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  1. . When it comes to electric vehicles, where do parties stand? Wed Oct 16, 2019 - The Globe and Mail by Neil Vorano Climate policy is at the forefront of the coming federal election. All the major parties have their own take on reducing emissions, including tax credits, bans on single-use plastics, promises on renewable energy and even plans to retrain fossil-fuel workers for the renewable energy sector. But with transportation making up 29 per cent of emissions in the United States in 2017, according to an EPA study, and light-duty vehicles making up 59 per cent of that, electric cars could be an important step in making change. But when it comes to the future of electric cars in Canada, which party will lead the charge? Here are the positions of each major party when it comes to zero-emission vehicles on our roads. Liberals The Liberal government’s last budget in March earmarked $130-million over five years to advance both electric charging and hydrogen fuel stations across the country for EVs and fuel cell vehicles, which would include workplaces, remote locations and other public areas. As well, an added $300-million over three years would be set aside to provide incentives of up to $5,000 for buyers of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) under $45,000, or ZEVs below $55,000 with seven seats or more. Another $5-million would go to Transport Canada to work with automakers to set sales targets for EVs in the coming years. All of this works toward the party’s target of making EVs 30 per cent of all light vehicles on the road by 2030 . Conservatives Perhaps tellingly, a climate change debate scheduled for Oct. 16 at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because the Conservatives refused to participate. Of all the parties, the Conservatives have given us the least to look forward to when it comes to zero-emission vehicles. During a French language debate on Oct. 2, leader Andrew Scheer said that the party will continue the federal EV rebate program until the end of its schedule. He then quickly pivoted to talk of producing more Canadian gasoline. And let’s not forget Ontario’s short-lived $14,000 EV rebate, which was set up by former premier Kathleen Wynne and almost immediately cancelled when Conservative leader Doug Ford took office. The only nod to green vehicles from the Conservatives is their promise to work on developing electric vehicle technology, although there’s no definitive plan or budget. NDP Party leader Jagmeet Singh is a proponent of financial incentives for ZEVs, saying they will start at the same Liberal target of $5,000, as well as waiving the federal sales tax. But the party also promises to raise those incentives eventually to a whopping $15,000 to buyers. The caveat? The vehicles must be made in Canada, which means consumers have just one choice: the Windsor, Ont.-built Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Of course, this is a move to appeal to the Canadian Auto Workers union, but it’s highly unlikely – actually, pretty well impossible – that this will push automakers to move their ZEV production to Canada. The party also vows to convert government fleets to ZEVs, create what they call a ‘centre of excellence’ for ZEV research and development, expand the public charging network and give further incentives of $600 for home chargers, all toward a target of 100 per cent ZEVs on Canadian roads by 2040. Greens There are more incentives here, although not as many as you might expect. Leader Elizabeth May also vows to waive the federal sales tax on both new and used ZEV purchases. The party also plans to expand charging stations around the country, especially at government facilities, although there is no specific plan or budget. One oddity: While the Greens are promising to convert all Canada Post vehicles to EVs, there is no mention in their platform of any financial incentive for consumers to purchase battery powered vehicles, which is strange coming from a party whose entire platform – its existence, even – revolves around saving the planet. In summary From a purely consumer standpoint of someone who wants to put an electric vehicle in their driveway, the Liberals are the best bet by far, while the Conservatives don’t even merit a blip on the radar. But beyond financial incentives and infrastructure investment, there is one surefire way to get more Canadians into electric cars, and that’s by doubling or even tripling the price of gasoline. Unfortunately, every politician of any party stripe knows even the mere mention of that is political suicide. . .
  2. . Swiss Air grounds Airbus A220 jets after finding engine faults Tues., Oct. 15, 2019 - Bloomberg News Richard Weiss Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss has grounded its fleet of Airbus SE A220 jets after discovering technical faults with the model’s Pratt & Whitney-manufactured engines. The airline said it would suspend flights of the planes while carrying out inspections of the turbines. The move would lead to multiple flight cancellations, the carrier said. Swiss said it was talking to regulators, Pratt and Airbus about issues with the plane formerly known as the Bombardier Inc. C Series, now owned by the European airplane manufacturer. The carrier has suffered multiple incidents with the A220, including an engine failure on July 25 during a flight from Geneva to London when part of the turbine disintegrated over Paris. “Together with the engine maker we are supporting our customer in its daily operations,” an Airbus spokesman said by email. As of Sept. 30, Airbus had delivered 20 A220-300 models to the airline, as well as nine of the smaller A220-100 variants, making the unit of Lufthansa the largest operator of the aircraft. .
  3. . Drunken passenger jailed for 'vile' behaviour on transatlantic flight Fri Oct 04, 2019 - CBC News Blair Rhodes A drunken airline passenger has been sentenced to 30 days in a Nova Scotia jail for what a judge described as "vile and disturbing" behaviour on a flight that was forced to divert to Halifax. The Condor Airlines plane was en route from Frankfurt to Varadero, Cuba, on June 3, 2018, when three passengers became unruly. The behaviour of one of those passengers, Alexandros Moustakas, prompted the pilot to divert the plane. According to an agreed statement of facts entered at his sentencing in Nova Scotia provincial court in Dartmouth, Moustakas, 48, had brought liquor onto the plane and was drinking, despite being told not to. When the flight crew refused to serve him any more, his two travelling companions bought him additional drinks and slipped them to him. The court heard that at one point, Moustakas deliberately smashed his iPad. A crew member took it from him for fear the batteries could explode. Threats of violence At that point, Moustakas became verbally abusive. "This dirty w---e, I hit her in her stupid foreign face. I don't care if I break her jaw," he said, according to an English translation of comments he made in German. "As soon as we land on Cuban soil, I hit her in the face as there is no German law anymore." Moustakas went on to make sexualized threats against the woman and also gave the Nazi salute. He grabbed a second attendant, pinned her arm behind her back and forced her head down to her knees. When the announcement was made that the plane was diverting, Moustakas and his two travelling companions stormed the plane's galley to protest. He snatched a drink that had been prepared for another passenger and downed it. He then returned to his seat, telling another passenger he would "finish" him when the plane eventually reached Cuba. Judge says safety of crew and passengers was at risk Despite the violence and the threats, Moustakas was only charged with two offences under the Aeronautics Act, not the Criminal Code. "The vile infliction of sexualized verbal and physical violence against helpless and defenseless flight crew members, while in flight, thousands of miles in the air over the Atlantic Ocean, restricted in the small confines of an aircraft, with over two hundred passengers on board, is extremely aggravating as it put the safety and security of the flight crew and passengers at risk," Judge Frank Hoskins said in his decision. The judge noted that Moustakas had no criminal record and he accepted a defence argument that he has poor impulse control and that condition contributed to his behaviour on the flight. .
  4. . ‘Flying is not the enemy’: Airline emissions to take centre stage in Montreal before protest led by Greta Thunberg Aviation leaders under pressure to do more after overall carbon emissions hit record highs last year Tue Sep 24, 2019 - Financial Post 'She seems like a very happy young girl' MONTREAL — A global deal to curb carbon emissions from flying will take centre stage when the U.N. aviation agency’s triennial assembly opens on Tuesday in Montreal under the shadow of protests led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg later in the week. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which holds an assembly every three years, set out a major climate initiative at its last full gathering in 2016, but aviation leaders are under pressure to do more after overall carbon emissions hit record highs last year. The plan, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and the first of its kind for a single industry, is a medium-term scheme to help airlines avoid adding to their net emissions from 2020. Airlines, which are facing public protests over the issue, have urged ICAO to commit now to setting longer-term goals to reduce emissions at its 2022 assembly. “It is possible at the same time to fly and to reduce our carbon footprint,” said International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general Alexandre de Juniac, on a conference call with reporters. “Flying is not the enemy.” Thunberg, the teenage climate activist who admonished world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York for failing to protect the environment, will lead a street protest in Montreal on Friday. Commercial flying accounts for 2.5 per cent of carbon emissions. With passenger numbers forecast to double to 8.2 billion by 2037, experts say emissions will rise if no action is taken. The United States, which quit the Paris accord in 2017, backs the U.N.-negotiated CORSIA, which is supported by most airlines and would cap rising aviation emissions at 2020 levels through the purchase of carbon offsets. However, U.S. support is tied to other major aviation countries also backing the plan and a guarantee that CORSIA would prevent airlines from being subjected to separate and more costly carbon tax schemes by individual countries, a U.S. State Department official said. Europe, meanwhile, wants to keep its right to run separate emissions schemes. “We support CORSIA being a first step, a minimum at this stage,” said Pascal Canfin, chair of the environment committee of the European Parliament. “But we believe our sovereignty allows us to be more ambitious if we wish to be so, and this is something that all ICAO members should respect,” Canfin said. Allowing other offsetting programs would put a “double charge” on airlines and could weaken other countries’ resolve to participate in CORSIA, de Juniac said. He added that he did not believe Europe’s actions would put U.S. resolve for the deal at risk. ICAO cannot impose regulations but sets standards that are approved by its 193 member countries. The assembly runs from Sept. 24 through Oct. 4. .
  5. . The airline bosses who will welcome Cook's fall Sun 22 Sep 2019 - The Telegraph Oliver Gill Whisper it – especially when there’s 21,000 jobs on the line and 600,000 holidaymakers stranded – but there will be plenty of people in the airlines sector quietly rejoicing at Thomas Cook’s collapse. Harsh? Yes. True? Absolutely. Overcapacity. It’s a curious buzzword that has been doing the rounds in the industry for some time. Crudely put, the European aviation market has too many flights chasing too few customers. Even more crudely, there are not enough bums to put on plane seats – and that’s not just because they are getting smaller (the seats, not the bums). Thomas Cook, which ceased trading early on Monday, will do its bit in addressing an imbalance between supply and demand. Take-off and landing slots will be swallowed up quickly – and Thomas Cook has some attractive ones. There are 200 at Gatwick and 350 at Manchester. Who’d buy them? One can’t help but think that Virgin Atlantic would be at the front of the queue. With Sir Richard Branson only a minority – rather than majority – shareholder, Virgin executives have exhibited a feisty approach in recent weeks. The Gatwick slots are valuable enough on a stand-alone basis. Meanwhile, the Manchester ones could come in handy for Flybe – which is now effectively Virgin’s domestic UK arm – allowing it to connect passengers from the rest of Britain with Heathrow. All in all, a perfect springboard for Virgin’s new(ish) boss Shai Weiss to lay down a marker. Last week, he revealed grand plans to expand Virgin’s destination list from 19 to more than 100. When (or is it if?) Heathrow’s third runway is built, Weiss wants Virgin to be first in the queue to soak up the extra slots. Virgin, which staff on its inaugural A350 transatlantic flight insisted is a jolly nice place to work, isn’t afraid on capitalising on others’ misfortune. Striking a distinctly cut-throat tone, Weiss told journalists in New York that Virgin had made “millions” by flying British Airways passengers to and from the US during recent strikes by the flag carrier’s pilots. Many other airlines stand to benefit from Thomas Cook’s malaise. EasyJet, which was dumped out of the FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares earlier this year, has seen its profits squeezed. Lufthansa and Air France KLM, which admittedly operate under a different model, may also be granted some breathing space and be able to increase prices. Another beneficiary could be Norwegian Air, the debt-laden low-cost carrier that a year ago a majority would have said was the most likely candidate to be the next big airline insolvency. It’s now in the hands of Geir Karlsen, a beancounter, rather than swashbuckling former fighter pilot Bjorn Kjos – and things may be looking up. Last week Karlsen struck a key deal to delay repaying around £300m of corporate bonds. His plan is to get the airline back in the black by 2020. With a spending spree on new planes at an end, and creditors kept at bay, the financially focused Karlsen will welcome the chance to nudge fares up a touch. No one wants to see people lose their livelihoods, holiday plans ruined and a repatriation effort that’s estimated to cost £600m. But once the dust has settled – however this sad saga plays out – many of Europe’s airline bosses may well be breathing a big sigh of relief and quietly saying to themselves ‘Thank goodness’. Stag-do fliers beware Every time an airline fails the Civil Aviation Authority trots out a very similar line: contact your credit card provider to get your money back on flight bookings. The idea is that if a service can’t be delivered, you should be able to get a refund from your plastic friend under consumer rights laws. But watch out. Experts are warning that an insolvency the size of Thomas Cook will likely lead to a flood of claims. Those clever heads at the credit card firms may be able to wangle their way out of stumping up the cash. There are already warnings that you might not get your money back on group bookings. Families shouldn’t be a problem. But a stag do? The banks might be able to argue that only the purchaser’s flight is covered. The rest of the booking is akin to a cash transaction between said purchaser and the rest of his rabble. It’s rarely fun to be the person arranging a stag do. Here’s another reason not to do it. Slaughtered journalists One can only think that despite the dire situation, Thomas Cook top brass and its creditors must have had at least a little chuckle to themselves at the thought of a scrum of journalists standing outside the offices of City law firm Slaughter and May. The time and location of the pivotal meeting had been leaked late on Saturday night. What did they do? Moved to the headquarters of one its rivals, namely Latham & Watkins, just across the Square Mile. It couldn’t have been a ruse all along. Could it? .
  6. . Lone Boeing 737 Max criss-crossed Canada for pilot checks during grounding Wed Sep 18, 2019 - Reuters Allison Lampert and Tim Hepher MONTREAL/PARIS - While the world’s Boeing 737 Max fleet remains grounded after two fatal crashes, a solitary Air Canada plane has been spotted in the skies, shuttling between Quebec and Ontario. In a rare exemption, approved by Canadian aviation regulator Transport Canada, the 11 flights in August and September were partly to maintain the qualifications of senior training pilots, Air Canada told Reuters in response to a query about flight tracking data. A spokesman for Air Canada said the airline was not able to use similar 737s within its fleet “to maintain check pilot authority in alignment with (Canadian aviation regulations)”. “So we are utilizing the 737 Max during planned maintenance movements to maintain qualification.” Between Aug 28 and Sept 8, the Air Canada Max plane criss-crossed between Montreal, Val d’Or, Quebec and North Bay, Ontario, data from Tracking website FlightRadar24 shows. Then last week, it was flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona to be parked in a desert storage site. Although unusual after the grounding imposed worldwide in March amid concerns over an anti-stall system, the flights highlight growing pressures facing some airlines as they prepare for the return to service of the 400-plane Boeing fleet. The planes have been sitting idle since March following two crashes in the space of five months. For airlines like Air Canada, which did not have earlier versions of Boeing 737s in their fleets, this has made it difficult to make sure pilots can demonstrate the skills required to retain their licenses. As North America’s sole Max operator which had not flown the earlier 737NG, Air Canada cannot use that model to maintain the qualifications of its check or trainer pilots, the company said. So regulator Transport Canada authorized a select group of Air Canada’s check pilots to fly the grounded jet, which was also conducting maintenance flights, the airline said. All the jets have the same control software suspected of contributing to the accidents, which Boeing is now in the process of revising to smooth its impact. However, some pilots have said existing procedures can prevent similar accidents. Boeing declined to comment. MARKET BATTLE Transport Canada said in an e-mail that it authorized the flights “because the carrier does not operate the Boeing 737 NG aircraft, but the pilots still need to maintain currency.” However, one U.S. carrier questioned by Reuters said such flights would not be possible in the United States where pilot training was not included in a list of exemptions to the ban issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. “Pilot currency isn’t a listed exemption in the U.S. order,” an FAA spokeswoman confirmed. North American Max operators, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Canada’s WestJet Airlines, said they would only move their Max jets for maintenance and storage purposes. Air Canada’s position as a newly-converted 737 operator follows a seven-year battle between Boeing and Airbus over the introduction of airplanes offering bold new fuel savings. The introduction of the Max, an upgrade of earlier 737 models with advanced new engines, coincided with a bitter contest for market share between Boeing and Europe’s Airbus, which was offering its similar A320neo. The feud saw both plane makers use the transition to a new generation of jets to try to poach each other’s customers, and traders said Air Canada’s 2013 decision to switch from Airbus’s A320 family to Boeing’s 737 Max stood out as a major defection. Now, the decision to switch suppliers potentially weighs on some of those same airlines as they cope without a 737 fleet. Boeing has predicted that the 737 Max will be cleared to take passengers early next quarter. The FAA, facing growing international scrutiny over its certification processes, has said it cannot give a precise date for the approval of software and training changes carried out in the wake of the two accidents, which killed 346 people. FAA chief Stephen Dickson plans to fly to Seattle this week to test modified 737 Max software in a simulator. .
  7. Might be prudent to top up before Monday... Saudi Arabia oil production reduced by drone strikes
  8. . The DB pension plan business model has failed – and everyone is paying the price Tue Sep 10, 2019 - The Globe and Mail by Brent Simmons - Senior Managing Director & Head, Defined Benefit Solutions at Sun Life For the past 20 years, many private-sector companies across Canada followed the same risky strategies for their defined-benefit (DB) pension plans as they did in previous decades. Unfortunately, over this time these strategies cost stakeholders almost $158-billion and jeopardized the retirement security of millions of Canadians. As a result, many companies have abandoned these perilous approaches, but a surprising number have not. To better understand why new strategies are needed, think of the DB pension plan as a division of the company – the DB Pension Division. A company’s employees lend the DB Pension Division money in the form of deferred wages. In return, the company promises to provide a pension to those employees when they retire. Until then, the DB Pension Division invests this money with the goal of being able to pay these promised pensions. However, many DB Pension Divisions are investing this money in a way that’s mismatched from the bond-like promises they made to employees. They make bets on equity markets and interest rates in the hopes of generating excess returns that will make it cheaper to pay these promised pensions. Imagine – what do you think would happen if you went to your CFO and told her that you had a great idea for a new business. You want to borrow money and invest it in the equity markets to generate excess returns for shareholders. I suspect you’d find that it would be a pretty short and career-limiting conversation! So why would this idea work for a DB pension plan? What’s clear is that for the past 20 years, it has not. After a lot of ups and downs, the average DB Pension Division is essentially in the same place that it was 20 years ago from a funded-status perspective. In fact, the typical company contributed significant dollars to its DB Pension Division during this period. According to Statistics Canada, companies in Canada contributed almost $158-billion between 1999 and 2018 to shore up deficits in their pension plans. This means that a typical DB Pension Division earned a negative return – destroying value for shareholders who invested in the company. If the business model had been successful, the typical DB Pension Division would be well over 100-per-cent funded by now and these $158-billion of contributions wouldn’t have been required. It’s not surprising that some DB Pension Divisions stuck with their historical business models over the past 20 years. After all, interest rates were at historic lows and were widely expected to rise and equity markets had a long history of providing excess returns. So why didn’t things turn out as expected? The business model involves making multiple bets on equity markets, interest rates, credit conditions, foreign exchange rates and life expectancy. Companies need to win all these bets consistently as the gains from good bets can be wiped out by the losses from bad bets. Making multiple successful bets with the DB Pension Division is very hard to do – especially given the increased unpredictability of the markets over the past 20 years. In addition, most companies rely on the same investment managers as their competitors, which doesn’t create a competitive advantage for their shareholders. Given these challenges, many forward-thinking companies are concluding that the DB Pension Division’s business model no longer works – an appropriate conclusion for a division that’s been losing money for 20 years. The first step these companies take is realizing it’s better to take risk in their core business rather than in the DB Pension Division. General Motors was one of the first companies to articulate this strategy. In 2012 Jim Davlin, vice-president of finance and treasurer at General Motors, said: “We’re in the business of making great cars – that’s our core competency. It’s not managing pension investments to provide a lifetime income to folks.” The second step these companies take is changing the business model of their DB pension plan to embrace better risk management. These companies are investing plan assets to match liabilities and/or transferring portions of their plans to insurers through the purchase of annuities. The bottom line? Everybody pays the price for a failed DB Pension Division. Let’s not lose track of why we created pension plans in the first place – to help Canadians be ready for retirement. Isn’t it time to adopt better risk management and switch to a business model that works? .
  9. . Air Canada’s Transat takeover looks shakier than ever to investors Tue Aug 27, 2019 - Bloomberg News After battling a rival bid, Transat A.T. and Air Canada Inc. now have one more thing to worry about. The gap between Transat’s share price and Air Canada’s takeover bid is sitting at the widest ever — indicating investors aren’t confident the deal will get done. Canada’s transport minister Marc Garneau said Monday that officials need until May to review the proposed acquisition in order to ascertain whether the deal is in the best interest of the public. Transat’s stock closed Monday at $15.97 (US$12.07), more than $2 below Air Canada’s offer of $18 a share or $720 million. That was raised earlier this month from $13 in an attempt to fend off an unsolicited bid from Group Mach Inc., a Quebec real-estate developer, that’s offered to buy at least one-fifth of Transat for $14 a share. The tour operator’s shareholders voted 95 per cent in favour of the Air Canada bid last Friday. It’s now subject to other closing conditions, including approval under the Canadian Competition Act, the Canada Transportation Act and European Council regulations. The competition review is anticipated “to be the most strenuous given the overlap of the companies in Montreal and Quebec markets,” AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray said in a recent note. “The upcoming federal election could also expose the transaction to heightened levels of political discourse, which could make regulators reticent to approve relevant reviews.” However, Murray said he believes the deal will ultimately get the required approvals and will close by 2020. Scotiabank analyst Konark Gupta agreed that the deal will eventually get done but added that the “Competition Act approval could be relatively more tedious compared to other regulatory and government approvals” due to substantial overlap between the two companies in sun destinations and transatlantic markets. .
  10. . Pilots arrested at Glasgow Airport before boarding US flight Sat Aug 03, 2019 - BBC News Two United Airlines pilots have been arrested at Glasgow Airport for allegedly failing a breath test before boarding a flight to New York. The men, aged 45 and 61, have not been charged but remain in custody and are expected to appear before Paisley Sheriff Court on Tuesday. Police Scotland confirmed officers were called to the airport at 07:35 BST. The men were arrested before boarding flight UA162. It was expected to take off for Newark at around 09:00 but was cancelled. Pilots jailed United Airlines said in a statement the safety of its customers and crew was "always our top priority". It said: "We hold all of our employees to the highest standards and have a strict, no tolerance policy for alcohol. "These pilots were immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities. "At this time, we are working to get our customers back on their journey as soon as possible." A Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed two men, aged 61 and 45, have been arrested and remain in police custody pending a scheduled court appearance on Tuesday 6 August for alleged offences under the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. The legislation covers carrying out pilot duties while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The limit for alcohol detected in the breath for pilots is less than half the limit for drivers in Scotland. In 2017, two United Airline pilots were jailed for breaching drink-fly limits at Glasgow Airport. First Officer Paul Grebenc, 35, was sentenced to 10 months in prison. His colleague Carlos Roberto Licona, 45, was jailed for 15 months. .
  11. . How the Boeing 737 Max groundings made Swoop's operational problems even worse Fri July 12, 2019 - Financial Post by Emily Jackson WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop only has seven planes in service, so it’s no wonder passenger complaints ensued after unscheduled maintenance forced the budget brand to simultaneously ground two of its jets and cancel 23 flights during the past week. But Swoop’s operational problems were made even worse because of the prolonged grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes, said aviation industry experts. Although Swoop doesn’t operate any Max jets, it would typically turn to its parent company WestJet or a short-term charter to replace capacity if it needed to park a plane for longer-than-expected maintenance. But WestJet does not have any surplus capacity to spare since the Max fleet was grounded globally this spring after two fatal crashes, a move that required the Canadian airline to park 13 planes. “WestJet is totally ‘maxed’ out, as they have been scrambling to fill the gaps left by the Boeing Max fleet grounding,” Robert Kokonis, president of consultancy AirTrav Inc., said in an email. Airlines around the world are trying to fill those gaps with their remaining assets in an effort to keep up with demand during the busy summer season. Canada’s largest airlines, WestJet and Air Canada, have both suspended their financial guidance as it is not clear when authorities will approve the Boeing 737 Max fleet’s return to the skies. In the meantime, WestJet has delayed lease returns of older planes and held off on transferring aircraft to Swoop, Kokonis said. Other carriers with Max planes have taken similar measures, along with entering short-term leases for additional aircraft. “This has dried up the available pool of really short-term charter aircraft that could be popped into a schedule at short notice,” he said. Unfortunately, that meant disappointment for wannabe Swoop passengers who had booked tickets to destinations including Las Vegas, Halifax and Edmonton from July 5 to 10. Some were rebooked on flights as long as five days later when Swoop discovered an engine on one plane had a leaking oil seal and needed replacement. “This requires a significant amount of work and disassembly in order to fully repair the issue,” spokeswoman Karen McIsaac said in an emailed statement. “Swoop looked at leasing other aircraft, but due to the grounding of the MAX there is limited availability.” Swoop brought in extra staff at its contact centre to respond to customers by email and on social media, where the airline received a flurry of angry posts. It rebooked people on the next available Swoop flight and, if that wasn’t suitable, tried to find alternative arrangements or offered cancellations with full refunds. Swoop is conducting a full review of the incident so it can make changes to regain customer trust, McIsaac said. It has already determined the need for more support in the call centre, she added. Unexpected disruptions have an outsized impact on ultra-low-cost airlines such as Swoop, especially ones with such a small fleet, said Michael Taylor, practice lead for travel at research company JD Power. “It’s all about efficiency of aircraft,” he said. “They rely on keeping their aircraft in the air.” But it’s not just a budget brand problem. Rebooking passengers on any airline is more challenging than it was five years ago because an improved world economy has resulted in more people purchasing flights, especially in North America, Taylor said. Most people are flying on their own dime and aren’t particularly brand loyal, he said. Swoop’s problems over the past week are a “black eye,” Taylor added, but people will keep choosing it as long as its low prices bump it up the list on search engines. “Their business model is the lowest price,” he said. “That will attract people.” .
  12. . Air Canada imposes 'no fly' ban, demands $18K from woman after ticket scam Airline says online purchase of cheap ticket was like 'buying a television set in a bar' Mon Jun 03, 2019 - CBC News Eric Rankin A woman who says she unknowingly bought fraudulently obtained airline tickets online claims she's being treated like a criminal by Air Canada. Canada's biggest air carrier is demanding Ann Qian repay over $18,600 for return flights between Toronto, Vancouver and Shanghai — and has banned her from flying its routes until she pays up. Qian, 25, says like thousands of Canadians, she was simply buying online. And she calls Air Canada's demands "bullying." "They say I'm a liar, but they just don't want to know the details. They just [want] me to pay the money." Qian's lawyer and an air passenger rights advocate say Air Canada doesn't have the right to put her on its "no fly" list or demand she pay for tickets she purchased in good faith. But the airline says buying tickets online from an unverified seller is akin to buying a TV in a bar. Air Canada has rejected mediation, and the dispute will be decided in arbitration before the Canadian Transportation Agency. 3 unchallenged flights Qian came from Shanghai two years ago to train as a pastry chef at a college in Scarborough, Ont. She turned to WeChat — a Chinese messaging and social media app — to find cheap flights to visit her sister in Vancouver and her parents in China. She found a seller with the user name "CaptainCooll" who claimed to have access to "Air Canada employee discount" tickets. Screen captures provided to CBC News show an ad promising a "hot sale" of up to 50 per cent off. Qian says she didn't realize she was buying from a fraudster who was using a stolen credit card to book airline seats on behalf of unsuspecting clients, then pocketing their payments. She became a repeat customer after flying three times with Air Canada over almost a year and a half without an issue. Qian says she paid "CaptainCooll" $5,800 for the flights, which included "deals" on business class seats. 'Shocked, stressed' by ban But in November, when Qian went to Toronto's Pearson airport to catch her fourth flight, she was denied boarding and told she was on Air Canada's "no fly" list. "I'm so shocked why I'm on that list … so worried," she recalls. "It makes me very stressed." She was out-of-pocket for that Vancouver return trip — and for a pre-booked fifth flight to Shanghai — another $3,600. When Qian confronted "CaptainCooll" online and demanded her money back, he blocked her and then disappeared. Qian says she contacted Toronto police in April in a bid to find the fraudster . Air Canada demands $18,683.66 Despite Qian's personal losses, Air Canada insists she owes $18,683.66 for the fraudulent flights she took — and that it failed to detect. In a Nov. 29 letter, the airline demanded full payment in 45 days. That was almost double the total of $9,400 Qian had paid the fraudster. She was unable to pay Air Canada and says she has no idea how much the airline now wants, given the deadline has passed. 'Hazard to property' cited The November letter also cited Qian for "prohibited conduct" under the airline's tariff rule that covers "any unusual hazard or risk … to property." Air passenger rights activist Gabor Lukacs says that makes no sense — and banning Qian is beyond the power of a common carrier such as Air Canada. "If someone was threatening to beat up the pilot or if someone was smoking in the lavatory, those are grounds for refusing to transport a passenger," says Lukacs. "But an airline cannot refuse to transport someone … just because they have a [financial] dispute with a person." A friend helped Qian hire Richmond, B.C., lawyer Kailin Che. "It's unjustified. It's unreasonable," says Che. "There's not grounds for their actions … Air Canada shouldn't be going after the innocent consumer." Che also wonders why Air Canada didn't flag the problem sooner, calling the delay "baffling." Lukacs agrees. "It took Air Canada more than a year to detect the fraud. So how could they possibly expect the customer to know right away?" says Lukacs. Buying a TV in a bar But the airline refuses to back down. In an April 8 email, Air Canada's legal representative rejected Qian's request to lift the travel ban, chastising her for purchasing from a seller who claimed he was an accredited travel agent "without a modicum of verification. With due respect, this is akin to buying a television set in a bar." Contacted by CBC News, an Air Canada spokesperson refused to comment on the case, but suggested customers protect themselves by buying tickets directly from the airline's website, call centre or through an official travel agent. Qian says Air Canada's demand for repayment makes her feel victimized twice. "I think and feel as if life is no hope. You just stay home. I don't know how to figure it out. And start crying a lot," she says. "I do not trust anyone now." .
  13. . When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt: Lessons from WestJet's corporate flight path Martin Pelletier: Canada needs to end this typical business success lifecycle Tue May 21, 2019 - Financial Post by Martin Pelletier It was a big week in the Canadian airline industry, starting with Onex Corp.’s agreement to acquire WestJet Airlines Ltd. for $3.5 billion, followed by Air Canada’s announcement that it has entered into exclusive talks to buy Transat A.T. Inc. for approximately $520 million. There are a few important takeaways from the WestJet story that are representative of our overall business environment and the typical lifecycle of a Canadian success story. It usually begins with a new entrant that has identified a low-cost, high-quality opportunity to disrupt an entrenched incumbent that has become accustomed to operating within a highly regulated and protected industry. Initial growth can be quite rapid as consumers jump on board this exciting new service offering, but over time, unfortunately, it often ends with the disruptor slowly turning into what it was trying to disrupt in the first place. The reason: there is limited foreign capital willing to backstop what could be a nasty fight for market share among a few incumbents, or for funding a global expansion, especially when the company has disconnected with the disruptive culture it was founded upon. As a result, financial results can only disappoint for so long before the white flag is raised via a monetization event involving one of the other incumbents or, in this particular case, a Canadian private-equity investor eagerly looking to enter the industry. Taking a closer look at WestJet, it hit the ground running out of the gate by fostering a Western Canadian entrepreneurial culture from the ground up and directing it towards disrupting what has historically been one of the most difficult sectors to break into: the airline industry. This meant undertaking a non-unionized, employee-empowered and customer-focused approach to doing business. Employees were also early shareholders and, therefore, acted like owners in their interactions with passengers as well as in keeping costs under control. It was a beautiful thing to watch. This flight path worked amazingly well as consumers immediately flocked to this exciting new upstart. Following its launch in 1996, WestJet grew to employ more than 14,000 people, have a fleet of over 180 planes and fly to 100-plus global destinations. It also managed to grab 35 per cent of the domestic capacity market share, taking Air Canada down to approximately 50 per cent. Its international capacity market share increased to approximately 15 per cent, or half that of Air Canada’s position, according to industry researcher CAPA — Centre for Aviation. Then something happened. Having already captured a large share of the domestic low-cost travel market, the company appeared to hit a wall. Its growth profile was unable to effectively steal market share in other segments (international and trans-border bookings) from Air Canada and its strong loyalty program. Meanwhile, rising costs resulted in margin compression and WestJet’s earnings before income taxes and return on invested capital, which peaked in 2015, have tumbled along with its share price. For example, despite the recent takeover offer at a 67-per-cent premium, the company’s share price is still only up 25 per cent over the past five years compared to the near 400-per-cent gain by Air Canada. As a side note, Transat’s return profile looks an awful lot like WestJet’s, as it, too, is only up 38 per cent over the same period. This evolution really isn’t that unusual. We’ve witnessed the same story unfold in other oligopoly sectors such as wealth management, banking and wireless. That said, Canada needs to end this cycle if we want to start attracting foreign capital as well as become the launching pad for homegrown globally disruptive corporations to start taking off. .
  14. . Canada’s airline industry is being remade, which is good for business travellers, and bad for the rest of us Fri May 17, 2019 - The Globe and Mail by Andrew Willis Canada’s two largest carriers are remaking the country’s airline industry and the wheeling and dealing isn’t expected to stop until there’s a new owner for Porter Airlines Inc. Porter, the Toronto-based regional carrier with the raccoon logo, is in the enviable position of being a perfect complement to the country’s second-largest player, WestJet Airlines Ltd., which agreed to a friendly $3.5-billion buyout from private-equity firm Onex Corp. last Monday. The case for consolidation grew stronger on Thursday, when market leader Air Canada announced it’s in exclusive talks to acquire charter company Transat A.T. Inc. for $520-million. These two takeovers are driven by WestJet and Air Canada’s shared goal of putting more business travellers in their planes. The acquisition of Transat and any potential deal involving Porter hold no joy for the rest of the flying public. Airline consolidation in a country that limits access for foreign carriers is going to mean less competition, in the form of fewer seat sales and higher ticket prices. After announcing an offer for WestJet, Onex managing director Tawfiq Popatia said his company had no plans to stage what the private-equity types call a “roll up” strategy by moving quickly to snap up smaller rivals. And at Porter, spokesman Brad Cicero said the two recent deals “highlight general investment interest in the airline industry, but have no direct impact on Porter’s business. Porter is not considering a sale process.” However, in finance circles, there is widespread expectation Onex’s long-term plan for transforming WestJet into a far more serious competitor to Air Canada will involve additional acquisitions. Calgary-based WestJet’s potential interest in Porter starts with the airline’s network across the eastern United States, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. These are high-volume destinations, and Canada’s financial centre is minutes away from Porter’s main hub at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. For business travellers, convenience counts. Convenience is an issue when New York-bound passengers book a Porter flight. Their planes are routed through the airport in Newark, N.J., easily an hour from Manhattan. WestJet could shift those flights to its eight existing slots at a far more convenient airport, New York’s LaGuardia, which is currently getting a long-overdue renovation. The logistics of a partnership between Porter and WestJet work well. The two carriers already fly the same plane – the 80-passenger, propeller-driven Bombardier Q400. And both airlines can claim a customer-friendly service culture. It’s worth noting that Porter has been up for sale in the past. Its owners are founder Robert Deluce and his family – son Michael Deluce took the reins as CEO last month – along with private-equity investors Edgestone Capital Partners and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, or OMERS. The group attempted to take the company public in 2010, but pulled the offering when they couldn’t get the price they wanted, opting instead to sell the terminal in Toronto for an estimated $700-million. Looking further ahead, Porter has long lobbied for permission to fly jets from Toronto’s island airport. To date, the federal government has nixed the idea. But if a new generation of quieter jets is allowed to take off and land at Billy Bishop – a move endorsed by Ontario Premier Doug Ford – it would dramatically increase Porter traffic through Toronto. That sort of game-changing shift is straight out of the private-equity playbook followed by investors such as Onex. An equally seismic shift would result from allowing foreign airlines greater access to the domestic market, or the opportunity to own a Canadian carrier. The history of Canadian aviation is filled with airlines that soared for a time, only to hit turbulence and be sold to stronger rivals. That list includes Wardair, Pacific Western, Canadian Airlines and Air Ontario, which the Deluce family sold to Air Canada in 1986. The current round of consolidation is notable because it will see two deep-pocketed carriers with strong leaders – Air Canada under CEO Calin Rovinescu and founder Gerry Schwartz at Onex – vying to dominate the domestic skies. It’s a corporate battle that will captivate Bay Street and benefit the business flier, and leave the rest of us paying more to check our baggage. .
  15. Yeah, there were a lot of moving parts, not the least of which was Quebec court ruling that upheld provision in original AC privatization act that no shareholder could hold more than 10% of shares, Schwartz walked away immediately after that.