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Old June 10th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #141
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Air Canada reaches pact with pilots on new Boeings

MONTREAL, June 9 (Reuters) - Air Canada said on Thursday that it reached a tentative agreement with its pilots on contract terms related to the airline's $6 billion purchase of 32 wide-body jets from Boeing Co. .

Air Canada, which is owned by ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. , said the agreement is subject to ratification by the Air Canada Pilots Association's membership.

The airline said Boeing had extended a June 10 deadline to June 19, when a positive vote by pilots would allow the aircraft order to go forward.

The purchase agreement, which analysts say will likely cost Air Canada less than the $6 billion list price, includes firm orders for 18 Boeing 777s, including the Worldliner, which is touted as the world's longest range jet, and 14 of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Deliveries of the 777s to Air Canada are due to begin next year, and the Dreamliners will start to arrive in 2010.

ACE Aviation class B shares were up 65 Canadian cents or 1.6 percent at C$41 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, a new high for the stock.

The stock has almost doubled since early October when Air Canada, the country's largest airline, emerged from 18 months of bankruptcy protection with a much reduced work force and debt burden and lower operating costs.

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Old June 10th, 2005, 08:19 PM   #142
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ACE could pass future rewards to shareholders
May receive units or shares in spinoffs in the form of dividends, Milton says

BRENT JANG
9 June 2005
The Globe and Mail

Air Canada's parent company is considering spreading the wealth to shareholders by handing out trust units or common shares in its subsidiaries once they are spun off as separate entities, airline chairman Robert Milton said yesterday.

While ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. is now marketing Aeroplan trust units to investors in general, future spinoffs could be focused on ACE declaring dividends in the form of units or shares in various divisions to ACE shareholders.

As long as ACE remains financially strong, the dividend option geared toward ACE shareholders will be viable. The Montreal-based holding company had more than $1.8-billion in cash on its balance sheet at the end of the first quarter.

“We would like to maintain about $2-billion of cash. To the extent that cash goes over that as we move to monetize these various units, I would definitely be of the view that we look to share this wealth with our shareholders,” Mr. Milton said at a New York transportation conference sponsored by Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

“Without any commitment, I think it is realistic to envisage us on some basis dividending off parts of these companies potentially to shareholders,” he said.

Investors welcomed Mr. Milton's comments as ACE's class B voting shares for Canadians rose 50 cents to a record-high close of $40.35 yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

ACE's first spinoff is its Aeroplan loyalty program. Other ACE subsidiaries that could become publicly traded include the Jazz regional airline, Air Canada Technical Services, Air Canada Vacations, and cargo and ground-handling divisions.

The technical services unit, which does aircraft maintenance, is being touted by some industry observers as the next logical spinoff.

As for the pending Aeroplan conversion into an income trust, the issue will be available to investors by June 29 at $10 a unit in an initial public offering that could raise $287.5-million, including an overallotment option, said a “confidential information memorandum” circulated to brokers. The trust is forecast to have a yield of between 7.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent.

Aeroplan began its road show in Calgary yesterday, which will be followed by presentations today in Vancouver, tomorrow in Toronto and next Thursday in Montreal.

ACE will retain about 82 per cent of the customer loyalty program after the IPO, which could be for roughly 28.75 million units. In total, Aeroplan's value as an income trust could be between $1.65-billion and $1.87-billion, subject to details being finalized by June 21, when the number of units to be issued will be set, according to the memo.

Montreal-based Air Canada, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last September, is operating in a competitive industry, Mr. Milton said.

The combative ACE chairman warned yesterday that he's willing to cancel a $6-billion (U.S.) order for 32 new wide-body Boeing 777s and 787s if the Air Canada Pilots Association fails to agree to a deal on wages and other conditions.

“I would highlight that we're actually in the final stages of negotiating with our pilot group the terms of the contract by which they'll fly these aircraft,” said Mr. Milton, who is seeking to resolve the impasse with pilots by tomorrow. “It is my hope, obviously, that we get it done. If we don't, we'll have to revert to Plan B, which would be adding more used aircraft.”

After issuing the dire warning, Mr. Milton said Air Canada wishes to stick with the Boeing order, especially since he views the 787 model in particular as a “game changer” on international routes.

Captain Kent Wilson, president of the 3,000-member Air Canada Pilots Association, said he's aware that Air Canada could cancel its Boeing contract without penalty.

“I'm a pilot. I never push the panic button,” he said. “Negotiations are ongoing, and we're staying focused and optimistic.”
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Old June 11th, 2005, 09:04 AM   #143
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Air Canada reaches deal with pilots: Announcement comes as 777 stops in Montreal
Nicolas Van Praet
10 June 2005
National Post

MONTREAL - Air Canada has struck a labour deal with its pilots that clears the major hurdle to the airline's US$6-billion jet order with Boeing, one of the biggest airliner purchases in the world this year.

The Montreal carrier said it reached a tentative agreement yesterday morning with union leaders representing 3,000 mainline Air Canada pilots. The agreement sets out the pay and work rules for pilots who will fly the 32 new wide-body planes the airline is buying from Boeing.

The deal came one day after Robert Milton, chief executive of Air Canada parent Ace Aviation Holdings Inc., warned he could cancel the order for the airliners if the Air Canada Pilots Association and the company failed to agree on a contract governing wages and other work conditions.

Many industry players never believed the order was in jeopardy, describing eleventh-hour comments by both Mr. Milton and union officials as bargaining tactics.

"This is a major step forward," Montie Brewer, Air Canada's chief executive officer, told reporters gathered at an event marking the first world stop of the new Boeing 777-200LR.

"[It's] the first time we've been able to come to an agreement with our labour unions on the operating costs of an aircraft prior to its being delivered."

Asked later why Air Canada now feels it necessary to secure such labour deals before taking delivery of planes when it has never done so in the past, Mr. Brewer said the airline needs to get greater certainty on costs as far ahead as possible.

"It's a very volatile industry," he said. "We're rethinking everything we do."

The terms of the agreement with the pilots were not disclosed, although Mr. Brewer said pilots of the new planes will be the highest paid of all cabin crew. Union leaders will ask the pilots to ratify the deal by June 19.

Boeing and Air Canada had a deal by which the airline could cancel the order by June 10 without penalty if it failed to strike a pact with the pilots. Boeing has now given Air Canada an extension to allow union members to hold a vote on the contract.

Airlines typically renegotiate certain aspects of labour contracts with pilots when they bring new planes into their fleets. In this case, pay rates are based on a formula that measures the aircraft's size, speed, weight and revenue potential.

Air Canada announced April 25 that it would place firm orders for 18 Boeing 777 jets as well as 14 Boeing 787 dreamliners, and take purchase rights and options for another 64 planes. The firm orders are valued at about US$6-billion at list prices.

It was Air Canada's first order for Boeing since 1989. The airline said the planes will generate major savings on maintenance and fuel while allowing it to penetrate more markets.

General Electric will provide the engines for the 777. Mr. Brewer said a decision on the 787 engines, a contest between GE and Rolls Royce, will be made soon.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 05:20 PM   #144
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Air Canada and ACPA reach agreement on outstanding issues relating to new wide-body aircraft
9 June 2005


Air Canada has reached a tentative agreement with the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) on costs and other related issues relating to the introduction of the new Boeing wide- body aircraft in the airline's fleet. The agreement with ACPA is subject to ratification by the union membership.

Air Canada's aircraft purchase agreement with Boeing announced April 25 is subject to the successful completion of certain conditions by June 10, 2005, including the negotiation of satisfactory terms by the airline with its pilots on costs and other related issues. The airline has received from Boeing an extension of the June 10 deadline to allow sufficient time for the ratification process to take place. Pending pilot ratification by June 19, the agreement is expected to be finalized allowing the aircraft order to go forward.

The purchase agreement with Boeing includes firm orders for 18 Boeing 777s, plus purchase rights for 18 more, in a yet-to-be-determined mix of the 777 family's newest models: the 777-300ER, the 777-200LR Worldliner, and the newly announced 777 Freighter.

Air Canada's 777 deliveries are scheduled to begin next year with the arrival of three 777-300ERs in 2006. The renewal plan also includes firm orders for 14 ultra-efficient new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, scheduled for delivery min 2010.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:22 AM   #145
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Aeroplan underwriters seek larger IPO
Brokers ask Air Canada to hike the supply of trust's units to meet surging demand

BRENT JANG AND ANDREW WILLIS
13 June 2005
The Globe and Mail

TORONTO -- Demand for Aeroplan Income Fund is sizzling hot, prompting the fledgling trust's underwriters to push Air Canada's parent company to consider nearly doubling the size of the initial public offering.

The underwriters are pressing ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. to issue more than $500-million worth of Aeroplan units, or almost a 30-per-cent stake in the popular loyalty program. That compares with the current plan to raise $287.5-million, consisting of $250-million in the IPO and another $37.5-million through a so-called overallotment option.

The underwriters and retail brokers are reporting that the issue is already vastly oversubscribed.

Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said it would be inappropriate to respond while the trust is still being marketed. “We are in a quiet period, and therefore we have no comment,” she said.

Aeroplan Income Fund will be issued at $10 a unit, with the number of units in the IPO to be determined early next week.

Industry sources say the yield will likely be between 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, and not 8.5 per cent — the higher end of the forecasted range.

“The order book is already four times oversubscribed, and we've barely begun marketing,” said one investment banker working with the Montreal-based airline.

However, he said no final decision on the size or pricing of the public offering will be made until June 20.

Several bankers said Aeroplan is attracting both retail and institutional investors, reflecting an increased following for trusts among pension funds and other big money managers that traditionally have been less interested in the sector.

They say it's unusual to have an order book build up this early in an IPO, since many major investors wait until the last minute before buying, for fear of tipping their hands to the dealers and driving up the price of a new issue.

Brokers filing out of a Toronto presentation by Aeroplan executives and underwriters on Friday afternoon said investors are clamouring to buy units in ACE's customer loyalty division.

The brokers asked not to be named because their firms are also members of the underwriting syndicate. One of those brokers said he has requested $500,000 worth of Aeroplan units to sell to clients at his branch, knowing that he will be fortunate to get one-quarter to half of that amount, although he could sell the full $500,000. Several of his clients each want to purchase 1,000 trust units worth $10,000. A colleague has asked for $1-million worth of units to distribute.

At a yield of 7.5 per cent, the total value of Aeroplan Income Fund would be $1.87-billion. A 30-per-cent slice would amount to roughly $560-million, based on that total.

Harry Levant, an independent financial analyst, said numerous brokers who subscribe to his income trust newsletter are buzzing about robust demand for Aeroplan.

Mr. Levant said the pleasant dilemma for ACE will be whether to pounce in June and issue 50 million units while the market is hot or issue 28.75 million units in the first phase and then wait until the fall for a second selloff.

The benefit of waiting is that investors will then get a chance to digest more data, including what are expected to be healthy second and third quarters for ACE, further enhancing Aeroplan's appeal.

The drawback is that there's no guarantee that the trust market will be as strong in the fall as it is now, Mr. Levant said.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. is leading the underwriting syndicate with CIBC World Markets Inc. and Genuity Capital Markets.

Another investment banker working with ACE said Aeroplan's dynamics are similar to that of the IPO for Yellow Pages Income Fund, which went public two years ago. “We started off Yellow Pages at $600-million, which seemed a lot at the launch, then ended up taking it to $1-billion on the back of surging demand,” he said.

Brokers attending Friday's Aeroplan road show at a downtown Toronto hotel received bright orange information packages, the same colour as Aeroplan's logo. The packages included the preliminary prospectus and a “confidential information memorandum” that provided an overview of the frequent-flier program.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which markets the CIBC Aerogold Visa credit card, accounts for 55 per cent of Aeroplan's revenue, the prospectus said.

CIBC and other financial institutions chip in 63 per cent of revenue while Air Canada contributes 27 per cent and other business partners account for the remaining 10 per cent, the document said.

Based on preliminary data, there could be $70-million in cash available for distribution in the second half of this year to unitholders.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #146
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#WS | WestJet



WestJet was founded in 1996 by four Calgary entrepreneurs led by Clive Beddoe, who saw an opportunity to provide low-fare air travel across western Canada. Through researching other successful airlines in North America - and in particular low-cost carriers from throughout the continent - the team followed the primary examples of Southwest Airlines and Morris Air and determined that a similar concept could be successful in western Canada.

Over the subsequent months, the team worked to develop a comprehensive business plan and financial model. With this information in hand, a number of local business people were approached and within 30 days the needed capital was raised. After purchasing the three original Boeing 737-200 aircraft, a second offering to retail and institutional investors was completed in January 1996, raising the necessary capital to commence operations.

On February 29, 1996, the airline started flight operations with 220 employees and three aircraft to the cities of Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. Since that time, the company has continued to expand, bringing more western cities into WestJet's world. In 1996, WestJet added Victoria, Regina and Saskatoon to its route network. In 1997, WestJet began service to Abbotsford/Fraser Valley, and in 1999 WestJet added Thunder Bay, Prince George, and Grande Prairie to its service area.

WestJet achieved a major milestone when in July 1999 it completed its Initial Public Offering of 2.5 million common shares. It was an exciting day for all WestJetters, representing the achievement of a key business goal and raising the necessary capital for expansion of the company into the coming years. With the help of lead underwriters CIBC World Markets and the dedicated executive team, WestJet has made a successful transition to a public company. The capital raised from the offering has been used for the purchase of additional aircraft, as well as the building of new Head Office and Hangar facilities in Calgary, in order to meet the needs of the company's expanding workforce.

1999 saw unprecedented change and restructuring in the airline industry in Canada, offering a window of opportunity for WestJet to expand its service beyond its current route structure. In December 1999, WestJet announced that it would be extending its successful low-fare airline across Canada. Between March and June 2000, the company added service to the eastern Canadian cities of Hamilton, Moncton, and Ottawa, creating an eastern network with Hamilton as the hub.

In 2000, WestJet's founders were honoured as 'The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year' for Canada, in recognition of the contributions they have made to Canadian travellers and the lives of all of WestJet's people and shareholders. In 2001, WestJet added new service to Fort McMurray, Comox, and limited addition flights to Brandon. In 2001, WestJet also added its first four Next-Generation Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Also, in 2001, the team of founders received an International Entrepreneurship award for Outstanding Teamwork.

In 2002, WestJet added service to two new Ontario destinations, London and Toronto. In February of 2002, the corporation successfully offered three million common shares yielding net proceeds of $78.9 million. The proceeds will fund aircraft additions, spare parts, and a third flight simulator. In 2002, WestJet was named one of Canada's top 100 employers.

In 2003, WestJet was named Canada's second most respected corporation in an annual survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid. The survey involved a randomly selected sample of 255 of the leading CEOs in Canada. Also in 2003, WestJet added service to the new markets of Halifax, Windsor, Montréal, St. John's, and Gander.

The airline operates a fleet of Boeing aircraft featuring new Next-Generation 737 aircraft with leather seats and more legroom. Transborder service commenced in the fall of 2004 to the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and New York. Service to Palm Springs began in January 2005. WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WJA.

Website : http://www.westjet.com


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Old June 15th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #147
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WestJet hopes booking system can streamline growth strategy: Add foreign partners
Chris Sorensen
14 June 2005
National Post

WestJet Airlines Ltd. will soon be in a position to increase traffic through partnerships with low-cost U.S. airlines and foreign international carriers following the adoption of a new, more universally compatible booking system.

Gillian Bentley, a spokeswoman for WestJet, said the company aims to implement a new computerized reservation system as early as the end of this year, making it easier for the Calgary-based carrier to enter marketing or customer-sharing agreements with other airlines.

Forging partnerships with other airlines could prove to be a crucial component of WestJet's future growth strategy as it runs out of new markets in Canada and faces tough competition from U.S. airlines and Air Canada on transborder routes.

"It will give us more opportunities," Ms. Bentley said yesterday, adding the new system is part of an overall effort to improve customer service.

"But there's no intention at the moment to do any interfacing [with other airlines] at this point."

WestJet's current "ticketless" reservation system is not necessarily compatible with systems used by other airlines, including low-cost carriers in the United States. Airline booking systems are complex software applications that enable airlines to adjust fares based on demand and availability of seats as well as a host of other variables such as competition and historical trends.

According to one analyst, the likely candidates to partner with WestJet once the new system is implemented are low-cost carriers in the United States such as JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines Co., or international carriers such as Cathay Pacific Airways, which last fall said it was in exploratory talks with WestJet.

Jennifer Pearson, a spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific in Canada, said yesterday the airline is still negotiating with WestJet as it looks for Canadian air carriers to feed traffic onto its TransPacific routes. She said the carrier has struck an agreement with Air Canada to provide some of the traffic and is also talking to Vancouver's Harmony Airways.

WestJet's move comes as rival ACE Aviation Ltd., the holding company for Air Canada, enters into a business relationship with US Airways and America West, which are hammering out the details of a merger that will pull US Airways out of its second round of Chapter 11 proceedings.

ACE Aviation said last month it would purchase a 7% equity stake in the newly-merged carrier in deal that promises to increase Air Canada's presence in select U.S. markets and drive traffic onto its international network via its Canadian hubs in Toronto and Vancouver. That's in addition to the traffic generated through Air Canada's membership in the Star Alliance, a global group of 16 airlines that have agreed to co-market their services and sell flights on each other's routes.

"If you look at the load factors that Air Canada enjoys today, a significant component comes from its Star Alliance partners," said David Newman, an analyst at National Bank Financial. "What WestJet needs to do is get this reservation system in place so they can communicate with the other reservation systems and co-ordinate more effectively."

There is also the possibility that WestJet could join the rival Oneworld Alliance, which includes American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa, but does not yet have a Canadian partner. However, Mr. Newman noted that WestJet has traditionally balked at the costs associated with global alliances and thus may be looking for a more "unique" arrangement. "It would seem to make sense to have a North American alliance of low-cost carriers," he said, noting WestJet, JetBlue and Southwest were among the few North American air carriers to show profits last year.

WestJet already has significant connections to Southwest, which served as a model for WestJet, and JetBlue, whose founder played a role in the Canadian carrier's start-up. More recently, WestJet purchased its live satellite television service from JetBlue, whose fleet of Airbus jets is also equipped with the seatback entertainment system.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #148
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Those bastards chopped the head off of Canada.


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Old June 16th, 2005, 04:33 AM   #149
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I'm happy for WestJet. They have beautiful looking livery.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #150
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WestJet gains in business travel
More and more Canadian companies embracing discount airlines, survey says

BRENT JANG
15 June 2005
The Globe and Mail

Canadian companies are gradually embracing WestJet Airlines Ltd. as an alternative to Air Canada when booking business trips, underscoring a global trend of discount carriers gaining market share, a survey of corporate travel intentions has found.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives surveyed 30 companies representing 27,000 employees in Canada and overseeing domestic air travel budgets totalling $100-million this year. Half of the companies said the lowest fare is their highest priority, while one-third picked convenience of schedule and service as the most important consideration. The study, conducted jointly with National Bank Financial, found that 83 per cent of the firms have not relaxed their policies to allow for more upgrades to business class on Air Canada.

“A budget-conscious mindset appears to have taken hold among Canadian companies,” National Bank Financial analyst David Newman wrote in a summary report. “While corporations are clearly taking steps to lower air travel costs, even as corporate profits improve, organizations have not gone so far as to take away frequent flier point privileges from their employees.” Air Canada offers Aeroplan miles to its frequent fliers while WestJet passengers can collect points with the rival Air Miles program.

Mr. Newman said companies have become more vigilant about their travel budgets because of “increased scrutiny on spending levels and corporate governance.”

Gone are the days when high-tech companies during the technology sector's boom six years ago wouldn't hesitate to send employees on trips in style. They paid premium prices for the flexibility of making changes without penalty, as well as the privilege of sitting on wider leather seats at the front of the plane with specialized service and extra legroom.

“In our view, corporations have permanently altered their approach to business travel, with far less tolerance and willingness to pay for upgrades or last-minute fares,” Mr. Newman said.

WestJet has narrowed the comfort gap by adding leather seats to its fleet of aircraft, as well as providing live satellite TV screens on the back of seats. Air Canada has been able to retain many cost-conscious business travellers by steering them toward Tango fares, its lowest category of ticket prices.

“Low-cost carriers are gradually being viewed as an alternative that is equal, if not superior, to the full-service carriers in meeting the needs of corporations and their travellers,” Mr. Newman said. He released a 24-page summary report about the travel survey along with a 132-page research study titled: Low-cost carriers leave legacy airlines in their vapour trails.

“Paying for a low-cost fare is one way business travellers can retaliate for previous gouging by these bloated behemoths,” he said.

However, Mr. Newman noted that Air Canada has staged a financial recovery and is still the dominant airline in Canada.

While legacy carriers have traditionally dominated the business market, low-cost airlines are now formidable rivals. Leading discount airlines in the world include WestJet, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co., Ryanair Holdings PLC of Ireland, JetBlue Airways Corp. of Kew Gardens, N.Y., and AirTran Holdings Inc. of Orlando, Fla.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:55 PM   #151
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WestJet converts options, buys 2 more Boeing planes

TORONTO, June 15 (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines said on Wednesday it will convert purchase options to buy two more Boeing aircraft, bringing to 11 the number of new Boeing planes Canada's No.2 airline will receive next year.

The no-frills airline said the two Boeing 737-600 aircraft will be delivered in August 2006. The airline has one more purchase option on a 737 plane for delivery in 2006.

WestJet also said it will defer purchase options for four more 737 aircraft from 2006 to 2007.

WestJet is adding new jets to its fleet to replace older aircraft and boost capacity as it benefits from the demise of competitor Jetsgo earlier this year.

($1=$1.26 Canadian)
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Old June 16th, 2005, 10:45 PM   #152
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Discount airlines WestJet, Canjet increasing B.C. flights
WestJet plans to include new flights from Vancouver to Phoenix, Palm Springs

Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Two of Canada's discount air carriers, WestJet Airlines and Halifax-based Canjet, are increasing their attention to the British Columbia market with new flights, the success of which should be helped by the departure of bankrupt Jetsgo from domestic airline wars.

WestJet Wednesday announced new flights to Phoenix and Palm Springs from Vancouver and Las Vegas from Kelowna in its fall schedule at the same time it said it will abandon Windsor as a domestic destination.

Shawn Durfy, WestJet's executive vice-president for marketing and sales, said the new destinations are part of what the airline sees as its logical expansion rather than a response to Jetsgo's demise.

However, "when you take an irrational player out of the market and allow [the] industry to recover and be healthy, it allows you to do these things."

"One of the things we couldn't do before was put a rational price in the market," Durfy added.

Durfy said the airline is adding Vancouver to Palm Springs and Phoenix flights to its roster based on its experience with Calgary flights to those destinations starting in 2004.

"We had tremendous success in [Palm Springs] out of Calgary last year," he added. "When we did the analysis of what we could do, from the facility and from marketing and sales, we felt that this would be a very successful route for us."

Durfy said Phoenix was added because it is a strong leisure destination and because it is increasingly important as a hub for business travel.

To grow, WestJet needs to do more than expand its flight offerings, it must also increase its partnerships with other airlines to feed passenger traffic, and "there is great connectivity into and out of Phoenix" to link with other airlines, Durfy said.

WestJet is in the process of acquiring a new reservation system, which it hopes to have in place by the end of the year. It should give the airline the flexibility "to do tremendous things" in forming such partnerships, Durfy said.

Marc-David Seidel, a transportation expert in the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, suspects WestJet also feels that it is important to be in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets because of Air Canada's interest in the proposed merger of U.S. Airways and America West Airline.

Air Canada has said it would invest some $95 million in such a merger, from which it would gain maintenance contracts and feeder traffic for some of its international flights.

Seidel said Phoenix and Las Vegas are key markets for America West.

"This strikes me as an anticipatory strike just to get some penetration to America West's core markets," he added.

In the meantime, the fledgling Canjet is set to add Vancouver to its flight schedule starting June 27 as planned in the announcement it made last February.

Canjet spokesman Wayne Morrison said the company's master plan "since day one" has been to serve all of Canada's major centres, and Vancouver is a dense, attractive market where executives feel they can carve a niche as a competitive, low-cost carrier.

"We were always determined to be price competitive," Morrison added. "Some prices [in the market] were too crazy to compete with, so we let them go. But we'll be good solid competition with Westjet and Air Canada."

Air Canada has also increased its capacity following Jetsgo's bankruptcy, said airline spokeswoman Angela Mah, with the addition of one daily round trip from Vancouver to Toronto in the peak summer season.

She added that they've also increased frequencies to Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City and Halifax as well, and in the fall will offer daily service from Vancouver to Las Vegas.

With files from Canadian Press

[email protected]

© The Vancouver Sun 2005
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #153
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National Post
June 16, 2005
Air Canada Calgary cargo stop on hold: CargoJet files complaint
Chris Sorensen

Air Canada has been forced to shelve plans to include a Calgary stop on its new all-cargo service between Toronto and Shanghai because of a complaint to federal regulators by rival CargoJet, a spat that has the Calgary business community worried it will miss out on a lucrative economic link.

CargoJet Holdings Ltd., which has applied to begin flying to China but does not yet have the aircraft to make the trip, has complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency that Air Canada is unfairly leasing a U.S. aircraft and crews to fly the domestic Calgary-Toronto leg of the all-cargo service, which competes directly with CargoJet.

Air Canada, which has leased two MD-11 freighters and their crews from a U.S company until it receives its own Boeing freighters by the end of the decade, launched the Toronto-Shanghai route in mid-May, but later applied to regulators to amend its designation to include Calgary. The service was supposed to start on Monday.

Claude Morin, chief executive of Air Canada's cargo unit, said Air Canada may have to abandon the service, depending on Ottawa's ruling. However, he said Air Canada doesn't believe it is violating any rules and that CargoJet is likely upset that Air Canada recently decided to begin flying its own all-cargo aircraft between Calgary and Toronto, a multimillion-dollar contract previously given to CargoJet.

"CargoJet enjoys a nice Canadian monopoly between Toronto and Alberta," Mr. Morin said. "Which is why they are upset and don't want to give it up."

Air Canada Cargo, an operating unit of Air Canada's parent, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., has moved to set up its own fleet of dedicated cargo aircraft to take advantage of an increasingly lucrative air freight market, particularly between Asia and North America.

Mr. Morin said Air Canada can still fly cargo between Toronto-Shanghai profitably without the Calgary stop, but added that, "financially, it would be better to stop in Calgary" since the majority of trade with China flows into North America and not the other way around.

CargoJet, however, charges that Air Canada is treading on the edge of Canada's air service agreement with the United States, which doesn't allow U.S. carriers to fly between two Canadian cities.

Ajay Virmani, CargoJet's CEO, said in an interview yesterday that Air Canada's decision to use a leased U.S. aircraft and crew threatens to open the door to other U.S. companies -- particularly couriers -- who would rather fly their own jets between Canadian cities instead of contracting the work to Canadian operators.

"What they are doing is displacing a Canadian carrier in favour of an American one," Mr. Virmani said.

He also accused Air Canada of trying to "scoop the cream" from the country's most profitable cargo routes. "Toronto-Shanghai -- I don't have a problem with that. But what they want to do is fly that aircraft between Toronto-Calgary and pick up all the good revenue and then come back from Shanghai to Toronto with all of that traffic."

Bill Clark, a Toronto aviation lawyer, said yesterday that he doesn't think CargoJet's complaint has any merit, although other industry insiders have questioned whether Air Canada's plans to lease the U.S. aircraft should have been put before the industry for comment.

Either way, the dispute has raised concern among Calgary's business community and the Calgary Airport Authority who see an important economic link to the world's most populous country hanging in the balance.

Murray Sigler, the president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said the oil-rich province is eager for more air links to China because of the Asian country's rising energy demands.

The Calgary Airport Authority, meanwhile, is in the midst of a five-year plan to develop the airport as a Western Canadian cargo and logistics hub with links to the international community.

Stephan Poirier, the senior director of air cargo and logistics development at the airport, said the airport authority isn't taking a position on the issue, other than it would like to see a link to Asia created as soon as possible. "What is important to us is that Air Canada is ready to enter in to service right now, whereas CargoJet would need at least another 12 months," he said.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #154
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CAE Sells Two Full-flight Simulators, Flight Training Devices To Air Canada
16 June 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--CAE Inc. (CGT) has received a contract to provide Air Canada with two full-flight simulators for the new Embraer 170 and 190 aircraft, and a suite of CAE Simfinity training devices.

The contract is valued at about C$27 million, based on list prices.

In a news release, CAE said the contract represents its second and third full-flight simulator sales of fiscal 2006.

CAE said the Embraer 170 full-flight simulator is scheduled for installation at Air Canada's training facility in Toronto in the first quarter of 2006, while the Embraer 190 simulator will be ready for training in the third quarter of 2006. Both simulators will be equipped with CAE visual systems.

The CAE Simfinity training devices include two three-dimensional trainers (Integrated Procedures Trainers) and four desktop trainers (Virtual Simulators) for the Embraer 170 aircraft.

The company said the sale is part of a 10-year general terms agreement signed in 2001 with Air Canada to provide the carrier with full-flight simulators.

CAE provides simulation and modelling technologies for commercial and business aviation and defence customers.

Air Canada, owned by ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. (ACE.B.T), is Canada's largest air carrier.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 08:31 PM   #155
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so many articles!!!
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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:02 PM   #156
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Here are some photos to change the mood :



















More flight reports at : http://www.geocities.com/asiaglobe/g...ghtreports.htm
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Old June 20th, 2005, 08:18 AM   #157
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Air Canada cancels 32-jet Boeing order

FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTREAL - Air Canada canceled an order for 32 widebody Boeing Co. jets after pilots rejected a contract deal that would have freed up funds for the new airplanes.

Pilots voted yesterday to reject terms that were tied to the aircraft order, which Air Canada announced April 25. The deal was worth about $6 billion at list prices, although airlines typically negotiate discounts, and was subject to employees accepting certain cost-cutting measures.

Montreal-based Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection last year.

"We cannot lose sight of the effort it took to get to where the airline is today," said Montie Brewer, Air Canada's president and CEO. "While the cancellation of this aircraft order will be disappointing to our employee group at large, including many of our pilots, it is the right decision given the circumstances."

The airline said it accepted the pilots' decision and notified Chicago-based Boeing the order was canceled.

Air Canada had placed firm orders for 18 new Boeing 777s next year and 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners ? its newest jet ? which are scheduled for delivery in 2010. The airline also would have had purchase rights to 18 more 777s and 46 more 787s to replace Air Canada's Boeing 767 fleet.

In a statement posted on its website, Boeing said it was disappointed with the decision.

"We are seeing very strong demand for the 777 and the 787, and we believe we will have many opportunities to place these aircraft elsewhere," Boeing said.

When the aircraft deal was announced in April, Air Canada said it intended to dedicate the planes primarily to flights between Canada and various destinations in Asia, including Beijing, Shanghai and New Delhi.

Brewer said the company will look to the used market to find three 777s it needs for the planned Asian service.

"The critical component of the Boeing order were the 787 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2010 and beyond to replace our Boeing 767 fleet," he said. "In time we will readdress this requirement."
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Old June 20th, 2005, 10:21 PM   #158
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Air Cda To Maintain Growth Plans After Jet Deal Nixed
By Monica Gutschi
20 June 2005

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--Air Canada's big plans to expand internationally aren't dead even if its deal to buy US$6 billion of new airplanes seemingly is.

The airline will plow ahead with its business plan using used wide-body aircraft for its overseas routes in the short-term, spokeswoman Laura Cooke said. "It's anticipated that the company will continue to grow on an unaltered basis," she said.

The airline cancelled an order for 32 wide-body aircraft from Boeing Co. (BA) on the weekend after its pilots' union rejected a tentative agreement on pay scales and working conditions to fly the new planes.

The aircraft were to have been used on Air Canada's rapidly expanding international network and were to replace the company's aging 737 fleet.

Air Canada, a unit of ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T), has already said it would purchase three used aircraft to replace the Boeing 777-300 aircraft that would have been delivered next year. The remainder of the new wide-body aircraft - primarily Boeing's new and popular 787 Dreamliner - were to have been delivered after 2010.

That, say most observers, gives Air Canada plenty of time to find alternatives.

They say the airline could scour the used plane market - although the number of parked aircraft is dwindling as global airline fortunes revive - or add to its wide-body Airbus (ABI.YY) fleet rather than phase them out.

Air Canada's fleet plan would have given it all-Boeing wide-body planes, all-Airbus narrow-body aircraft, and a group of Embraer (ERJ) regional jets. Its sister airline, regional operator Jazz, is to fly Bombardier Inc. (BBD.SV.B.T) regional jets and a mix of turboprops.

But many believe Air Canada hopes to revive the Boeing order.

"I don't think we've heard the end of this by any means," said independent airline analyst Rick Erickson. And another analyst said "I have got to believe that maybe there are some negotiations going on to see if they can work this out."



Order Cancellation Seen As Labor Bargaining Ploy


Many observers say the hugely symbolic order was cancelled as a negotiating ploy by the company, which has been plagued by union strife even before it wrung C$1.2 billion in concessions out of its 35,000 employees. The pilots' rejection of the deal - which had been recommended by the union leadership - was said to be related to an unresolved dispute over seniority rather than an unwillingness to accept the new planes.

"We suspect that this development is a tactic intended to force an agreement with the union and is likely to amount ultimately to a delay, rather than outright cancellation," Banc of America said in a morning note.

A spokesman for the pilots' union was not immediately available for comment.

In Toronto, ACE Aviation is down C$1.15 to C$41.25 on 237,000 shares amid a general downturn in transportation stocks as oil prices surged.

But even if Air Canada can revive the order, observers say it is unlikely to get the same "sweetheart deal" it got in April, when Boeing and Airbus were battling for market supremacy.

On announcing the order, ACE chairman Robert Milton said he was "confident that no one has ever done better on a deal. From a timing standpoint, a lot of things came together to work to our significant advantage." Analysts believe Air Canada paid far less than the US$6 billion list price on the planes. As well, given the recent popularity of the Dreamliner, Air Canada likely had fixed delivery slots that it may have lost forever.

"I'll bet you right now there are companies snapping up those delivery slots," Erickson said. And Banc of America noted that "given the robust health of the 787 order book (266 commitments) and order wins for the 777 at (the biannual air show in) Paris, we do not think that this represents a significant setback for Boeing."

However, Boeing remains in an uphill battle against its French rival, which observers say could make it willing to give Air Canada a bit of leeway. Boeing gained commitments for 146 new airplanes at the show, while Airbus received orders for 280 aircraft.

"Boeing is in a market-share race with Airbus and the last thing they want to do is lose an order," said another analyst. "I'm not sure this is over."

The new airplanes are 30% more cost-efficient than Air Canada's existing Boeing 767s, which would have helped the airline stem rising fuel costs, its second-largest expenditure after labor. Air Canada announced an increase in its fuel surcharge Monday as oil prices edged above US$59 a barrel.

The airline had said the fuel and maintenance savings alone would be double the additional costs of ownership. The new planes were also expected to be accretive to annual earnings as of 2006 and to boost the airline's profits by C$300 million a year after 2010.

"It's unfortunate that a pilots' squabble has really gotten in the way of what was in the best interests of the airline," Erickson said.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 07:03 AM   #159
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Air Canada increases domestic fares in response to fuel prices
20 June 2005


In response to record high fuel prices, Air Canada is adjusting fares to reflect the additional operating costs. The fare increase applies to all fare types including published, web and other special fares for travel on Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and Air Canada codeshare flights within Canada.

Base fares for flights within Canada are being increased each way by CA$8 on short haul flights up to 300 miles (483 kms), CA$10 on medium haul flights between 301-1000 miles (484-1609 kms), and CA$15 on long haul flights over 1000 miles (1609 kms).

The increases come into effect on tickets issued beginning June 23, 2005 for all domestic Canada travel.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 07:39 AM   #160
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Used jets on Air Canada's shopping list

By BRENT JANG

Monday, June 20, 2005 Updated at 9:51 PM EDT

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Air Canada is shopping for five used, wide-body planes to tide it over until it decides how to bounce back from having to cancel a $6-billion (U.S.) order for new Boeing aircraft.

The airline also plans to spruce up aging Boeing 767s with new seats that will feature video-on-demand screens on the back of each seat, and power plug-ins for laptops and other devices, Air Canada president Montie Brewer said Monday in a memo to employees.

The fleet refurbishment program is focused on wide-body Boeing 767s, which are scheduled to be replaced over several years, starting in 2010. Although the interior facelift for the 767s has long been planned, Mr. Brewer said it takes on extra significance in the wake of the cancelled jet order. There are currently 45 Boeing 767s in the fleet, with an average age of 22 years.

“Special attention will be placed on the 767s in this program, which will begin at the end of this year and will ensure that the 767s and other fleets will remain competitive for years to come,” Mr. Brewer said.

He made the comments after Air Canada notified Chicago-based Boeing Co. on the weekend that it decided to scrap an order for 18 Boeing 777s and 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Canada's flag carrier also had options to buy another 18 Boeing 777s and 46 Boeing 787s.

Montreal-based Air Canada will be short two wide-body planes next year and three more in the summer of 2007, but “I am confident we will be able to find ways to fill these gaps and continue to grow at planned rates,” Mr. Brewer said.

Three new Boeing 777s were scheduled for delivery next year, including one earmarked for the Vancouver-Tokyo route.

In April, Air Canada chairman Robert Milton touted the new fuel-efficient and roomier Boeing 777 and 787 jets as crucial to the carrier's future on international routes, notably to Asia and Latin America.

“The real value of the Boeing deal was the replacement of the 767s in 2010 with the 787s,” Mr. Brewer said. “Again, I am confident that we will in time find a way to address the 767 retirement issue and we have time.”

Air Canada had made its purchase contingent on the approval of its pilots' union for wages and working conditions on the new aircraft. The pilots are embroiled in an internal squabble over seniority, which determines who gets the better-paid jobs flying larger jets.

Members of the Air Canada Pilots Association who cast ballots rejected Air Canada's labour deal for flying the new Boeing aircraft, with more than 54 per cent voting down the tentative pact that had been endorsed by the union's negotiating team. One-third of the 3,000-member union did not vote.

Captain Kent Wilson, president of the pilots' union, said the voting results show that there remains a persistent problem with merged seniority lists for pilots, long after Air Canada's merger with Canadian Airlines International Ltd. in 2000.

The so-called Original Air Canada (OAC) group of pilots are upset that many of their Canadian Airlines counterparts moved ahead of them in seniority rankings.

“A No vote will provide the platform to explain how the Original Air Canada pilots have lost,” said a memo issued last week by three OAC pilots, who complained about “the devastating impact of our loss of seniority” and drop in wages.

Joseph D'Cruz, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, said he expects Air Canada executives to go back to the drawing board and develop a new Boeing purchase plan that's palatable to cynical pilots.

“Eventually, they have to buy new aircraft,” he said. “Air Canada is looking at growth in point-to-point travel, so that could be Vancouver to Beijing. The Dreamliner is exactly right for that kind of traffic.”

Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said from Seattle, home of final assembly operations, that the aircraft maker is disappointed at losing the original order for 32 jets. Mr. Blecher described the cancellation of such a large order as a rare occurrence. “We were surprised by the end result,” he said. “There are internal issues that Air Canada needs to deal with at this point.”

Air Canada parent ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. class B voting shares fell $1 (Canadian) to $41.40 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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