45-year-old with a response when dealing with irate Aeroplan members.

"A year ago, I'd get 15 emails a week from people complaining about seat availability. I now get probably two or three and the two or three are always about business class seats to Europe. And they're always from the most influential, the most senior and the most wealthy people in the community," he joked with the audience.

"Believe me, I have every incentive to get that programming done and make it work."

Duchesne did acknowledge that some of Aeroplan's 5 million active members might not appreciate having to redeem extra miles to get the tickets of their choice, but he argued it was a better alternative for members than the current alternative.

"What that means is the customer will have a choice, whereas previously we'd just say 'No, no seats are available,' " he said. "These seats will cost us more, so it will cost the member more. What we won't do is make less seats available at regular prices. We have an agreement with Air Canada."

In June, Aeroplan LP completed an initial public offering and formed Aeroplan Income Fund. The IPO of the Aeroplan Income Fund, which owns 14.4 per cent of Aeroplan LP, raised $250 million. Air Canada's parent company, ACE Aviation Holdings, continues to hold the remaining 85.6 per cent of Aeroplan LP.

Second-quarter profits released earlier this month fell 21 per cent to $25.3 million, or 14.4 cents per unit, compared with one year ago, which Duchesne attributed to a one-time gain last year of $16.8 million. He expects the company will have a positive year.

"We're bang on target to deliver $140 million to our investors in distributable income over the course of 2005."

Aeroplan formed partnerships in 2005 with Bell Canada, Future Shop and Esso through which members may redeem points for non-flight rewards. Duchesne said he hopes another partnership will be announced this year.

Competition from other loyalty programs is unlikely, said Duchesne. "It's hard for anyone to follow Aeroplan's lead," he said, noting that retailers with loyalty programs would find it hard to partner with other retailers, who may be competitors. This fall, Aeroplan will also launch a new website, where plan members will be encouraged to redeem their points. Duchesne hopes to see 70 per cent of redemptions occur online within two years. In the second quarter, about 39 per cent were done online.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 05:31 AM   #229
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Ace Aviation Holdings Inc. announces senior management appointments

MONTREAL, Aug. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Robert Milton, Chairman, President and CEO of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. (ACE) today announced the following key executive appointments that support the Corporation's strategic business objectives.

Brian Dunne, formerly Chief Financial Officer at Aer Lingus, the national carrier of Ireland, joins ACE as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Reporting directly to the CEO of ACE, he will have executive responsibility for the overall financial strategic direction, control and financial monitoring of ACE and its operating companies and will also have responsibility for both the treasury and controller's operations. After having joined the Irish carrier as CFO in 2001, Mr. Dunne played a key role in transforming Aer Lingus into a profitable low fare carrier. He led the carrier's successful cost reduction program and European fleet transformation as well as other initiatives which were instrumental in the carrier's turnaround. Prior to joining Aer Lingus, Mr. Dunne worked for Arthur Andersen where he was a Partner in the business consulting practice with clients in the transportation, energy and communications sectors. Mr. Dunne is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College Dublin. His appointment is effective September 6, 2005.

Rob Peterson, formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ACE, will assume the position of Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Aeroplan LP.

"Rob Peterson's significant contribution to Air Canada over the years has included the responsibility for Aeroplan's finances for more than a decade. His extensive knowledge of Aeroplan's business, together with his strong working relationship with its executive team led by Rupert Duchesne, will be invaluable as Aeroplan evolves its business plan as a newly public company," said Mr. Milton.

Greg Cote, formerly Senior Vice President and Partner, Ernst &Young Corporate Finance, joins ACE as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance and Strategy. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer of ACE, he will have executive responsibility for developing and implementing financial strategies that create additional value for ACE and its operating companies. He most recently acted as advisor to ACE on plans and strategies leading to its successful completion of an equity raise of approximately $792 million as well as the initial public offering of the Aeroplan Income Fund. He has been a Partner at Ernst &Young since 1997 with a practice focusing on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate reorganization. Prior to joining Ernst &Young Corporate Finance, Mr. Cote was a Senior Manager at Clarkson Gordon. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Mr. Cote holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University. His appointment is effective September 1, 2005.

Mr. Milton said, "I am pleased to welcome onboard two highly talented individuals to key financial positions at ACE as we implement our plan to grow our business units into stand alone companies. Moreover, I am delighted that Aeroplan will benefit from Rob's broad industry knowledge and experience as this important unit of ACE implements its business strategy as a publicly held company. The unique expertise and background of all three individuals will further strengthen the ACE management team and build on our strategic focus as we continue to work to realize the inherent value of ACE."
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Old August 28th, 2005, 12:19 AM   #230
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CanJet denies talk of takeover by WestJet
Brent Jang
27 August 2005
The Globe and Mail

Privately owned CanJet Airlines insisted yesterday that there isn't any substance to speculation that WestJet Airlines Ltd. is seeking to buy the Halifax-based carrier. “There's certainly nothing we've seen or heard that would lend credence to this,” CanJet spokesman Wayne Morrison said. Sean Durfy, a WestJet executive vice-president, said the Calgary-based carrier is continuing to promote its flights in Atlantic Canada, where CanJet has a strong presence. But Mr. Durfy said there aren't any plans to acquire CanJet. “To date, from our perspective, there are no thoughts of that. But as a corporation, we will continue to look at all avenues of growth,” he said. WJA (TSX) fell 4 cents to $11.50.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:13 AM   #231
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Air Canada returns steel knives to its flights
Passengers in executive class to get real cutlery Transport Canada still demands rounded tips
Rick Westhead
Toronto Star
29 August 2005

Starting in two weeks' time, Air Canada's blueblood customers will be able to quit a practice most despise: using plastic knives to carve into slabs of beef tenderloin.

Metal knives will be allowed back on Air Canada effective Sept. 15, three years after Transport Canada and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration approved the measure.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Air Canada and other carriers banned metal knives while stepping up their security measures, although they have still offered metal forks and spoons.

While most passengers would acknowledge that airlines were wise to crack down on potential weapons in the wake of the terror attacks, that didn't make it any easier for Air Canada flight attendants, who have had to endure countless complaints over the past four years because of the knife ban.

"I'd say (that), on overseas routes, I get at least one complaint every other flight," said Heather Tregaskas, an Air Canada flight attendant with 37 years' experience.

"You just get customers who have this nice meal and they feel like they're eating with McDonald's utensils," she said. "There's not a lot the flight attendants can do. We just smile. What can you say?"

Vanessa Vermette, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, said that the government lifted its restriction on metal knives in September 2002, although it still insists that airlines offer knives with dull blades and rounded tips. Steel forks have never been banned.

"We've determined that the rounded tips do not pose an in-flight safety issue," Vermette said.

Passengers are still banned from bringing knives on board flights, she said.

Air Canada, however, plans to re-introduce metal knives in first-class cabins only.

Laura Cooke, a spokesperson for the airline, said the move was consistent with "our executive class offerings" because Air Canada had offered metal knives just to those first-class customers before the attack. Hospitality-class customers have always received plastic utensils, she said.

Cooke said that after delays in trying to introduce metal knives on all its flights, the airline decided to start offering them on flights within continental North America.

Air Canada rival WestJet Airlines Ltd., meanwhile, has only ever offered plastic cutlery.

Several frequent Air Canada passengers said they are relieved to be rid of a minor in-flight annoyance.

"It's partly a symbolic thing, like they don't trust you," said Lorne Atkinson, chairman of Cansult Ltd. in Toronto.

But "the truth is I don't fly for the meal," he said.

Air Canada's decision to re-introduce metal knives comes after similar moves by rival carriers.

British Airways, for instance, allowed first-class passengers to use metal cutlery in May after the U.K. Department of transport relaxed a ban because airlines had installed reinforced metal cockpit doors.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:15 AM   #232
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Faulty fuel gauge blamed for plane's engine failure
Bruce Campion-Smith
Toronto Star
29 August 2005

OTTAWA -- In an incident with disturbing overtones of the famed Gimli glider, an Air Canada jet suffered an engine failure after a fuel tank ran dry over Chile, federal safety officials say.

A faulty fuel gauge - that often went blank during a January flight to Santiago from Toronto - is being blamed as the reason pilots thought they had more fuel in the tank than they actually did.

But investigators want to know why the crew were unaware of the developing fuel crisis until the left engine of their twin-engine Boeing 767 suddenly quit during the 10 1/2-hour trip in January.

"It shouldn't have happened and there's nobody denying that," said Rae Simpson, a senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

"It brings up memories of Gimli. It brings up memories of Air Transat into the Azores," he said, referring to two examples of Canadian airliners forced to glide to the ground after running out of fuel.

The circumstances surrounding this incident - the New Year's day trip of Air Canada Flight 92 - aren't as serious. But safety experts were worried enough that they launched a formal investigation.

It's also the same type of Boeing jet that made a dramatic deadstick landing into Gimli, Man., in 1983 after running out of fuel during a flight to Edmonton from Montreal. Miscalculations by the flight and ground crews were blamed for that incident.

"There's a bunch of issues involved here. I look at them all and think it's bloody amazing but they got the aircraft there with enough fuel," Simpson said. The incident first came to light in a Transport Canada preliminary notice about the incident, obtained by the Toronto Star under the Access to Information Act.

During the night flight to Santiago, the fuel gauge for the left wing tank began acting up, providing intermittent, erroneous readings and even went blank at times, making it tough for the pilots to track the fuel remaining in that tank.

Cruising at 37,000 feet, the jet was just about to begin its descent into Santiago when the boost pump lights illuminated for the left tank, signalling it was running dry. Minutes later, the left engine quit. The pilots immediately began a descent and started the jet's auxiliary power unit - a small jet engine located in the tail that supplies back-up electrical power and air.

Just above 20,000 feet, they were able to restart the left engine after opening crossfeed valves to allow fuel from the right tank to feed both engines.

The safety board has completed a draft report on the incident and is now in consultations with Boeing and Air Canada to make sure the "facts are straight," Simpson said.

Air Canada spokesperson Laura Cooke said the airline has launched its own internal review.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 04:33 AM   #233
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U2, Rolling Stones charter Air Canada's Jetz service
01 September 2005
The Globe and Mail

Air Canada's Jetz unit has won the contract to fly Irish rock band U2 on its fall concert tour. The premium charter jet service, owned by Air Canada parent ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., said it “will be flying Bono and gang on the fall leg of their Vertigo 3 tour.” Jetz also said it has the contract to fly the Rolling Stones on their North American tour. The jet service already has numerous corporate clients and will be resuming its flights for several National Hockey League teams this fall. ACE.B (TSX) fell 32 cents to $36.20.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 05:50 AM   #234
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Air Canada looks to cooperate further with Air China - Air Canada CEO
1 September 2005

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Air Canada is looking to further develop its relationship with Air China to enhance connectivity between Asia and America, Air Canada's president and CEO Montie Brewer said.

Speaking at the Canada-China Aviation Symposium in Beijing, Brewer said that both China and Canada are well-positioned to act as gateways to America and Asia, and that the flag carriers of both nations should benefit from this.

"Air China will be able to use Air Canada's network in America, while Air China is well-positioned to serve Air Canada to all of Asia," he said.

"We are committed, with our partners, to build an air bridge between Canada and China," Brewer added.

Brewer said that Air Canada will add two more direct routes to China by 2007, from Shanghai to Toronto and from Guangzhou to Vancouver.

The carrier currently operates five non-stop flights between the two nations, linking Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong with Vancouver and Toronto.

Air Canada plans to operate a daily service between Toronto and Beijing by next summer, and also expand its Shanghai to Toronto service, Brewer added.

The Air Canada CEO also said he would like to see Air China join the Star Alliance group of airlines, which was founded in 1997 and comprises 17 airlines.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 10:56 PM   #235
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WestJet Commences Service to Las Vegas
Corporate Press Release
SEPTEMBER 1, 2005 - 18:00:05 ET

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 1, 2005) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) will be celebrating the commencement of its new non-stop service between Las Vegas and Toronto on September 5. WestJet offers daily non-stop return flights between Toronto and Las Vegas.

Beginning October 6, WestJet will commence two non-stop return flights per week between Kelowna and Las Vegas, and Winnipeg and Las Vegas. On November 3, WestJet will commence two non-stop return flights per week between Calgary and Las Vegas, and Edmonton and Las Vegas.

Sean Durfy, WestJet's Executive Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, said today: "We are thrilled to be commencing non-stop scheduled service to Las Vegas on September 5. Previously, we had only flown to Vegas under charter arrangements. Canadians can now book their low-fare, high-value travel to Las Vegas directly from WestJet and our travel agent partners.

"Flights to Las Vegas will be operated on new Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft equipped with leather seats, more legroom and up to 24 channels of live seatback satellite television with service provided by Bell ExpressVu on our 737-700 fleet."

WestJet is Canada's leading low-cost airline offering scheduled service throughout its 34-city North American network. Named Canada's most respected corporation for customer service in 2005, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada. With increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television on its 737-700 fleet, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.
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Old September 4th, 2005, 12:52 AM   #236
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Air Canada Flies to New Orleans
Josh Pringle
Friday, September 02, 2005 9:35 PM

Air Canada is sending rescue flights to New Orleans to help evacuate the hurricane battered city.

An Airbus A-321 left Toronto on Friday carrying bottled water and relief supplies to assist in the clean-up from Hurricane Katrina.

The plane is capable of carrying up to 166 passengers and 56-hundred kilograms of cargo.

Air Canada says shuttle flights will be operated on a continuous basis over the next several days to assist, along with other airlines, in moving out approximately 25-thousand people.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 05:00 PM   #237
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Toronto hot on Vancouver's Asian heels
Non-stop flights from Pearson part of Air Canada's growth strategy
BRENT JANG
6 September 2005
The Globe and Mail

Toronto is poised to rival Vancouver as Air Canada's gateway to Asia, fuelling the airline's international growth strategy.

Air Canada's global ambitions were temporarily deflated after the SARS outbreak in Asia and Toronto in the spring of 2003, as the airline slashed flights and filed for court protection from creditors in April of that year.

But since the carrier emerged from bankruptcy protection on Sept. 30, 2004, Air Canada's Asia-Pacific routes have been star performers. It is Toronto's Pearson International Airport that has served as the Canadian hub for recent route expansion, and Pearson is likely the key for future growth on transpacific flights.

Connie Turner, spokeswoman for Pearson's operator, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), said Canada's largest airport is fast becoming a popular hub for non-stop international flights, despite the long distance to Asia.

“It's more economical to make a long-haul flight from Toronto, without a stop. When you take a look at a route map, for me to fly across Canada to Vancouver may not make sense,” Ms. Turner said.

“Being within a 90-minute flight of 60 per cent of North America's population, Toronto is increasingly being seen as an international hub by a number of global carriers.”

It takes more than 13 hours to fly non-stop between Toronto and Beijing over the Pacific, but that's a saving of 3½ hours, compared with having a stopover in Vancouver on the Toronto-Beijing route, Air Canada officials say.

Tony Gugliotta, chief financial officer at the Vancouver International Airport Authority, played down Toronto's pending claim on bragging rights as Air Canada's gateway to Asia.

“There's great potential for both Toronto and Vancouver. I don't see this as a win-lose. I just see this as two individual markets that have huge growth opportunities,” Mr. Gugliotta said.

For instance, Air Canada will introduce non-stop Vancouver-Guangzhou flights in mid-2007.

Vancouver remains strong in the so-called “visit friends and relatives” segment of the transpacific market, while Toronto attracts more business travellers, including those going between Asia and South America.

GTAA chief executive officer John Kaldeway and Vancouver airport CEO Larry Berg joined Transport Minister Jean Lapierre early this month for a trade mission to China. Air Canada president Montie Brewer and executives from Canadian firms such as Bombardier Inc., Harmony Airways and Transat A.T. Inc. were also part of the delegation.

Air Canada said that, for competitive reasons, it couldn't provide financial and operating details of its growth on transpacific flights originating at Pearson.

Generally, Asian flights from both Vancouver and Toronto have proven to be important in the airline's financial recovery, albeit tempered by stubbornly high oil prices, analysts say.

In the first seven months of this year, Air Canada's Asia-Pacific traffic reached 4.8 billion revenue passenger miles — the number of paid seats multiplied by the distance flown. That's up 5.6 per cent from the same period last year.

Air Canada's Toronto-Asia flights could get a further boost if the airline orders new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, said Isabelle Dostaler, director of the international aviation MBA program at Concordia University in Montreal.

However, since a labour dispute with pilots forced Air Canada this summer to cancel its $6-billion (U.S.) order for Boeing 787s and 777s, the carrier is relying on long-range Airbus A340s, at least until it can find a way to renegotiate its Boeing order, Prof. Dostaler said.

Allan DeQuetteville, Boeing's vice-president in Canada, said Air Canada's order can't be salvaged in its original form, but the aircraft maker continues to hold out hope that Montreal-based Air Canada will return with orders in the future.

Air Canada uses the 282-seat Airbus A340-300 aircraft for its Toronto-Beijing service. From its Toronto hub, the carrier also flies non-stop to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and New Delhi. Starting next summer, Air Canada will introduce its non-stop Toronto-Shanghai route.

The airline announced its Toronto-Shanghai plans in April, when the Canadian and Chinese governments signed a broadened bilateral air agreement to expand passenger and cargo service.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #238
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Old September 7th, 2005, 04:56 PM   #239
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Air Canada August Traffic Up 5.5%
7 September 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--Air Canada flew 4.67 billion revenue passenger miles in August, up 5.5% from 4.42 billion a year earlier.

In a press release, the company said capacity increased 2.9% to 5.47 billion available seat miles and the load factor rose to 85.3% from 83.2%.

For the year to date, traffic was up 5.7% to 30.36 billion revenue passenger miles, capacity was up 1.5% to 37.49 available seat miles and the load factor rose to 81.0% from 77.8%.

For Jazz, the regional carrier, traffic in August was up 55% to 250 million revenue passenger miles, while capacity was up 44% to 347 million available seat miles and the load factor increased to 72% from 66.8%.

Air Canada and Jazz are owned by ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. (ACE.B.T).
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Old September 7th, 2005, 04:59 PM   #240
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WestJet's August Load Factor Increases To 83.5%
7 September 2005

CALGARY (Dow Jones)--WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) saw a 22.3% increase in traffic in August to 797.5 million revenue passenger miles, up from 652.1 million revenue passenger miles a year ago.

In a news release, the air carrier said capacity rose 16.9% to 955.1 million available seat miles in August, up from 817.3 million available seat miles in the same month in 2004.

Load factor for August was 83.5% versus 79.8%, it said.

In the year to date, traffic rose 31.1% to 5.294 billion revenue passenger miles, while capacity rose 24.0% and load factor was 75.0% versus 71.0%.
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