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Old February 25th, 2005, 07:14 AM   #61
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Air Canada Urges Governments to Modernize 1995 Canada-U.S. Open Skies Agreement
24 February 2005


Air Canada today urged the Canadian and U.S. governments to accelerate plans to modernize the 1995 Canada-U.S. Open Skies Agreement by progressively removing restrictions in order to create a fully integrated common air transport market in North America.

"We are encouraged by Minister LaPierre and Secretary Mineta's commitment to renewed discussion to modernize the 1995 agreement," said Robert Milton, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc.

"It is time for Canada and the U.S. to take the necessary steps to build on the successes of the 1995 Open Skies Agreement by moving to an unrestricted, single aviation market that will generate more choices for consumers and create a healthier North American airline industry. The 1995 agreement was a great start, but it is quickly becoming outdated and if left unattended, risks being entirely out of step with current market realities and airline policy in competing jurisdictions.

"In recent years, we have seen unprecedented upheaval in the airline sector. International alliances have grown in importance, security and transit issues remain top of mind, the U.S. and the EU have entered into full-fledged Open Skies negotiations and legacy carriers throughout the world are going through difficult and lengthy restructurings. North American carriers are taking aggressive steps to become more efficient and to reduce costs but need policies that will support the long-term health of the sector.

"This past 10 years has shown us that the liberalization of air policy between our two countries has been a resounding success for consumers and for carriers, unleashing impressive growth opportunities in the Canada-US air travel market on both sides of the border. In fact, prior to the 1995 Agreement, Air Canada served only nine mainline and five regional carrier scheduled destinations in the U.S. Today Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and its commercial partners operate more than 385 non-stop flights per day on 79 routes to and from 49 U.S. and 6 Canadian points.

"We must not lose the momentum we have worked so hard to achieve through the 1995 agreement. We look forward to getting back to the table with our largest trading and aviation partner to develop the Open Skies Agreement our two countries deserve."
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Old February 27th, 2005, 08:31 AM   #62
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[bAir Canada union to fight Jazz plan[/b]
WebPosted Feb 25 2005 05:17 PM AST
CBC News

FREDERICTON — Changes in Air Canada's regional service could lead to a fight with its unionized employees in New Brunswick.

A division of the airline called Air Canada Jazz is taking over all of the operations in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.

Air Canada says passengers won't see much difference. The same planes will be used and there won't be a change in the schedule, except in Moncton where a new flight to Montreal is being added.

But Air Canada workers in New Brunswick will be affected by the plan.

An airline official says they'll have three options: transfer to other locations at the company's expense, accept a severance package, or seek employment with Jazz.

Sari Sairanen, a union representative for customer sales and service agents, says Air Canada made the move without consulting the employees.

In addition to that, Sairanen says their current collective agreement allows the agents to stay where they are.

"According to the employer it's going to change," said Sairanen. "We're saying, no it's not. We're going to have a fight on our hands."

Sairanen says the union will be discussing the Jazz announcement with its members over the next few days.

She didn't know how many employees in the Maritimes would be affected.

An official with Air Canada Jazz says it plans to hire more than 100 new airport employees to support operations at nine airports across the country.

But the number of positions for each location hasn't been identified yet.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #63
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Premier worried about changes to Air Canada flights

Broadcast News
Friday, February 25, 2005


SASKATOON - Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert is concerned about what the changes at Air Canada will mean for his province.

Effective October 1st, Saskatchewan will be dropped from Air Canada's mainline route system.

The move will leave Regina and Saskatoon served by Jazz, the airline's regional service.

Calvert says that, if the move means fewer direct flights to larger centres, it could have an economic impact on Saskatchewan.

Air Canada says customers will get faster jet service to destinations such as Calgary and Winnipeg, which now use Jazz Dash-8 turboprops.

Saskatoon will have 300 guaranteed seats each day to Toronto on four flights when Jazz begins flying the new 75-seat Bombardier aircraft.

Regina will have three direct flights to Toronto.
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Old February 28th, 2005, 10:45 AM   #64
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Air Canada leaving P.E.I.
Last Updated Feb 25 2005 04:08 PM AST
CBC News


CHARLOTTETOWN – Air Canada is ending service to Charlottetown on May 3, moving flights to its Jazz regional carrier, and leaving 26 employees with an uncertain future.

According to the airline, Jazz service to Charlottetown will be increased, with two new flights being added. Smaller planes will make three daily flights to Montreal and two daily flights to Toronto.

At the Charlottetown airport 26 employees will be affected by the changes, but Charlottetown is not alone in losing the main airline. Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, Quebec City and Thunder Bay will lose Air Canada service in May.

Regina, Saskatoon and Whitehorse will have Jazz-only service starting in October.

The change affects 330 jobs across Canada
Air Canada spokesperson Laura Cooke said the move would affect 330 employees, but said that didn't necessarily mean 330 layoffs. She said some employees could opt to transfer to other airports at the airline's expense. Others might be able to bump lower seniority employees at the main carrier. Others could take a severance package.

No pilots or flight attendants are on the list.

Air Canada promises 'seamless' transition

"An expanded Air Canada Jazz regional jet fleet will allow us to realign our network to ensure that we deploy the right aircraft type to meet travel demand in each market we serve," said Air Canada vice president Ben Smith in a release.

When Air Canada was in creditor protection, it negotiated agreements with unions to allow for the transfer of capacity to Jazz.

"The realignment of Air Canada's domestic network is a key component in its business plan," said Air Canada Jazz CEO Joseph Randall.

"This change increases the efficiency and strengths of the North American network while Air Canada pursues new international opportunities," he said.

Air Canada said the transition to exclusively Air Canada Jazz operations in the nine cities would be "seamless to customers."
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Old February 28th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #65
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Air Canada's Jazz Spreading Its Wings In New Role
By Monica Gutschi
28 February 2005

HALIFAX, N.S. (Dow Jones)--For more and more communities across Canada, regional airline Jazz will become their main - if not only - air link to the rest of the world.

Jazz is moving to fill the gap left by sister company Air Canada, which is slowly reducing its domestic capacity. Air Canada, the country's dominant carrier, emerged from bankruptcy protection last fall with a new focus on transcontinental and international routes.

As Air Canada's new strategy evolves, "we are becoming a far more relevant part of that plan and a more critical part of that plan," says Jazz's chief executive Joe Randell.

Only last week, Air Canada announced it would eliminate service to nine mid-sized cities by the end of the year, leaving Jazz to provide them with air connections using its growing fleet of regional jets. The cities include such regional centers as Quebec City, Regina, Sask., Moncton, N.B., and Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory.

The move cuts 330 jobs from Air Canada, many of which will be transferred to Jazz - albeit at lower rates.

As part of the comprehensive restructuring undergone at Air Canada during its 18 months in creditor protection, wage scales and working conditions at Jazz were renegotiated in much the same way as they were at the larger carrier. But there were key differences in the partnership forged between the sister airlines by the newly formed parent company Ace Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T).

Jazz was assigned to operate the company's smaller aircraft - its Dash 8 turboprops and its CRJ regional jets - none of which seat more than 75 passengers. Pilots and crews who fly those aircraft are paid at a correspondingly lower scales.

Air Canada will operate the fleet of wide-bodied aircraft and the company's larger regional jets built by Brazil's Embraer S.A. (ERJ) that seat up to 100 passengers.

Most importantly, Jazz moved to a capacity-purchase agreement with Air Canada from a prorated revenue system. Under the new deal, Jazz supplies capacity to the larger airline for a set price, with Air Canada determining the routes and frequencies. Previously, Jazz collected revenue from the routes it flew, and thus assumed the implied risks if load factors declined.

The new deal "is a far more disciplined approach in terms of the business arrangement," Randell says, and closely mimicks the partnerships between U.S. regional carriers and the larger legacy airlines.

Like the U.S. regional carriers, Jazz is also free to fly for any other airline. However, Canada's air market is so small it's unlikely to work with Air Canada's direct competitors, such as WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) or Jetsgo. "There are opportunities for us, but they are limited," Randell says. That may change if Canada and the U.S. sign a new "Open Skies" agreement, allowing Jazz to bid on transborder routes for U.S. carriers. For now, though, Jazz's principal work, aside from supplying Air Canada, is flying resource-related charters.

"Within the market niche that we serve, we are the most competitive (in terms of costs)," Randell says. "We're feeling pretty good about that."

New Fleet Opens New North American Markets

It's a long way to have come in just the few years that Jazz has existed after being forged from a hodgepodge of smaller regional airlines. When the former Air Canada Regional Inc. was created in 2001 from an amalgamation of AirBC, Air Nova, Air Ontario and Canadian Regional, it had five aircraft types and 24 union agreements. Antitrust regulations limited layoffs, base closings and service reductions.

A fully merged, if cumbersome, and renamed airline, Jazz was finally launched in early 2002 - only months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks devastated the North American air industry. Then, when the Iraq war and the SARS viral outbreak further battered Air Canada, Jazz was dragged into the bankruptcy process and forced to restructure the operations and working arrangements just completed.

Now, Jazz has five labor deals and its fleet comprises only two aircraft types: Dash 8 turboprops and the regional jets built by Canada's Bombardier Inc.

Meanwhile, after years of shrinking, Randell says Jazz is now in a phase of "dramatic" expansion.

The company has 3,400 employees and is hiring more; it operates 553 daily flights and is increasing frequencies out of Toronto and in western Canada; it carries about 5.5 million passengers a year and has annual operating revenue of about C$800 million.

In addition, Air Canada is transferring 25 of its existing 50-seat CRJ200s to Jazz, and the smaller airline has ordered 15 of the new, larger CRJ705s to be delivered this year. Fifteen more are to be delivered next year.

Those planes will replace many of its aging BA146 aircraft, with Jazz expected to have a fleet of 125 planes by the end of 2007, compared to 96 now.

With the expanded regional jet fleet - including the longer-range CRJ705s - Randell says Jazz will have a unique market niche in Canada. "We can offer more frequencies with smaller airplanes," he says, making it an ideal choice for commuter routes between large urban centers. As well, it can provide Air Canada with lower-cost capacity on longer-haul routes where the market is small, but key - Calgary to Houston, as an example. It will also continue to serve more remote communities with its smaller turboprops, and offer more frequent service to the country's mid-sized centers. "We can go anywhere where that (smaller-sized) equipment makes sense," Randell says.

And all of those routes will feed into Air Canada's huge international network, giving Jazz an important role to play in the larger airline's transformation.

Air Canada's jumbo A340 flying between Toronto and New Delhi, "will need more than just people from Toronto" to fill its 282 seats, Randell points out. "Hopefully, we'll see even more services and more opportunities as Air Canada grows its international network."
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Old March 1st, 2005, 04:35 PM   #66
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Air Canada rules called 'ridiculous'
Minister firm on coming legislation; Companies created by restructuring must be bilingual, stay in Montreal

NICOLAS VAN PRAET
The Gazette

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Canada's transport minister said yesterday the Liberal government will introduce a bill within days requiring the companies created by Air Canada's restructuring to remain bilingual and keep their headquarters in Montreal.

Jean Lapierre said legislation is imminent requiring the airline's holding company and its units to fulfill the two requirements, first imposed on Air Canada as a condition of its privatization in 1989.

Air Canada said yesterday only that it intends to comply.

"Air Canada will remain bilingual and will stay in Montreal," airline spokesperson Isabelle Arthur said.

In the past, the company's executives have been more vocal, saying their domestic competitors should also be subject to the same language requirements. They argued being bilingual costs money and represents an obligation rivals don't have.

One analyst took up that position yesterday, adding he believes that if and when any of Air Canada's units are sold, the law could make finding potential buyers more difficult.

"It's a totally useless legislation," said Jacques Kavafian, who researches the aviation sector for Research Capital Corp.

"It's ridiculous to basically tie one guy's hands behind his back and then say: 'Well, go ahead and compete.' "

The Air Canada bill fulfills a promise the Liberals made during the last election campaign.

The issue exploded after Conservative leader Stephen Harper's office wrote a letter saying a Tory government would scrap the law obliging Air Canada to offer services in English and French and keep its head office in Montreal.

Lapierre and other prominent Liberals then staged a news conference outside Air Canada headquarters and promised to uphold the law.

The Liberals say new legislation was made necessary by Air Canada's successful bankruptcy restructuring, which split the company into several business segments, each existing as separate legal entities. ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. is the parent holding company under which other units like Air Canada and Aeroplan operate.

"The status quo has to be maintained, no matter what the structure," Lapierre said yesterday after a speech to the Montreal Board of Trade.

"Everything that was subject to the Official Languages law before has to remain subject to it now."

Separately, the minister also said his government wants to ease restrictions on air transport between Canada and European Union nations and possibly India. He gave no time frame for any negotiations.

Lapierre and U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said last week Canada and the U.S. will begin talks on a more liberal open-skies agreement between the two countries. Under the current agreement, airlines from either country are free to fly to cities in the other country, but not between those cities.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 05:18 PM   #67
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Feds work to keep AirCan bilingual New legislation in works to 'preserve' status quo, says transport minister
Canadian Press
01 March 2005

Nelson Wyatt MONTREAL -- The federal government is working on legislation to keep companies created by Air Canada's restructuring bilingual and their head offices in Montreal, Transport Minister Jean Lapierre said yesterday.

"We want to preserve the status quo on Air Canada," he said at a news conference after addressing a business luncheon.

Lapierre said the legislation, called the Air Canada Public Participation Act, will be ready soon but did not specify a time frame.

He also did not elaborate on its contents, saying, "When the bill is ready, we'll have all those technical details."

Lapierre's comments came as Air Canada transferred some mainline routes to its Jazz regional carrier starting with the summer schedule.

The airline said last week the realignment will allow Jazz to add non-stop flights and replace some turboprop aircraft with jets.

The transfer of regional jets to Jazz is part of agreements with unions reached during Air Canada's restructuring while under bankruptcy protection.

Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection last September after most of its debt was erased and shareholders lost all their investment.

Besides separate companies such as Air Canada Jazz and Aeroplan, Air Canada has created Air Canada Technical Services, Air Canada Cargo and Air Canada Groundhandling as separate entities as part of its restructuring.

Lapierre said yesterday the carrier's structure "has the air of a Christmas tree" and noted the main airline is "not a little box" in an elaborate structure.

Air Canada has said it plans to continue offering bilingual service because it's good business sense but has pointed out that operating in two languages is an expensive obligation its competitors don't have.

Lapierre didn't leave any doubts about his Liberal government's position on the issue.

"The principle of status quo -- period -- this is what's going to be respected," he said.

He said the government had been working on the bill since the election last June.

"I'm ready to table it as soon as possible."

In his speech, Lapierre reiterated his support for negotiations on a new "open skies" treaty between Canada and the United States.

Under the proposal, Canadians could use U.S. carriers to fly between Canadian cities within a few years and U.S. domestic air routes could be open to Canadian airlines.

"I call it open skies with open eyes," he said. "I believe Air Canada and WestJet and all the other companies are ready for the American market. They want to be part of this new global environment.

"We're not looking only at the States. We're looking at having open skies agreements with States, with the European Union, possibly with India and also I'm going down to China to try to also enlarge our deal with China because the potential there is great."
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 06:12 AM   #68
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Air Canada Flight Attendants Question Uniforms
Josh Pringle
Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Air Canada flight attendants have filed a grievance over the new blue uniforms.

Celine Dion unveiled the new uniforms last fall when the airline emerged from bankruptcy protection.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees believes the airline is being too quick with its fashion judgement and wants more time to consider whether the look is right for flight attendants.

The airline says it wants to project an image of modern sophistication for passengers with its new blue uniforms to replace the old green and red scheme.

By April, Air Canada wants staff to start wearing the uniforms on selected flights.
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 06:41 AM   #69
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I read that in Globe and Mail today. Personally, I like the current one (old one).
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Old March 4th, 2005, 01:14 AM   #70
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Air Canada flies fuller planes in February

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 3 (Reuters) - Air Canada flew fuller planes in February compared with a year ago, the country's major carrier said on Thursday.

Montreal-based Air Canada said its February traffic, measured by revenue passenger miles, rose 1.6 percent on a 5.2 percent decrease in capacity from a year ago.

Its passenger load factor, which gauges the average number of seats sold as a proportion of those available, rose 5.3 percentage points year-over-year to 77.9 percent - its highest ever for the month of February.

Air Canada, which is the operating arm of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. , said that February was its 11th consecutive record month for its load factor.

The airline emerged from 18 months of bankruptcy protection in September, armed with a lighter debt load, 10,000 fewer workers and pared back aircraft capacity.

Domestic Air Canada competitor WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.TO) said earlier on Thursday that it filled almost 73 percent of its available seats in February, up from 67.4 percent a year ago.

ACE Aviation's restricted voting shares fell 43 Canadian cents to C$31.77 on the the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. WestJet's rose 6 Canadian cents to C$10.91.

($1=$1.24 Canadian)
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Old March 4th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #71
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Air Canada expands online ticket service to include international flights
4 March 2005
National Post

Air Canada is expanding its online check-in service to include international flights. Beginning today, passengers flying to the United States or overseas can check-in and print their boarding passes from their home computers using Air Canada's Web site. The service, introduced last year for domestic flights, is an attempt to reduce long line-ups at airport ticket counters. Air Canada said it is planning to expand further the online check-in service to international flights bound for Canada. However, passengers travelling with luggage must still check their bags at airport ticket counters or at one of the airline's express baggage drop-offs.
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Old March 6th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #72
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London airport worker jailed for smuggling migrants into Canada

LONDON, March 4 (AFP) - An airport check-in clerk at London's main Heathrow airport was sent to prison for a year on Friday for helping to smuggle people into Canada.

Kulbinder Singh, 42, a mother of four who worked for Air Canada, turned a blind eye when illegal Asian immigrants from Britain boarded flights with fake passports.

"You were employed to check documents, a very important security measure in this day and age. You took money to do the opposite," said judge Richard Hayward at London's Old Bailey court.

He said Singh, from Hayes in west London, would have been jailed for longer had it not been for her family circumstances.

She was found guilty in January of conspiracy to obtain services by deception and remanded for sentence.

Fish-and-chip shop owner Omjeet Sidhu, 44, of Leicester in central England, was jailed for two years after being said to be one of the leaders of the conspiracy.

The judge told him: "It was done to evade this country's immigration laws which are already under considerable pressure."

Sidhu admitted the offence along with taxi company manager Deepak Bindra, 34, also of Leicester, who was jailed for 16 months for helping on two occasions.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 06:21 PM   #73
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Speculation Grows That ACE Aviation To Sell Aeroplan
By Monica Gutschi
07 March 2005

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--A growing number of observers believes ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. (ACE.B.T) is set to sell its Aeroplan loyalty program, reviving a plan that was put on hold two years ago when Air Canada slid into bankruptcy.

The most recent speculation comes from Robert Fay at Canaccord Capital, who issued a report Monday "in anticipation of a possible full or partial spinoff" of the country's most popular points program.

Jacques Kavafian of Research Capital also referred to a potential divestiture Monday, noting in a report on airline yields that he sees the sale of parts of Aeroplan, the regional airline Jazz, or the maintenance services division of ACE Aviation as "imminent."

And TD Newcrest analyst Brian Morrison said last week that he believed growth initiatives at Aeroplan "are being executed upon successfully, increasing the probability of a monetization of this asset (likely in part) within the next 12 months."

TD Newcrest owns ACE Aviation shares and Canaccord Capital expects to provide investment-banking services to the company in the next three months. Research Capital has no investment-banking relationship with ACE Aviation, and Kavafian doesn't own the company's shares.

All three analysts - and many of their peers - also agree that Aeroplan's valuation has soared since a deal to sell a 35% stake to Toronto-based Onex Corp. (OCX.SV.T) for C$245 million unravelled as Air Canada moved into creditor protection.

The changes made at Aeroplan during Air Canada's court-supervised restructuring have made it a more valuable entity, the analysts say, while the new corporate structure makes it that much easier to sell. Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection last fall as an operating subsidiary of newly formed holding company ACE Aviation. Aeroplan, Jazz, the cargo operations and the maintenance operations are also standalone units of ACE Aviation.

Fay values Aeroplan at about C$1.9 billion, at the high end of a range that other analysts have estimated at between C$1.35 million and C$2 billion.

"The profitability of Aeroplan has risen substantially" since the Onex deal was first announced in the fall of 2002, Fay noted, driven by the revised pricing under a new agreement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (BCM) and the addition of American Express Co. (AXP). Third-party revenues from such partners as electronics retailer Future Shop, a division of Best Buy Co. (BBY), communications company Bell Canada, part of BCE Inc. (BCE), and gasoline retailer Esso, a unit of Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO), have also helped.

Fay also said Aeroplan has increased its cash revenues "substantially" in the last two years, and could continue boosting them by 10-15% annually going forward. Operating profits could grow by an even faster rate, he said.

The program now has more than 6 million members, and about 50,000 people join Aeroplan every month, he noted.

Aeroplan should have annualized revenue of about C$700 million in fiscal 2005, Fay said, with about 30% of that amount relating to Aeroplan Miles purchased by Air Canada.

No one from Air Canada was available to immediately comment, but the company has said in the past that it would consider selling part or all of Aeroplan, either as an income trust or a publicly traded company.

An Onex spokesman said the company would have "no comment at all" on the possibility of bidding for a part of Aeroplan, although Onex chairman Gerry Schwartz said recently he would consider it if the opportunity arose.

Dlouhy Merchant analyst Cameron Doerksen said speculation over the sale of Aeroplan is likely related to the expected release of Air Canada's fourth-quarter earnings this month. The quarter is the first reporting period since the airline's emergence from creditor protection, and the earnings are expected to include increased financial details of each of the different business units.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #74
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ACE Aviation Planning Two Financings - Report
08 March 2005

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T) is planning two major financings to clean up its balance sheet, the Globe & Mail newspaper reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said the company - which is the newly formed parent of Air Canada - is set to announce a revolving line of credit for up to C$300 million. It said ACE is also preparing to publicly sell securities to pay down a US$425 million loan from GE Capital Corp., which financed the company's emergence from bankruptcy protection last year.

Citing unidentified market sources, the Globe & Mail said the proposals are expected to be presented to ACE's board Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Air Canada said the company doesn't comment on market rumors.

The newspaper said the company wants to pay off the GE loan because of its high rate of interest. It also said that retiring the loan would give the airline more freedom to sell assets such as its loyalty program Aeroplan.

Analysts have pegged the value of Aeroplan at C$1-$1.9 billion.
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Old March 10th, 2005, 12:13 AM   #75
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Air Canada to join allies at new Paris terminal
Bloomberg News
09 March 2005
The Toronto Star

paris -- Air Canada, United Airlines, Lufthansa and other Star Alliance member carriers will move into a single terminal at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport by 2008, challenging rival Air France-KLM Group at its home base.

Aeroports de Paris, manager of the airport, is refurbishing Charles de Gaulle's Terminal 1 to improve the flow of travellers and add shops. Renovations will be finished by the end of 2008.

Ten of the 18 members in the Star Alliance already operate from the terminal.

Full-service carriers have turned to membership in airline groupings such as the Star Alliance, the world's biggest, to boost ticket sales by channelling passengers into each others' route networks and save money through shared ground facilities and joint purchasing.

The alliance's carriers will share check-in and ticketing counters in Paris. Members already operate under one roof at airports including Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Stockholm and Warsaw.
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Old March 11th, 2005, 12:06 AM   #76
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ACE reports quarterly profit
Air Canada parent earns $15 million
Rising fuel costs offset by currency gains

Sharda Prashad
Toronto Star
10 March 2005

Fresh out of bankruptcy protection, Air Canada's parent, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., yesterday posted its first profit in more than two years, reporting net income of $15 million in its fourth quarter - compared with a loss of $768 million a year earlier.

In its first reporting period as a new publicly traded entity, ACE reported net income of 17 cents a share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, compared with a loss of $6.39 a share a year earlier. The prior-year loss included reorganization and restructuring costs of $560 million.

For the latest quarter, the company reported an operating loss of $3 million, compared with a loss of $77 million the previous year before restructuring, foreign exchange, interest and other costs.

"This was more or less in line with expectations," said Jacques Kavafian, airline analyst at Research Capital Corp. "I believe their costs are under control and their pricing (structure) is good."

Kavafian added that ACE can "charge a little more than the competition and people will still fly Air Canada" because of such perks as Aeroplan, the ability to book business class and having meals served on board.

"Fuel was the main issue for us this year," said ACE chief executive and chairman Robert Milton.

In the fourth quarter, fuel costs increased $142 million, but ACE was able to mitigate those high costs with a $98 million foreign exchange gain - versus a $7 million foreign exchange loss in 2003.

The number of miles flown by paying passengers increased 4 per cent to 9.74 billion and the amount earned from flying a passenger one mile - including Aeroplan passengers - was consistent with last year at 17 cents.

Fielding questions from analysts, Milton said that retiring a $425 million (U.S.) loan from GE Capital is a "first priority" for the company. The loan is considered one of the most expensive in the industry and restricts what ACE from can do with its popular Aeroplan program, which generated $41 million (Canadian) in revenue in the fourth quarter.

"ACE is examining a range of alternatives to maximize the value of its investment in Aeroplan for the benefit of all shareholders," Milton said.

Results for the full year were not released. However, Milton said the company exceeded its target for the year of $1.1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and aircraft rental. Milton said he is confident ACE will reach its target of $1.6 billion in 2005.

"They've benefited hugely," said Karl Moore, professor of management at McGill University, about the importance of bankruptcy protection in helping ACE turn around its situation. "They reduced their debt, decreased their head count and got wage concessions from the employees.... It signalled a change in the business model."

This year, ACE plans to cut 800 more jobs and only half of the 2,000 people expected to leave will be replaced.

ACE announced that Frank McKenna, former premier of New Brunswick, resigned from the board on March 1 because of his appointment as Canadian ambassador to the U.S.
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Old March 11th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #77
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Air Canada Passengers Become Ill from Anti-Freeze
Darren McEwen
Thursday, March 10, 2005

A woman remains in hospital and several other Air Canada passengers are recovering following a scary ordeal on board an Air Bus 319.

The airline says the Montreal bound plane left Winnipeg Thursday morning but had to return to the airport after passengers began complaining of sore eyes, throats and reported smoke in the cabin.

Air Canada says anti-freeze, used to de-ice the aircraft, may have got into the ventilation system.
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Old March 11th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #78
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Air Canada hits delay in closing nine bases
Judge's ruling prevents airline from negotiating layoffs
Series of union challenges also at issue in cost-cutting plans

Rick Westhead
Toronto Star
11 March 2005

An Ontario judge has temporarily scotched Air Canada's plans to close nine bases in cities such as Whitehorse and Thunder Bay, a move that would force as many as 330 employees to choose between moving to the carrier's larger offices or severing ties completely.

Ontario court judge Warren Winkler on Wednesday barred Air Canada from negotiating layoffs or prospective moves with reservation agents in affected cities until at least April 10, a source said yesterday.

Winkler told the airline and Canadian Auto Workers, which represents the company's customer service employees, that he would rule by March 31 whether employees should have the right to remain in affected cities to work for Air Canada's regional Jazz unit at their current rate of pay.

The CAW and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents ramp workers and baggage handlers, both filed grievances over the carrier's announced plans to shift operations in nine cities to its regional Jazz division

The IAMAW on Wednesday had a grievance hearing in front of Air Canada's chief arbitrator, Martin Teplitsky.

Teplitsky has told Air Canada and the machinists to resolve their differences before March 21.

He has scheduled hearing dates for March 24 or 25 and has said he would rule on the matter within two weeks of a hearing, a spokesperson for the union said.

Air Canada spokesperson Laura Cooke said that Winkler has asked Teplitsky to hold hearings with respect to both unions, although a union source said it's possible that one of the unions challenging Air Canada might succeed with its grievance while the other fails.

Closing the bases might allow the carrier to cut costs since Air Canada Jazz personnel, including pilots, flight attendants and baggage handlers, are paid less than their mainline cousins.

Air Canada has said it wants to make the switch on May 3 in Charlottetown, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Quebec City and Thunder Bay and on Oct. 1 in Regina, Saskatoon and Whitehorse.

While affected employees would be given the chance to move to job openings in larger cities, the prospect for new openings is slim, union officials say.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 12:20 AM   #79
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Air Canada Adds Canada Flights In Response To Jetsgo Shutdown
11 March 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--Air Canada is adjusting its domestic Canada schedule to add flights between major cities across Canada in light of Jetsgo's sudden shutdown.

In a news release, the airline said it will add new daily round trip services between Toronto and Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Halifax in time for the peak summer travel season. Air Canada's increase in services will be implemented in stages across the country as plans are finalized, it noted.

In addition, Air Canada said it will increase its Rapidair shuttle service in the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa corridor. Beginning this month, the carrier will boost service between Toronto and Ottawa with an additional 10 one way flights a week, for a total of up to 38 one way flights a day.

Air Canada is also boosting its schedule between Toronto and Montreal with an additional 22 one way flights a week for a total of up to 50 one way flights a day, it said.
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Old March 18th, 2005, 04:50 PM   #80
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Air Canada Plans Expansion Of Cargo Service To Asia
17 March 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--Air Canada intends to expand cargo services to China following the success of its dedicated freighter services within Canada and to Europe launched in 2004.

In a news release, Air Canada has signed a two year lease agreement with World Airways for an MD-11 cargo freighter to increase its cargo capacity to the fast growing China market. Air Canada plans to deploy the freighter three times weekly between Canada and Shanghai beginning May 2005, subject to government approval.

The addition of the MD-11 freighter to Air Canada's existing daily Shanghai service will triple available weight capacity on the route in response to customer demand, the airline said.

In addition, Air Canada is extending its lease agreement with Gemini Air Cargo to operate over the North Atlantic for an additional two years effective March 1. Through this lease agreement with Gemini, Air Canada said it now offers five times weekly all-cargo service between Toronto and Frankfurt, complementing its shared passenger operations to Europe.

Air Canada said it has also boosted its freight capacity within Canada. Air Canada provides its cargo customers with an additional 18 metric tons of upper deck capacity four days a week in the Toronto-Calgary-Vancouver market using leased Boeing 727 cargo aircraft.
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