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Old March 13th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #761
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YU-AMC View Post
On what routes they have their A340S now? Just wanted to know. The W77 does HKG.
I'm assuming the A340S you refer to is the A340-500 that AC used to fly on the YYZ-HKG service.

Those planes were being retired, or will be retired soon.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 03:34 AM   #762
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any new AC equipment in the Rome FCO route? just 767s?
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Old March 14th, 2008, 05:52 AM   #763
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UD2 View Post
I'm assuming the A340S you refer to is the A340-500 that AC used to fly on the YYZ-HKG service.

Those planes were being retired, or will be retired soon.
I believe they were sold off to another carrier.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #764
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Skytrax #1 Airline in North America - 2007

To celebrate the award, Air Canada has put together a cool video to highlight their Toronto hub, and their inflight product.
Have a look.
http://www.aircanada.com/airline/ind...html?src=hp_tl
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 01:59 PM   #765
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Boeing delays Air Canada deliveries
Late By Two Years

9 May 2008
National Post

Air Canada's fleet-renewal plans flew into a headwind yesterday when Boeing Co. said it would deliver the airline's first 787 Dreamliners at least two years later than originally planned.

That has Canada's largest carrier reconsidering its scheduling and expansion plans for those years now that it must keep flying older, less fuel-efficient planes as high fuel prices send the profit of carriers worldwide into a tailspin.

Montie Brewer, Air Canada chief executive, said the airline would seek compensation for the delays, but would not say whether it wanted cash, a discount on pricing or some other form of redress.

"We were counting on these aircraft," Mr. Brewer said in a conference call yesterday. "Especially in an environment with high fuel prices."

Air Canada had expected to take delivery of its 37 787s between 2010 and 2014, but now doesn't expect its first plane until January, 2012.

Last month, Boeing pushed back the delivery date of the aircraft for a third time after problems in its supply chain and final assembly persisted.

Boeing now plans to deliver the first Dreamliner in the third quarter of 2009 -- 15 months behind schedule.

Yvonne Leach, a Boeing spokeswoman, said "most" of 60 plus 787 customers will be affected by the delays -- on average by 20 months -- now that the Chicago-based plane maker expects a slower ramp-up in production.

All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Air India, Air New Zealand and Qantas Airways have all said they also will seek redress.

The cutting-edge technology and lighter composite parts of the 787 promise 30% fuel savings for its owners, making it the centrepiece of Air Canada's expansion plans.

Those renewal plans also include the 45 Embraer 190s already in its fleet and the 18 new Boeing 777s it plans to have by 2009, which are already driving down fuel costs.

In addition to the Dreamliner delays, Air Canada also announced yesterday it had widened its first-quarter loss to 62¢ a share, excluding a $125-million provision for the ongoing U. S.-EU cargo fixing probe and foreign exchange, down from a loss of 34¢ a share in the same quarter last year.

The results, however, beat the Street's expectations of 77¢ a share, driven by better-than-expected cost controls and pricing, in particular on domestic routes, where Mr. Brewer said demand and pricing remains strong on advanced bookings.

After an initial dip, the airline's class A shares ended the day up 15¢ to close at $8.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Air Canada is undergoing a series of initiatives to further reduce costs and drive up ancillary revenues in the time of volatile fuel prices, including its recently announced $25 charge for some of its passengers to check a second bag.

While its fleet renewal plans are part of its goal to reduce $100-million in costs, Air Canada is also reducing its capacity growth plans from 4% this year to between 1% to 2.5%. The airline is also looking at cutting capacity on less-profitable routes, including slashing flights to Osaka and Rome this fall, which will allow it to retire its entire fleet of gas-guzzling 767-200s ahead of schedule by the end of this year.

"The increase in fuel prices over the past several months has been unprecedented," Mr. Brewer said.

"But we have reacted quickly by reducing capacity in the second half of the year, by increasing fares where possible, by further reducing our non-fuel costs and by aggressively growing ancillary revenue."

---------
DELAYS

Boeing originally planned the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner for September, 2007, and its delivery date to All Nippon Airways in May, 2008, before the following delays:

Sept. 5, 2007 Boeing announced a three-month delay to the Dreamliner's first flight blaming a shortage of fasteners and incomplete software.

Oct. 10, 2007 Another threemonth delay to first flight, delivery date bumped by six months as problems persist.

Jan. 16, 2008 Another threemonth delay to the first flight, delivery date postponed to "early 2009."

April 9, 2008 First flight postponed to fourth quarter 2008, delivery date moved to third quarter 2009. New schedule includes two-month buffer period to allow for other unforseen problems.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 10:14 PM   #766
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AC will be cutting flights and firing 2,000 workers due to high fuel prices:

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/0...anadacuts.html

Air Canada said Tuesday it plans to eliminate 2,000 jobs and reduce its capacity as the company joins the list of airlines cutting back in the face of higher fuel prices.

Air Canada also hinted that more capacity cuts may be necessary if fuel costs remain at their current levels.

The country's biggest carrier said it will reduce its overall capacity by seven per cent in the last three months of this year and the first quarter of 2009.

The airline said fuel prices have more than doubled over the past year, and that a $1-per-barrel increase in the price of oil adds $26 million to its annual fuel bill.

Most of the job cuts are expected to take effect Nov. 1 and will be spread across the country. The company has the equivalent of 23,900 full-time employees.

Air Canada said fuel is its single biggest expense — accounting for more than 30 per cent of its operating expenses. The company expects its total fuel charge will be $1 billion higher this year than last year.

"The loss of jobs is painful in view of our employees' hard work in bringing the airline back to profitability over the past four years," said Montie Brewer, Air Canada's president and CEO.

"I regret having to take these actions but they are necessary to remain competitive going forward. Air Canada, like most global airlines, needs to adapt its business and reduce flying that has become unprofitable in the current fuel environment," Brewer said in a release. "If fuel prices remain at current levels, we can anticipate further capacity reductions."

Air Canada said it expects the price of jet fuel will average 93 cents per litre for 2008.

The airline projected it will cost an average of $230 in fuel this year to carry one passenger on a round-trip journey, after factoring in the company's fuel hedging program. That is up from $146 last year and $110 in 2004.
13% cut to U.S. routes

Air Canada said it plans to cut capacity on its domestic routes by two per cent, its routes into the U.S. by 13 per cent and its international capacity by seven per cent.

The airline said it will suspend its Toronto-Rome non-stop service until the peak summer season, and halt Vancouver-Osaka non-stop services on Oct. 26.

The airline's revised fall-and-winter flying schedule and changes to its fleet of aircraft will be announced at a later date.

The Class A shares of Air Canada were up 23 cents at $9.07 in afternoon trading on the TSX.

Air Canada's competitor, discount carrier WestJet, said it has no plans for flight cancellations or layoffs. Last month, Calgary-based WestJet followed Air Canada and implemented a fuel surcharge.

"We believe [the surcharge] was the fairest and most transparent way to deal with the issue at hand, which is fuel," said WestJet spokesman Richard Bartrem.

"But we'll not be introducing anything like charging for a first or second checked bag or anything in that regard … the fuel surcharge is helping us weather the storm, as it were, for these record fuel prices."

Airline analyst Joseph D'Cruz said the North American airline industry has been hit by a "perfect storm.

"The U.S. airlines are suffering badly, and one or two of them may go bankrupt because as fuel rises they're slapping [on] surcharges, and at the same time there's a recession the United States," said D'Cruz, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

"The two things together — higher surcharges and the recession — are dampening demand, and that is hurting cash flow in the United States to the point where some of those airlines may be pushed into bankruptcy."

Several U.S. airlines have already announced cuts to their fleets and staff in the face of higher fuel costs and soft demand.

United Airlines, which announced cutbacks earlier this month, said Tuesday its fuel bill is on track to hit $9.5 billion US this year, up more than $3.5 billion from last year.

The second-largest U.S. carrier submitted the fuel cost figure in a statement given to the U.S. government in support of legislation aimed at tackling volatility in oil trading.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 05:50 AM   #767
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Fuel crisis hits Canadian airline passengers
Two weeks after panic set in among U.S. carriers, Air Canada unveils plans to pare back flight schedules and slash 2,000 jobs

18 June 2008
The Globe and Mail

Consumers should brace themselves for fewer big-city flights, reduced or cancelled service in towns, more stopovers and smaller planes on many routes, as the global fuel crisis comes home to roost at Air Canada.

Under a belt-tightening plan unveiled yesterday, Air Canada is seeking to chop seat capacity in its fall and winter schedule by an average of 7 per cent worldwide while shedding up to 2,000 jobs.

Air Canada had been holding modest seat sales in an effort to assuage passengers anxious about hefty new fuel surcharges, even as major U.S. carriers went into panic mode two weeks ago by slashing routes, grounding older planes and serving notice of layoffs.

But now, finally succumbing to financial pressures, Air Canada is waving the white flag – resorting to U.S.-style cost-cutting measures amid record-high prices for jet fuel.

“We hope these measures will be adequate, but there is no guarantee. If these current high prices persist, and given the wild swings in the cost of fuel and the extreme predictions of how high oil prices might go, we cannot rule out further capacity reductions,” Air Canada CEO Montie Brewer said in an internal message to employees.

For every $1-a-barrel increase in the price of oil, Montreal-based Air Canada estimates that it suffers a hit of $26-million in extra payments on its fuel bills. For 2008, the carrier forecasts that it will have to cough up $1-billion more for fuel bills than last year.

“While we can anticipate a busy summer, most of our customers travelling in the peak booked their tickets at the lower fares before the latest fuel spike,” Mr. Brewer said in his memo obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Industry experts say Air Canada will likely be hurt by sagging consumer demand in September, exacerbated by corporate travel budgets being pared during an economic slump in manufacturing in Central Canada.

The airline could still fill 84 per cent of its seats in August, but planes may be typically just three-quarters full on many routes in the fall, observers predict.

An example of the type of non-stop service under the microscope is Calgary to Prince George, B.C. – a “city pair” axed earlier this month by Air Canada, as it began weeding out marginal routes. Prince George residents now have to backtrack to Vancouver first, before catching a connecting flight to Calgary.

Air Canada is still studying which routes to target next, but Toronto-Windsor and Toronto-Thunder Bay are among the pairings that lag in traffic statistics. Such underperforming routes could face reduced service.

Busy routes such as Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Vancouver and Calgary-Vancouver will also be scrutinized, with the country's largest carrier contemplating a reduction in flight frequencies and a deployment of smaller aircraft during non-peak hours.

Internationally, Air Canada indicated recently that it will be suspending service this fall to Rome and Osaka, Japan, allowing it to retire four older Boeing 767-200s, which use more fuel than new jets.

In total, Air Canada plans to reduce seat capacity by 7 per cent on overseas service, 13 per cent on transborder flights into the United States and 2 per cent domestically.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. spokesman Richard Bartrem said the Calgary-based carrier has no plans to cut its seat capacity or lay off any of its 7,000 non-union workers. WestJet has 74 Boeing planes in its fleet, and will take delivery of another two later this year, he said.

Paul Lefebvre, president of Local 2323 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Toronto, said his members were surprised to hear yesterday about the Air Canada layoffs.

“You become numb after a while, and don't know what kind of injustice is coming next,” he said.

If Air Canada chops 2,000 employees by Nov. 1, it would be a 7-per-cent cut from its current payroll of 28,000 full- and part-time workers. “Decisions such as these affect all of our lives and I regret that there is no alternative,” Mr. Brewer said.

Jazz Air has nearly 5,000 employees, but Jazz spokeswoman Debra Williams said it's too early to determine the ripple effect on the Halifax-based carrier, which flies numerous regional routes on behalf of Air Canada.

Union leaders say the job cuts could affect 596 members of the Machinists union, including aircraft mechanics, and 500 flight attendants who belong to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The Canadian Auto Workers union estimates that 411 of its members could lose their jobs, including customer service representatives.

The grounding effect

As jet fuel prices soar at Air Canada, the airline's new fuel surcharges are expected to result in reduced passenger loads this fall, as consumers balk at higher fares.

Extra fees in a $129 one-way Toronto-New York flight

Advertised fare: $129.00
Fuel surcharge: 50.00
Nav Canada fee: 7.50
Toronto airport fee: 20.00
Canada security fee: 7.94
GST: 10.72
U.S. transport tax: 15.69
U.S. agriculture fee: 5.09
U.S. immigration fee: 7.13
TOTAL:$253.07*

*If base fare back to Toronto is $129, round-trip totals $471.72

FUEL BILLS IN 2007
Air Canada: $2.55-billion
WestJet: $504-million

AVERAGE FUEL COST FOR A ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT, TORONTO–LOS ANGELES†
2008: $230
2007: $146
2004 :$110

†Per ticket with planes averaging more than three-quarters full.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 09:13 PM   #768
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Air Canada gave me a bad impression ever since they lost my baggage the last time i used that airline! Screw air canada! They got hundreds of thieves there! The raid done before by the RCMP should be done again!
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Old July 8th, 2008, 04:47 AM   #769
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Jazz Air cutting 270 workers
Jul 03, 2008 09:03 AM
THE CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX–Jazz Air is cutting 270 employees as the regional airline operator reduces capacity by five per cent.

The Jazz reduction announced Thursday follows the mid-June move by Air Canada, from which Jazz was spun off and which buys most of its fleet capacity, to cut its flying by seven per cent with the loss of 2,000 jobs.

"The decrease in Air Canada's need for Jazz's services necessitates a reduction in staff of approximately 270 Jazz employees," the regional operator stated.

Jazz CEO Joseph Randell added that "every effort is being made to mitigate these job losses, and we hope this downturn in our industry's cycle ends soon. We are in a period of great uncertainty and cannot predict where the price of fuel is going."

Jazz has already made fuel-saving changes and recently froze hiring and non-critical overtime. It also has announced plans to close its Hamilton operation at the end of July, eliminating 10 daily flights and 14 jobs at the Hamilton airport.

In Thursday's announcement, Jazz commented that "in addition to soaring fuel prices, airlines in Canada must also contend with federal and provincial fuel excise taxes, security fees, Nav Canada fees and airport charges that rank amongst the most expensive in the world. It is important to recognize the severity of the situation facing the entire aviation industry and ultimately our communities."
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Old July 11th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #770
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Air Canada to lay off 632 flight attendants in Vancouver
10 July 2008
Associated Press Newswires

MONTREAL -- The union representing Air Canada's (TSX:AC.B) flight attendants said it is bearing a disproportionate burden as Canada's largest airline said it will cut 632 in-flight workers in November as it chops capacity in the face of soaring fuel costs.

"The numbers are even more than what they announced three weeks ago and it just seems we are definitely taking the biggest hit of the groups," said Nick Beveridge, vice-president components of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

CUPE was informed of the cuts in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax on Wednesday during a meeting in Toronto.

The move comes after Air Canada announced plans to cut its capacity by seven per cent and lay off up to 2,000 of its 28,000 employees. Its regional feeder Jazz Air (TSX:JAZ.UN) responded by cutting 270 jobs, although it hasn't yet announced any specific layoffs.

The union representing Air Canada machinists said that 600 of its members at airports across the country and another 50 working in cargo operations will be affected by the Nov. 1 job cuts. About 400 ticketing, call-centre and airport-reservations jobs will also be affected, said CAW Local 2002.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 06:21 AM   #771
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Air Canada aims to boost revenues with Continental partnership
24 July 2008
The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) expects to boost its access to the heavily populated New York area and gain much-needed revenues to offset rising fuel costs by partnering with Continental Airlines, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier.

Canada's largest airline announced Thursday it has signed an agreement in principle that will provide customers a broader network of destinations, frequent flyer benefits and lounge access.

Air Canada already has an agreement with United Airlines, which is a fellow Star Alliance partner and whose routes don't overlap Continental's. Continental (NYSE:CAL) announced in June that it also plans to join the alliance after exiting its current partnership with Sky Team.

``You put the three networks together and it's probably the best in North America so it gives our customer base the best network that you can get in North America, by far,'' Ben Smith, Air Canada's chief commercial officer, said in an interview.

Under the new partnership, Canadian travellers will have access to more destinations in the eastern United States, through Continental's hubs in Newark, N.J., and Cleveland Enhanced access to the southern United States, Mexico and Central America will be directed through its Houston hub.

The Canadian airline, which has announced plans to cut its capacity by seven per cent and lay off up to 2,000 of its 28,000 employees, said the deal isn't designed to allow it to cut the number of direct flights to the United States.

``Our intention is through the partnership to expand our presence and expand our revenue base. That is the experience with most of our partners,'' Smith said.

Canadians heading to the United States, particularly business travellers stopping in New York, will be able to then proceed to other destinations using the advantages of the Star Alliance network, including the collection and redemption of frequent flyer miles.

Continental provides 3,100 flights a day to more than 280 U.S. and international destinations. It has more than 45,000 employees.

Last month, Continental said it would cut 3,000 jobs or roughly 6.5 per cent of its workforce and reduce capacity.

Continental said it will begin pulling back on flights in September, when departures on its mainline operations will drop about 16 per cent below September 2007 levels. Fourth-quarter capacity will fall 11 per cent.

Air Canada expects more revenue and cost efficiencies through a code-sharing arrangement by attracting U.S. customers that fly Continental and gaining improved access to the lucrative New York market.

Air Canada flies primarily into New York's La Guardia airport. It has two daily flights into JFK and recently introduced service to Newark from Calgary.

The airline will be able to piggy-back off the buying and sales power of the New York City area's largest carrier, Smith added.

``For me to get the attention of the American market now I've got to spend a fortune. If I partner with somebody who is already big there I don't have to spend that much.''

The benefits also apply to Continental's other hubs. Air Canada has no plans to boost its three daily flights between the oil centres of Calgary and Houston, although the size of planes may increase, Smith said.

Versant Partners analyst Cam Doerksen said the agreement with Continental was an expected result of the U.S. carrier's desire to join the Star Alliance.

``Continental has an extensive network in Central America and other parts of the U.S. where perhaps United doesn't have the same type of coverage so I just think it opens more opportunities for Canadian travellers to fly to more destinations,'' he said in an interview.

It may take up to a year before consumers realize the full benefits of this partnership. Continental can't terminate its contract with Sky Team until nine months after the closing of the proposed merger between Delta and Northwest.

While the partnership with Continental is not predicated on the airline joining the Star Alliance, Smith said it's too soon to determine if consumers will benefit before that happens.

``I would speculate that there are some minor things that we will do before they join Star.''

Air Canada has also signed a framework agreement with Continental, United Airlines and Lufthansa to create a transatlantic joint venture to provide service to Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East.

It will replace a decade-old bilateral deal with the German carrier.

``The four of us want to work together as a team and we think that together we can really capture a larger share of the market,'' Smith said.

Tom Varesh of Canaccord Adams said the real benefit of the deal is predicated on attracting passenger traffic than on cost savings.

``It's filling the planes and getting a cut of the ticket price that you normally wouldn't have,'' he said.

Low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and WestJet (TSX:WJA) recently concluded a similar code-share agreement.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Air Canada shares closed down 18 cents or 3.37 per cent to $5.16 on Thursday. The shares have fallen by more than 60 per cent in the past year.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 06:24 AM   #772
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WestJet grounds credit-card kiosks
Self-serve payment method disabled while police probe possible fraud

Canwest News Service
24 July 2008

Spurred by concerns over credit-card fraud, WestJet Airlines said Wednesday it will no longer allow travellers to use credit cards to check in at self-serve kiosks across the country.

The decision to disable the credit-card readers at self-serve kiosks at Canadian airports will happen "as soon as possible," said Gillian Bentley, a spokeswoman for Calgary-based WestJet.

Customers will still be able to check themselves in at airports using their reservation number, address or frequent-flyer number, or online prior to arriving for their flights.

The decision comes as 150 of the self-service kiosks at Toronto's Pearson International Airport are at the centre of a financial institution's investigation of credit-card fraud. It is feared the security features of the kiosks at Canada's largest airport may have been compromised and that sensitive information may have fallen into the wrong hands.

The RCMP says it has launched its own investigation into the matter.

The office of the Privacy Commission of Canada also says it is monitoring the police investigation.

"Of course this is something that we're concerned about," said commission spokeswoman Anne-Marie Hayden. "It's a complex issue and there are questions around jurisdiction that we're looking at.

"We haven't at this time initiated an official investigation but we are communicating with the organization. We are monitoring this issue very closely. We're also working hard to determine our next steps."

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority owns and maintains the 150 machines under investigation and the network to which they connect. The authority performed its own investigation and says the machines appear to be working safely, without any problems, said spokesman Scott Armstrong.

The authority owns the physical aspects of the devices, such as the hardware and "everything inside the box," but the software that runs the machines is managed by outside companies, said Armstrong.

"Our part of the equation, which is the physical kiosks and the interface with the software, has been checked and audited and everything there is fine," Armstrong said.

Visa was not immediately available for comment, but Armstrong said the credit-card company has launched a fraud investigation.

A spokesperson at MasterCard Canada said they were also involved in investigations and were "aware" of fraudulent activity.

"We are aware of some fraud activity occurring and are following our detailed protocols for investigation, including

co-operating with law enforcement and others involved in the investigation," said Jennifer Reed, spokeswoman at MasterCard Canada.

Despite the investigations, people flying with companies other than WestJet can continue to use credit cards to check in at the terminals, Armstrong said.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 02:19 AM   #773
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this seems to have been missed in here

Southwest, WestJet sign code-sharing pact

Southwest Airlines Co., which has been looking for a partner to take its passengers internationally, said Tuesday it had reached agreement with Canadian carrier WestJet Airlines Ltd. to exchange passengers.

The two carriers said they have signed a memorandum of understanding with the intent to begin putting their codes on each other's flights and selling tickets on each other's flights by late 2009.

"A company's dedication to culture and customer service are very high on our priority list when considering a relationship of any kind," Southwest chairman and chief executive Gary Kelly said.

"We are confident that we've found a perfect fit with WestJet, and we are excited to work toward opening our expansive U.S. network to include Canadian destinations," Mr. Kelly said.

It will be Southwest's first international code-sharing since a brief relationship with Icelandair in the 1990s.

Southwest has been updating and expanding its computer technology to allow it to handle international passengers, first with code-sharing partners and eventually by itself.

It had intended to work with ATA Airlines Inc., an Indianapolis-based carrier that flew to a number of Mexican and Caribbean destinations.

However, ATA filed for bankruptcy and shut down its operations earlier this year, leaving Southwest without a code-share partner at all.

WestJet, based in Calgary, Alberta, began service in 1996 with the same basic low-fare, low-cost strategy as Southwest.

Like Southwest, it flies only Boeing 737 aircraft and stresses point-to-point flying rather than connections.

WestJet flies to 49 cities in North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Among its destinations is Hawaii, a prime location for frequent-flier ticket awards.

However, Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King stressed that Southwest was entering into the agreement to give Southwest's customers access to WestJet's Canadian cities.

WestJet flies to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and the Florida cities of Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, all of which are served by Southwest, plus two U.S. cities not served by Southwest – Newark, N.J., and Palm Springs, Calif.

Ms. King said Southwest continues to talk to other potential code-sharing partners about taking Southwest customers to Mexico and the Caribbean.

She said that before the Southwest-WestJet code-sharing begins, Southwest will begin selling WestJet-only tickets on the Southwest.com Web site.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...1.4dd5531.html
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Old July 28th, 2008, 02:22 AM   #774
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 05:58 AM   #775
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WestJet ratchets up rivalry
31 July 2008
The Globe and Mail

WestJet Airlines Ltd. will be launching an aggressive campaign tomorrow to promote its ticket values as superior to rival Air Canada's despite fares that are often the same on major routes, intensifying the fight for consumers amid weakening travel demand.

WestJet wants to call attention to the “value proposition” built into its tickets by drawing comparisons between itself and others – a thinly veiled dig at Air Canada, which won't be named in advertising that will include billboards, newspapers, television and websites.

The new campaign is tamer than the slug-it-out Cola Wars between Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. during the 1980s and 1990s, but offers a good taste of the airlines' fierce rivalry. WestJet's move is in sharp contrast to its traditional inward focus on advertising, such as the popular TV commercials that highlight how most employees (called WestJetters) are also “owners” because they have shares in the Calgary-based carrier.

WestJet now hopes to distinguish itself by emphasizing that even though its prices may tend to be the same as Air Canada's lowest-fare Tango category, certain WestJet services are either free or cost less than they do at its larger, Montreal-based rival.

For instance, a billboard ad will point out that WestJet allows two free check-in bags and there's no charge for its call centre bookings. By contrast, Air Canada has a $25 levy for the second check-in bag for Tango and Tango Plus fares in North America, and it charges $25 to make a reservation by telephone.

WestJet's comparison list is long as it touts lower fees to change or cancel flights, and it also promotes lower levies for everything from overweight luggage to transporting pets.

Executives at WestJet say that they're merely pointing out the advantages of their tickets, playing down any suggestions of attacking their rival because Air Canada isn't mentioned by name.

“We are a value provider, and I don't think people realize how much value is in one of our fares,” WestJet chief executive officer Sean Durfy said in an interview, after the carrier announced that second-quarter profit jumped 162 per cent to $30.2-million. Excluding writedowns last year related to a computer reservations system, the latest operating profit slipped 10.4 per cent.

Mr. Durfy cautioned that travel demand is tapering off amid high fuel prices, as consumers see rising costs in other areas of their lives while their wages barely keep pace with inflation. Still, he expects WestJet to continue on its expansion path and increase seat capacity, helped by a bustling economy in Western Canada.

“Consumers are looking for value, and we have great value versus our competitors.”

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick stressed “many factors go into a traveller's purchasing decision, as shown by the fact half of our domestic customers willingly pay more than they need to and buy value-added Tango Plus, Latitude and Executive fares.”

Earlier this month, WestJet began hedging its fuel needs after largely ignoring such contracts during the past five years. The hedges are for 38 per cent of its forecast fuel requirements for the third quarter, at an average of $136 (U.S.) a barrel.

Airline executives say they aren't speculating but trying to smooth out peaks and valleys in “energy risk management” for the busy third-quarter travel season.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #776
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Air Canada profit drops on fuel cost turbulence

TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Air Canada reported a lower second-quarter profit on Friday, hurt in part by rising fuel costs.

Air Canada, which said recently it was chopping jobs and capacity to deal with the surging fuel costs, earned C$122 million ($114.8 million), or C$1.22 a share, down from a year-earlier profit of C$155 million, or C$1.55 a share.

The airline company said this year's second quarter included net gains on financial instruments recorded at fair value of C$176 million and net gains on foreign currency monetary items of C$48 million.

Adjusted earnings, which removes gains on capital assets of C$5 million and gains on foreign exchange of C$37 million were 80 Canadian cents a share.

Operating revenue was C$2.78 billion, up 5.4 percent from C$2.64 billion for the same time last year.

The company said its results were hurt in part by C$212 million increase in fuel costs during the quarter.

Oil averaged nearly $124 a barrel in the quarter, 90 percent higher than a year earlier.

Air Canada has said it plans to cut 2,000 jobs and reduce its capacity by 7 percent in its fall and winter schedules to cope with sky-high fuel prices.

The moves are against a backdrop of financial woes throughout the airline industry, which is also struggling with slack travel demand amid a weakening economy, especially in the United States.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #777
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Insist Jazz life vests stay, minister urged
Opposition MP calls on federal government to intervene in airline's 'asinine' cost-cutting move

26 August 2008
The Toronto Star

The decision by Jazz airlines to remove life vests from its fleet of planes has been called "asinine" by an East Coast MP, who has asked the federal government to force the carrier to reinstate the vests.

"The reality is you don't compromise safety to cut down on fuel. You just don't do that," said Peter Stoffer, NDP member for Sackville-Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia.

"I think that's a mistake and we've written to (Transport Minister) Lawrence Cannon asking him to not allow Jazz airlines to get away with this."

The carrier, Air Canada's regional affiliate, recently removed life vests from its planes - including those that fly over water - to reduce fuel burn and save money. Transport Canada regulations allow carriers flying within 50 nautical miles of shore to use flotation devices instead of vests. Safety cards in seat pockets will direct passengers to use the seat cushions, which float.

The vests have saved lives in a number of small plane and helicopter crashes, says a spokesperson for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents.

In future, there's no telling what charges may face passengers, as soaring fuel prices force airlines to find ways to recoup the costs.

"Life vests are just part of about 150 things the airline will have looked at," says airline fuel expert Bob Kelland.

Kelland's B.C.-based company consults with carriers around the world, advising them on how to save fuel and meet emission standards, which take effect in the European Union in 2011.

A reduction of even half or 1 per cent of operating costs is substantial for airlines, which spend an average of $1 billion a year on fuel, he says. In future, carriers may reduce weight by carrying less drinking water and getting rid of duty free carts and even magazines.

"You'd be surprised what an airline has in its catering trays that will never get consumed, such as alcohol," says Kelland. Initiatives airlines might take include:

Reducing use of auxiliary power units (APU): The APU is a jet fuel power generator that operates when the plane is on the ground to run air conditioning and electrical systems. It's 30 times more expensive than ground power and it costs an average-sized airline $40 million to $60 million a year. Ground power could be used at the gate.

Carrying less fuel: Planes often carry too much fuel, because pilots have the right to upload discretionary fuel at point of departure.

Removing humidity: Planes carry anywhere from 100 to 500 kilograms of humidity, trapped in insulation blankets in the roof and the rest of aircraft. Dryers could be used to reduce it.

Taxiing with one engine: Using one engine to taxi in or out while on the ground. It's used sporadically, but can save another $10 million in fuel costs.

"The regulator and the airline industry need to get together and work co-operatively to amend the various regulations that create inefficient routes and cause airlines to stay in the air longer than they need to," says Kelland. "That's where you're going to see bigger bang for your buck than what an airline might choose to do, such as eliminate life jackets. This is really the crux of the matter... (and until then) you will see inherent structural inefficiencies that we will all continue to pay for."
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Old September 10th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #778
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Internet to take to skies with Air Canada
10 September 2008
The Globe and Mail

Travellers will be able to click their way onto Air Canada's new WiFi service next spring as the carrier teams with Aircell LLC to install a mobile network.

The Montreal-based airline will start with two 120-seat Airbus A319s, charging $12.95 plus tax for each passenger who connects wirelessly to the Internet while flying between Toronto and two destinations in California – Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Air Canada then plans to gradually roll out Aircell's “Gogo” system across its fleet in North America.

At first, the connection between the aircraft and ground-based cellphone towers will only work in U.S. airspace, but subject to regulatory approval from Ottawa, Air Canada expects to have the service in place for domestic flights, too.

“This is going to get really large acceptance from customers,” Air Canada's marketing vice-president Charles McKee said in an interview yesterday.

WiFi-enabled laptops and personal electronic devices such as BlackBerrys will work aboard planes, with the longer-term goal of routing signals to seatback TV screens, allowing customers to plug a keyboard into USB ports to gain in-flight access, he said.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. spokesman Richard Bartrem said yesterday that the Calgary-based carrier “is looking at all options for on-board Internet but has not made a commitment as of yet.”

While Air Canada claims bragging rights as first out of the gate in Canada, he said WestJet needs to “ensure that the product works on numerous devices, represents good value for our guests and provides sufficient speed.”

Last month, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. unveiled ambitious plans with Aircell to launch their system for wireless devices this fall, aiming for completion by the summer of 2009. Other carriers embracing WiFi include American Airlines and Virgin America.

Mr. McKee emphasized Air Canada won't be enabling “cellphone voice usage,” arguing that the cabin in the sky is one the “last bastions of solitude” away from being bombarded by cell conversations in everyday life.

Although Aircell's service is only available in the continental U.S., the company is working with regulators on establishing a similar network in Canada. First, however, it needs to prove there is sufficient demand, said Joe Herzog, Aircell's vice-president of airline solutions.

“We would like to partner with Canadian companies to create a domestic Canadian network to provide service for all airlines that will be flying through Canadian space,” he said. “People are taking note and people are recognizing it is important for Canada to offer these services.”

Aircell secured a dedicated slice of wireless spectrum to transmit air-to-ground data after winning a U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction for $32-million (U.S.) in 2006. Because the company cannot legally own Canadian spectrum for the same purpose, it would need to find a domestic partner that would be able to secure the licence, something the company is working on, he said.

The U.S. carriers Aircell is currently working with have opted to block access to voice over Internet telephony services such as Skype, but the airlines have asked the company not to restrict users' ability to surf the rest of the Web, including pornography. “They have chosen to let social pressure become the police, if you will,” Mr. Herzog said.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:29 AM   #779
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Jazz Air Sees Potential For Growth, Intl Expansion
10 September 2008

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--Regional airline Jazz has some big growth plans now that it no longer has ties to ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T), its chief executive said Wednesday.

"We are in a very, very good position to grow from here," Joe Randell told a transportation conference.

ACE Aviation Holdings, parent company to Air Canada (AC.B.T) sold its remaining stakes in Jazz Air Income Fund (JAZ.UN.T), which operates the airline, and Aeroplan Income Fund earlier this year. Aeroplan Income Fund later became Groupe Aeroplan Inc. (AER).

Now that it is a stand-alone company, Jazz has no restrictions on the size of aircraft it can operate, nor where or how it can operate. While Air Canada remains its largest customer, where under a Capacity Purchase Agreement Jazz must operate 133 aircraft, it's no longer its only customer, Randell said.

He noted that Jazz has managed to triple its charter business since June, and is looking for wet-lease opportunities offshore, under which it would provide aircraft and crews for other airlines. It is also looking at strategic partners outside Canada.

Randell said the airline could also take advantages of any opportunities that may arise because of the economic downturn in North America, adding that Jazz is "focused on opportunities that are close to home."

Under its deal with Air Canada, Jazz flies small turboprops and jets with a maximum of 75 seats.

It has long been rumored as a potential customer for Bombardier Inc.'s (BBD.B.T) 70-seat Q400 turboprop. The aircraft manufacturer is also studying the potential for a 100-seat version of that popular plane.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #780
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Jet fuel costs burn Transat's Q3 earnings
11 September 2008
National Post

The high cost of jet fuel burned up earnings at Transat A. T. Inc. in the third quarter despite a rise in revenue and end to bad investment writedowns, the packaged-holiday operator said yesterday.

Canada's largest charter tour operator said still-high fuel costs were largely to blame for an operating loss of $2.4-million, or 7¢ a share, in the quarter ended July 31, compared with a profit of $16.1-million in the same period last year.

The results were dismal compared to analysts' expectations. The consensus view was for net earnings in excess of 21¢ a share in anticipation that charges related to sour asset-backed commercial paper investments the company was forced to take in previous quarters were behind Transat.

The writedowns were, but costs still weighed in the quarter, the Montreal-based company said. "Oil prices have diminished since the end of the quarter, but still, they have quickly reached unprecedented levels and remain very high," said Jean-Marc Eustache, chief executive of Transat. "Under these circumstances, price increases and hedging can merely limit the negative impact of this situation."

In a call with analysts yesterday, Transat said its fuel bill ballooned by $30-million as its average price per litre of fuel jumped 41% in the quarter despite the company having hedged over 70% of its supply.

Moreover, Transat's operating margin fell to $12.8-million from $25.9-million in the same period last year, mainly because "Canadian tour operators having difficulty immediately incorporating the full value of fuel price increases into selling prices."

The latest loss comes even as third-quarter revenue rose 16% to $859.9-million as the company raised packaged-holiday prices and saw increased traffic from its European operations.

Passenger growth in subsidiary operators in France and the United Kingdom grew by 20% in the quarter, the company said. "The business environment is demanding.... That said, people continue to travel in Canada and Europe," Mr. Eustache said.

However, intense competition and pressure from fuel prices will continue to plague Transat heading into the pivotal winter season, said analyst Cameron Doerksen of Versant Partners yesterday.
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