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  1. Lakelad

    Air Canada Various

    . 'That's just wrong': Air Canada backtracks on compensation after passenger gives up seat on overcrowded flight New air passenger protection legislation provides no guaranteed compensation for volunteers Sun Feb 03, 2019 - CBC News A Toronto man is fighting back after Air Canada failed to honour a deal to compensate him with an $800 voucher for giving up his seat on an overcrowded plane from Vancouver to Toronto — instead, emailing him a promotion code for a 15 per cent discount on a future flight. Daniel Tsai said he couldn't believe what he was reading when he opened the Air Canada email offering the discount instead of the airline's previous $800 offer. "It was like reading a Donald Trump tweet," says Tsai. "It didn't make any sense. Just bafflement. And, yes, I was angry." An air passenger rights advocate says airlines renege on verbal promises, because the airline regulator isn't cracking down when passenger rights are violated, and proposed rules don't address compensation for people who voluntarily give up their seats. "I generally recommend passengers not volunteer to give up their seats, because we hear too many cases like this one, where passengers have difficulty in getting compensation they were promised," says Gabor Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights. What led to the dispute Tsai visited family in Vancouver over the Christmas holidays, and was scheduled to fly home to Toronto on the afternoon of Jan. 4. When he checked in at an Air Canada kiosk at Vancouver International Airport, he got his first inkling something might be amiss. A prompt on the screen asked whether he'd be willing to voluntarily give up his seat. "I didn't really think much of it until I got to the gate," says Tsai. "It was just pandemonium. There were people sitting on the floor. There were babies crying. It was a miserable experience." Tsai says he didn't have a pressing need to get home, so he approached a gate agent, and volunteered to take a later flight. "I wanted to do something nice and help a family get home that night. I thought, you know, I should step up and do this." Tsai says an agent initially told him he'd get a $600 voucher in exchange for taking a later flight, to which he agreed. As he boarded his rescheduled flight six hours later, he says a gate agent turned her screen to show his file, pointing out a note saying that he would be compensated with an $800 voucher. The next day, instead of the voucher, Tsai got an email from Air Canada offering the 15 per cent discount on a future flight. He wrote back to the airline, pointing out that the deal was for an $800 voucher, and that's what he expected to receive. Air Canada replied, acknowledging that Tsai had indeed been offered an $800 voucher, but claiming he had been "moved to an earlier flight," so the 15 per cent discount stood. Tsai denies he was moved to an earlier flight, and provided his boarding passes, which showed his new flight was scheduled to depart more than six hours later than his original departure time. The Air Canada email said the airline was offering $300 for future travel as a "goodwill gesture." "I think that's just wrong," says Tsai, who is a business lawyer and part-time professor at Humber College Business School, where he teaches business law and marketing. "As a business professor, I consider that to be a marketing fail," he says. "I give Air Canada an F." 'There's a binding contract here' Another law professor — and expert on contract law — agrees that Air Canada needs to be schooled on customer service. "Certainly this feels a bit like Contract 101," says Michael Geist, who works at the University of Ottawa. As a regular Air Canada customer, he says he often hears the airline make announcements asking people to voluntarily give up their seat. "The airline offered up compensation, the passenger accepted it. It's not open to the airline to say, 'Well, we don't really like that deal anymore and so we'd like to change it.'" Law professor Michael Geist says a verbal contract is binding, so Air Canada is obligated to make good on its promise to give Tsai an $800 voucher. (Submitted by Michael Geist ) Geist says he's "perplexed" that Air Canada didn't honour a verbal promise, which was noted in Tsai's file. "Perhaps you have a company that thinks that passenger is unlikely to fight back and will be satisfied with whatever they offer," he says. "The notion that an airline wouldn't stand by what they promised, I think, is damaging to their reputation." Air Canada increases compensation Go Public requested an interview with Air Canada to discuss why it didn't honour its deal with Tsai. The airline declined, sending a statement that did not address why it didn't make good on its promise. Instead, it explained that the flight was overbooked because the original plane had to be substituted with a smaller aircraft "due to an operational issue." When Go Public asked what the "operational issue" was — whether it was mechanical, safety, staffing, or a case of not selling enough tickets on the larger plane and deciding to use a smaller aircraft to save staffing and fuel costs — the airline did not respond. After Go Public contacted the airline, Air Canada emailed Tsai again, increasing its compensation by $500. The email did not explain why he was receiving the new offer. Broken promises Lukacs says his passenger rights organization has heard from other travellers on various airlines who were promised things at the gate that didn't materialize. "It may be a promise for a hotel or meal vouchers by one agent — and then being refused by another agent, and being refused by the company's customer service," says Lukacs. "It's not uncommon, unfortunately." He says Tsai's case is a prime example of a passenger being misled. "This was sheer wrong," he says. "Air Canada got the passenger's seat in exchange for an offer for $800 in vouchers. Therefore, that has to be honoured." Files complaint Even though Tsai finally got the $800 compensation he was originally promised and a 15 per cent discount on a future flight, he's calling for the creation of an external watchdog that would make sure airlines inform passengers about their rights, and let them know where they can file complaints to get justice. "The odd thing is, I'm a law professor and I had to spend several hours researching this topic myself to find out what I had to do," he says. The business professor has turned his Air Canada experience into a lesson for his Humber College business students. He has created a PowerPoint presentation about how corporations handle complaints from the public. Tsai has also filed a complaint about his experience with the airline regulator — the Canadian Transportation Agency — a body he believes needs to crack down on airlines that violate passenger rights. .
  2. . Border Services vague on why passengers stranded in Goose Bay for 16 hours were kept on plane What has changed since 187 people were taken off plane and housed at CFB Goose Bay in 2015? Thu Jan 24, 2019 - CBC News Nearly five days after 250 passengers were kept on a plane for 16 hours in Labrador, the Canada Border Services Agency still isn't saying why they weren't allowed to disembark. Late Saturday night, United Airlines Flight 179 from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was diverted to Goose Bay Airport because of a medical emergency. Medical personnel met the plane and took the passenger to hospital, while the remaining passengers were kept on board and told the airport didn't have customs capacity to handle so many people. With the plane unable to take off due to a malfunctioning door, the airline brought in another plane that took the passengers back to Newark, leaving around 2 p.m. the next day. The agency declined CBC's request for an interview and provided an emailed response instead Tuesday afternoon, saying the Goose Bay airport is designated "an authorized AOE/15," which allows for the clearance and refuelling of scheduled air traffic "not exceeding 15 passengers and crew." Decision rests with the pilot: CBSA CBC asked the agency whether that means Goose Bay Airport doesn't have the capacity to handle unscheduled flights with more than 15 people aboard, and if so, what has changed since nearly 200 people on a diverted United Airlines flight in June 2015 were allowed to get off. In a followup response from the CBSA on Thursday afternoon, the agency did not answer those questions, but repeated Goose Bay's designation as an authorized AOE/15. In the 2015 incident, United Airlines wound up apologizing to passengers because they were housed at CFB Goose Bay, while the flight crew were put up at a hotel. CBSA's statement Tuesday noted its normal operating hours at Goose Bay Airport are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, but the followup response Thursday said its hours are 8 a.m. to midnight. A spokesperson explained via email that staff work in the office until 6:30 p.m. but the CBSA continues to provide service either from Goose Bay or from its Gander office. "There are procedures in place in the event of a flight diversion landing outside of normal CBSA working hours," reads the Tuesday statement, which also says the decision to request to deplane rests with the pilot of an aircraft. On Thursday, the agency's statement noted flights that arrive between midnight and 8 a.m. and require clearance are handled "on a cost-recovery basis." Asked if the pilot requested deplaning, the agency said Thursday afternoon it received a request from United Airlines around 6:15 a.m. GMT (2:15 a.m. in Happy Valley-Goose Bay) for CBSA service to deplane passengers. However, the agency later corrected that time to have been 6:15 a.m. NT, so 5:45 a.m. in Labrador. The statement said the agency began a "rotational disembarkation" for groups of 20 to 30 passengers at a time while waiting for the rescue plane, but did not state what time the first group of passengers was actually allowed off the plane. The status of the passenger taken off for medical reasons is unclear, as the agency said it doesn't speak to the specifics of any one particular case. .
  3. Lakelad

    Climate Change?

    Less than 1%
  4. . Competition watchdog launches predatory pricing probe of WestJet Tue Dec 11, 2018 - Globe and Mail Eric Atkins - Transportation Reporter Canada’s Competition Commissioner has launched a predatory pricing investigation of WestJet Airlines Ltd., after receiving a complaint the Calgary-based carrier and its Swoop division are undercutting competitors with below-cost fares in violation of the Competition Act. The commissioner filed a motion in the Federal Court of Canada outlining its investigation as it sought a court order that a WestJet vice-president be required to appear before the commissioner to explain the airline’s pricing, planning and scheduling and other information relevant to the inquiry. The competition watchdog launched its inquiry in November after meeting with representatives of Kelowna-based Flair Airlines Ltd. which alleged WestJet and its newly launched Swoop brand were offering seats on some routes at prices designed to force competitors out of the market. Flair alleged Swoop’s “anti-competitive conduct” made it stop flying its Edmonton-to-Hamilton route, and could force it out of the Canadian market entirely. “WestJet and Swoop are presently compiling information in answer to the bureau’s inquiry and will not be providing further comment at this time,” WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said. The watchdog’s request for a court order complaint was first reported by Ottawa publication Blacklock’s Reporter. According to the application made by the Department of Justice to Federal Court, Swoop allegedly priced its Edmonton-to-Abbotsford route at as little as $39, which equals 2 cents after taxes, fees and travellers security charges. Swoop offered one-way fares to Hamilton from Edmonton for $69, including taxes and other fees, for an effective fare of $28.59. Flair said its lowest all-inclusive price for the same route in 2017 was $149. Flair left that route, and Swoop is the only airline flying it at this time, the court document says. “Based on the commissioner’s inquiry to date, the commissioner has reason to believe that the parties have engaged in conduct that constitutes an abuse of dominant position,” the watchdog said in the court document. On Tuesday, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court granted the commissioner’s motion and ordered WestJet vice-president John Weatherill to testify at a later date before the competition inquiry. The justice also ordered the airlines to provide all documents requested by the Competition Commissioner. .
  5. Lakelad

    Travelling Over The Holidays..??

    fwiw - I'm able to post links in initial post using Firefox, IE11
  6. . When unions aren't necessarily the best support for employees In the case of Flair Airlines, the company gave union members improvements and new workers competitive wages. 'But CUPE wants them to strike' Nov 28, 2018 - Financial Post by Howard Levitt The question of whether unions can flourish in infertile soil is now salient in a labour dispute involving one of my clients, Flair Airlines. Flair was a charter carrier heading for extinction when purchased by investors wishing to develop a national carrier flying across Canada and to popular U.S. destinations at ultra discount rates. A service that Canada needs. Often when new ownership steps in, employees bring in unions for perceived protection against the unknown. It is a popular misapprehension that employees unionize for increased wages and benefits. Far more often, it is because of apprehended threats to job security or in response to abusive management. Flair’s flight attendants turned to CUPE, better known for representing white-collar public-sector employees than new private-sector entrepreneurial enterprises. But you take the union you get and, increasingly, unions, in decline in Canada and accordingly desperate for new membership i.e. dues, organize well beyond their historic craft/industrial boundaries. Negotiations quickly foundered on what ostensibly was an intractable problem. The flight attendants’ starting wages, which the new owners inherited at this heavily discounted fare airline, was 30 per cent higher than those at Air Canada Rouge (also represented by CUPE) or at WestJet’s Swoop. The flight attendants’ wages were even higher than those at Flair’s full-fare competitors, Air Canada and WestJet. This had not been a problem when Flair was a charter airline, since it simply passed those costs on to its clients, largely oil companies ferrying workers to Fort McMurray. When we pointed out in bargaining that these wages were unsustainable for a low-fare carrier and asked CUPE to brainstorm a solution with us, CUPE replied that it was there to obtain increases not negotiate rollbacks. The irony is that, if these employees had never unionized, Flair could not have reduced wages because that would have been a constructive dismissal. Once unionized though, constructive dismissal law no longer applies and there Is nothing illegal in negotiating, or even imposing, even massive wage reductions. CUPE quickly ended the meeting. I had our client advertise, everywhere it flew, for flight attendants at 30 per cent lower wages than it had been paying. CUPE was apoplectic. One can imagine the phone calls it was receiving from its members. We assured it that, as long as wages were frozen (a temporary legal requirement as a result of the certification application), we could and would not hire at this lower wage. I informed the union that we were advertising to “better establish market wages” to assist in bargaining and to have lower-cost employees available if CUPE decided to strike. At the next bargaining session, we shared that this young airline had received 2,100 job applications in just five weeks, all at the advertised lower wage. The meeting again ended quickly. At the next negotiating session, the company announced it would not reduce the wages or benefits of its current employees. On the contrary, it offered certain improvements. Reciprocally though, the wages and benefits of newly hired employees would be consistent with these advertisements and there would now be a two-tier wage system. Existing employees were relieved. Not only would their wages not be reduced as feared but they would actually obtain improvements. But CUPE has taken the position that it will not, as a matter of national policy, negotiate a two-tier wage grid. Usually unions ask for conciliation and run out the strike deadline to pressure the employer. But in this case, planning our strategy well in advance, we had months earlier asked for conciliation and run out the legal time frames, putting the union in a position to strike, Flair in a position to impose a lockout and, to the point, ending the legal freeze on terms of employment. When CUPE rejected our offer, we were then free to unilaterally introduce our new employment terms so that existing employees had the advantage of the improvements without having to pay union dues and all new employees were hired at the lower, advertised rates. CUPE is now attempting to convince existing employees to strike against employees who have largely not yet even been hired. Although both sides have a legal duty to bargain in good faith, there is no point in going back to the table. CUPE has made clear that it will not negotiate a two-tier wage grid and, from Flair’s perspective, its members are now working under the unilaterally imposed, new and better terms. If CUPE suddenly accepts the company’s terms, which I am confident it will not, employees will earn less because of union dues. CUPE has an organizational incentive not to agree to a two-tier wage system. I am advised that it has no two-tier agreement in Canada and it would be a terrible precedent for it in the public sector. But to what extent should that be a concern for Flair’s flight attendants? Flair has polled its employees to determine who will continue to work if CUPE strikes. A large number of flight attendants said that they will continue to work, certainly enough to operate the airline without disruption while new flight attendants are hired. Ironically, if CUPE’s strike were to make the airline unreliable to its passengers, Flair would quickly go out of business, thereby eliminating the jobs of all of its members. Flair has taken steps to ensure accordingly that a strike will not prevent it from reliably flying. It is hard to imagine why a flight attendant making 30 per cent more than their counterparts would strike just to be replaced by a person making less. Where is CUPE’s logic in this? CUPE has filed an unfair labour practice against Flair for communicating its position to its employees and asked the labour board that it be prevented from doing so. That strikes me as a rather desperate move since the labour board has not entirely eliminated employer free speech. But as things stand, new employees are being hired at the lower wage, consistent with other discount carriers, and existing employees are working under the new, improved employment terms and original wages — what could motivate employees to go on strike? .
  7. Lakelad

    Climate Change?

    . Ottawa’s carbon tax will send more passengers to U.S. carriers, Canadian airlines warn Fri Oct 18, 2018 - Globe and Mail Shawn McCarthy - Global Energy Reporter OTTAWA - Canada’s airlines are warning Ottawa’s planned carbon tax will increase airfares, reduce flights on marginal domestic routes and drive passengers to nearby American airports. The airlines' lobby group, the National Airlines Council of Canada, will send letters Friday to federal ministers, warning the levy will cause serious harm to the country’s carriers if it is fully imposed on them. It is urging the government to delay implementation of any levy on domestic flights until Ottawa can reach agreement with provinces and territories on a national approach that caps greenhouse-gas emissions but allows carriers to purchase credits to meet their targets. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to introduce a carbon tax on Jan. 1 in those provinces that do not have their own levy or do not meet Ottawa’s standards for one. Airlines will have to pay the tax on flights within provinces that are covered under the federal system, while the Liberal government works with other provinces and territories to forge a national approach on interprovincial flights. “It’s a mess; there’s no other way to describe it,” council president Massimo Bergamini said in an interview. "We’re seeing political expediency driving decision-making now at both the federal and provincial levels. And it’s compounding the effect on our industry.” The Liberal government is set to release in the coming weeks details of how its carbon tax will apply to individuals and businesses, including how various industries will be treated as they push for special breaks to address competitiveness concerns. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would not comment on the airlines' concerns, saying only that details of the tax plan will soon be released. The airlines are exempted from carbon levies for interprovincial flights under all existing provincial plans, including Alberta’s carbon tax or Quebec’s cap-and-trade system. However, carriers are bracing for the imposition of the federal tax in provinces where there had been a levy – or one was planned – that has been cancelled. That includes Ontario, where Premier Doug Ford ended cap-and-trade, and Manitoba, which cancelled its planned carbon tax. In Alberta, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has vowed to end that province’s carbon tax should he win power in an election scheduled for next spring. Mr. Ford’s decision to cancel cap-and-trade will result in higher carbon levies if Ottawa’s plan survives a court challenge by Ontario and Saskatchewan. The federal levy – which kicks in at $20 a tonne in January – will rise to $50 in 2022. Under cap-and-trade, Ontario’s carbon price was forecast to be about $23 a tonne in 2022 owing to the availability of cheaper credits from California. On the average flight within Ontario, the federal carbon tax would add $11.43 for every round-trip ticket when the levy rises to $50 a tonne in 2022, or $45.70 for a family of four, the council said. If the tax is applied to interprovincial flights, it would add $30.48 to a round-trip, non-stop flight between Toronto and Vancouver. Mr. Bergamini said the tax will not only drive up airfares, but could force airlines to cut service on routes that are already losing money or are only marginally profitable. It would also encourage travellers from cities close to the border to find cheaper U.S. flights. A $50-per-tonne levy on carbon emissions would cost the industry roughly $1-billion in 2022, according to a study done for the council. The airline council represents Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Jazz. The industry is pushing for a federal system similar to a cap-and-trade approach that would allow companies to purchase credits from other industries that can reduce their GHG emissions more cheaply. The international airline industry recently adopted a global cap-and-trade system that aims to hold emissions at 2020 levels through the purchase of credits. Fuel represents either the largest or second largest cost for airlines and Mr. Bergamini said his members have been investing heavily in more fuel-efficient aircraft. Between 2005 and 2016, the industry cuts its fuel for each kilometre flown on domestic flights by 15.6 per cent. But it is not clear airlines deserve any special treatment because of competitiveness concerns, said Dale Beugin, executive director at the Ecofiscal Commission, a think tank that works on pricing pollution. “I think it is quite likely they will just be able to pass along their costs to consumers,” Mr. Beugin said. “So yes, flights might cost more but I don’t see them losing market share to international competitors.” .
  8. . Air Canada, WestJet raising checked luggage fees Airlines increase fees to $30 for 1st checked bag, $50 for 2nd checked item Mon Aug 27, 2018 - CBC News Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. are raising fees for passengers to check their bags. The country's two largest airlines are raising the fee for the first checked bag to $30 from $25. They will also raise the price of checking a second piece of luggage to $50 from $30. Air Canada and WestJet say the increases follow similar fee bumps by major U.S. airline JetBlue Airways Corp., as well as rising fuel prices and other costs. For years, the airlines checked the first bag for free, a policy that largely ended across the industry by 2014. The increases were put in place this week for domestic flight bookings, and with WestJet are effective for international flights booked starting Tuesday. The fees apply to the lowest fare classes at both airlines. .
  9. Lakelad

    ID Check

    . Natives not the only folk beating on a drum..... Ministry contacting WestJet over outing of transgender passenger 'All passengers must feel safe to be themselves,' says Ministry of Transport spokeperson Thu Aug 16, 2018 - CBC News by Sarah Rieger Transportation Minister Marc Garneau has instructed his staff to contact WestJet after a passenger said one of the airline's gate agents outed her as a transgender woman to other passengers on her flight. "When the incident was first reported, the Minister instructed his office to get in contact with WestJet so that measures are taken to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring," said spokesperson Delphine Denis, in an emailed statement. Lenore Herrem was flying from Calgary to Saskatoon last week when she says the gate agent expressed confusion while checking her ID and boarding pass. Herrem's gender presentation is female, but her gender on her Quebec health-care card is marked as male. The accompanying five-year-old photo on the ID card also presents as male. But the name on both her ID and boarding pass matched. One of the agents was confused over the male ID, but Herrem said she quietly explained that she was transgender, hence the discrepancy. "My face is the same and my ID matches the name on my boarding pass," Herrem said. She boarded the plane, but shortly both gate agents boarded and the agent who had been confused again demanded her ID. "She said something like, 'Oh, that's not the name I remember seeing on the computer when I looked at it,' and she started spouting off different, other women's names that were not mine," Herrem recalled. "She rolled her eyes at me and said, 'Are you sure it wasn't your girl name that was on the computer?' … She outed me in front of the whole airplane." Company has apologized WestJet has since apologized to Herrem. The company is investigating and also provided her with a credit for her flight. Outing a transgender person against their will can put them in a dangerous or threatening situation and can have significant impacts on their mental health, according to the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust website, a non-profit group that works to improve the lives of LGBT people. "Canadians are proud of our country's diversity and inclusion. Minister [Marc] Garneau strongly believes that all passengers must feel safe to be themselves when travelling and is very upset about this incident," Denis said. .
  10. All oil refined in Ontario is sourced from North America with an approx 75/25 Canada/US split.
  11. Lakelad

    AC To Buy Back Aeroplan?

    . How Air Canada’s approach failed to land Aeroplan Fri August 3, 2018 - The Globe and Mail by Tim Kiladze After a week spent swapping counteroffers, it came down to an ultimatum. When the markets closed on Thursday afternoon, officials at Aimia Inc. were nowhere close to accepting an offer for their Aeroplan loyalty program from a group that included Air Canada, two major banks and one credit-card firm. The group, which launched a $250-million bid for the Aeroplan business on July 25, had agreed to increase the price to $325-million and change some other terms. At a meeting late Thursday in a Bay Street office tower, Air Canada and its partners decided to turn up the pressure, according to a source familiar with the talks. You’ve got 32 minutes to give us a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ the group said to Aimia representatives – and no more negotiating fine details. A half-hour later, Aimia walked away, leaving the fate of one of Canada’s most popular loyalty plans up in the air. Air Canada and its partners – Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada Corp. – have not indicated what their next move will be. Aimia took the highly unusual step of disclosing that it had asked for $450-million during the negotiations. In the meantime, it is pressing forward with its own restructuring plan, which includes trying to find new partners. Earlier in the week, the company confirmed that it is in talks with the Oneworld airline alliance, whose members include British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, and on Friday it announced a deal with Porter Airlines Inc. The arrangement will allow those flying Porter to collect Aeroplan points and Aeroplan members to use their points to book tickets on the airline, beginning in July, 2020. While Porter is small relative to Air Canada, it flies on crucial routes along the eastern corridor – particularly between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal – that are attractive to business travelers and are dominated by Air Canada flights. Aimia shares jumped another 8 per cent on Friday, bringing their total rise to 50 per cent since the Air Canada group’s bid. In its battle against the unsolicited offer, Aimia is fighting against a rich history. Air Canada built Aeroplan as its in-house loyalty program in 1984, then spun it out in a 2005 initial public offering. Aimia grew as an independent company – but then suffered a devastating blow last year when Air Canada said it would pull out of the companies’ partnership in 2020. For Aeroplan members, the ability to redeem points for Air Canada flights is by far the most important reason to belong to the loyalty program. The playing field in this takeover battle appears lopsided. Air Canada has teamed up with two of Canada’s largest lenders and also brought along the country’s largest credit card company. The four titans hold immense power, and they have huge balance sheets, which they argued could easily absorb Aimia’s $2-billion redemption liability – the estimated future cost of flights and other rewards for the billions of Aeroplan points that exist. Aimia, meanwhile, had been struggling to figure out its future. The Aeroplan business has always been heavily dependent on Air Canada, and the relationship matters so much to Aimia that when the airline announced that it would let their contract expire, Aimia’s stock fell 63 per cent in a single day. Amid the resulting turmoil, Aimia is on its third chief executive in 13 months. While it now has stable leadership in Jeremy Rabe, who started in May, the new CEO was just starting to turn the loyalty program away from Air Canada when the bid was made public. To win investors over, Aimia has used the consortium’s hardball tactics against it. By revealing that it brought its asking price for Aeroplan to $450-million, it made it clear that Aimia really was trying to make a deal happen. “We have a number of shareholders who are frankly upset that we offered a number that low,” Mr. Rabe said on a conference call Friday morning. “We think that was a very reasonable number – perhaps too reasonable.” Meanwhile, an Aimia shareholder expressed exasperation at Air Canada’s final bid. “We’re scratching our heads as to why the offer is so low." With the Porter announcement, Aimia has also demonstrated that it is not necessarily doomed without its current Air Canada contract. The company also confirmed that the revamped Aeroplan will allow members to book seats on any airline, which some members prefer, and is dangling the potential for still more new partnerships. Those developments put the $2-billion redemption liability in a new light. While Air Canada and its partners want investors to believe it will sink Aimia, which currently has about $530-million in cash to cover it, the liability is troubling only if Aeroplan members rush to cash in their miles before the Air Canada contract expires. After Aimia reported quarterly earnings Friday morning, RBC Dominion Securities analyst Drew McReynolds noted the latest numbers suggest there are “no signs of meaningful changes to member behaviour at Aeroplan.” Now Air Canada must play defence. On Bay Street, there are questions swirling as to why the airline apparently reversed course on building its own in-house loyalty program and sought to reacquire Aeroplan instead. It is possible that building from scratch is harder than Air Canada anticipated. Banking sources have noted that most potential financial partners are already tied to an existing travel rewards plan, which could affect a potential credit card deal for Air Canada. In an e-mailed statement, Air Canada rejected these theories. “The reality is that Aimia’s business plans are precarious at best, given their liquidity outlook,” said a spokesperson for the airline, adding that “there remains significant interest from numerous [credit card] partners.” TD and CIBC declined to comment for this story. Visa could not be reached for comment. While talks have broken off, Aimia’s CEO stressed on Friday that it would come back to the table and have a “constructive dialogue.” Whether that ever happens remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, everyone involved will have to find a way to get along: Air Canada remains an Aeroplan partner for two more years, while TD and CIBC, which issue Aeroplan credit cards, are tied to the program until 2024. .
  12. . Irregular migrants acting as 'anchor relatives' to help get family into the country: CBSA Thu Aug 02, 2018 - CBC News by Kathleen Harris Canadian border officers are reporting on what they call a "phenomenon" on the migrant front: irregular border crossers acting as "anchor relatives" for those making refugee claims at official points of entry. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says people who have entered the country through irregular migration can make use of an exception in the law facilitate the entry of family members — even when their own claims haven't been adjudicated. "Recently, CBSA officers are noticing another phenomenon: claimants who have recently arrived in Canada as irregular migrants and have refugee claims in process are acting as an anchor relative for other qualifying family members," says an information package provided to the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) by the CBSA. "This means that these family members can present themselves at a port of entry and not be considered as irregular migrants. Also, they can't be refused entry under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA)." The STCA is a Canada-U.S. treaty meant to manage the flow of refugee claimants across the shared border. It states that most people seeking refugee status in either country must make their claim in the first 'safe' country they arrive in —? either Canada or the United States. A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office told CBC News the data shows no evidence "that there is a trend of increased 'anchor relatives' being used to get around the Safe Third Country Agreement." Scott Bardsley cited figures showing the number of asylum claimants who were able to take advantage of an exception in the STCA — either because of the presence in Canada of 'anchor relatives' or because of some other exception to the treaty — dropped from an average of 531 per month in 2017 to an average of 318 per month in 2018. 'Loophole in a loophole' Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel tweeted about the issue late Wednesday, called it a "loophole in a loophole" and asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau how many might use it to claim asylum in Canada in the coming years. In an interview, Rempel said the Liberal government needs to explain whether the provision is fair, given restrictions on sponsorship for other immigration and refugee claimants. "Essentially what would happen here is that if you've illegally entered the country and claimed asylum after being in the U.S., if you have family members in the U.S. or can make it there, even if you don't have permanent residency status they could still claim asylum through the exception in the Safe Third Country Agreement," she said. "I do think this is something the government should be alerted to and concerned about." The Conservatives have been calling on the government to apply the Safe Third Country Agreement to the entire border, eliminating an exception for those entering the country outside of official border crossing points. 'Grandparents, siblings, nephews allowed' .
  13. . Air passengers still slowing down emergency evacuations by grabbing carry-ons, says TSB But airlines still aren't being required to warn passengers of the danger Tue Jul 31, 2018 - CBC News by Dean Beeby Canada's air safety agency says passengers continue to slow down emergency aircraft evacuations by stopping to grab their personal belongings, despite the warnings it has issued since 2007 about the dangers. But Transport Canada is resisting a longstanding recommendation that flight safety briefings for passengers include mandatory warnings against collecting carry-on bags and electronic devices in the event of an emergency. The grab-and-go hazard was cited earlier this month by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) in its report on a Jan. 5, 2018 fire aboard a WestJet plane on the tarmac at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. "During the evacuation, the FAs [flight attendants] issued instructions ... telling the passengers to leave all their carry-on baggage behind," says the report. "Despite these instructions, numerous passengers brought carry-on baggage with them, which slowed down the evacuation process." The incident is at least the third in Canada since 2005 which led the agency to warn of the dangers of airline passengers collecting their possessions before moving toward the exits. In August, 2005, passengers on a jet that overshot the runway at Pearson grabbed their carry-ons, ignoring the flight attendants' contrary instructions. The same thing happened after an Air Canada crash at Halifax airport in March 2015, the agency said, calling the practice "widespread" around the globe. Since 2007, the Transportation Safety Board has pressed Transport Canada to require airlines to specifically warn passengers about the dangers of grab-and-go — in pre-flight safety briefings or pre-landing briefings, in safety cards or during emergencies themselves. Transport Canada has declined to do so. Instead, it has issued notices encouraging airlines to voluntarily alert passengers to the dangers. The TSB now officially lists its recommendation as "dormant" because of Transport Canada's reticence. "It's a very selfish mode that people go into, to get our little gizmos and bags out of the overhead bins." .
  14. . 'Vaping' pilot caused Air China plane to plunge 6,500m Fri 13 July, 2018 - BBC News A co-pilot smoking an e-cigarette on an Air China flight caused the plane to start a rapid emergency descent, investigators have said. They say he tried to hide the fact that he was smoking but accidentally shut off the air-conditioning, causing oxygen levels to fall. The crew on Tuesday's flight from Hong Kong to the city of Dalian released oxygen masks and brought the plane more than 6,500m (21,000ft) lower. It later returned to cruising altitude. An initial probe by China's Civil Aviation Administration in China has shown that the co-pilot tried to turn off a fan to stop smoke reaching the passenger cabin without telling the captain, but turned off the air-conditioning unit instead. Passengers say they were told to fasten their seat belts as the plane had to descend. The regulator's safety officer Qiao Yibin said the crew had to perform emergency measures, dropping oxygen masks until they could figure out the problem. If a plane loses cabin pressure, the pilot has to bring the aircraft to a lower altitude to keep crew and passengers safe. Once they saw that the air conditioning had been turned off, they reactivated it and brought the flight back to its normal altitude. Authorities are reportedly investigating the cause "in greater detail", examining both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder to determine precisely what caused the incident. The airline promised a "zero-tolerance" approach to crew misbehaviour on Chinese social media site Weibo. Chinese flight regulations prohibit all flight crew from smoking, and banned passengers from using e-cigarettes on board in 2006. But there have been accusations of pilots smoking on board other Chinese flights, including in 2015 when the state-run radio spoke to passengers on a Hong Kong-Beijing flight who claimed to smell strong smoke coming from the cockpit. .
  15. Lakelad

    Climate Change?

    . Ontario scraps rebates for buyers of electric vehicles Thu July 12, 2018 - The Globe & Mail by Greg Keenan The Ontario government is eliminating rebates given to buyers of electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, a move that will delay the adoption of zero-emission vehicles that are considered a crucial part of the longer-term effort to fight climate change. The Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford said it made the move after cancelling the previous Liberal government’s cap-and-trade program, revenues from which financed incentives to purchasers of vehicles ranging from Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Smart mini-car to Fiat Chrysler’s Pacifica minivan. While battery-electric and plug-in hybrid sales now represent a fraction of the market, they are seen as the eventual replacement for the internal-combustion engine (ICE) in the 2030s and beyond as other governments around the world restrict the use of gasoline-powered vehicles or ban sales of them altogether. The end of the rebate system for vehicles and electric-vehicle (EV) chargers is the first of two Ontario government moves that will likely hurt EV sales. Mr. Ford has said he will reduce gasoline taxes by as much as 10 cents a litre. Lower gas prices have tended to discourage sales of fuel-efficient vehicles and encourage consumers to buy larger cars and trucks. “If experience has shown us anything, it is that EVs and fuel-cell-vehicle sales tail off dramatically without incentives to decrease the price differential between ICE vehicles and advanced propulsion technology vehicles,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, which represents the Canadian units of Asia and Europe-based car manufacturers. “This change in Ontario policy will be a setback for us, but will not stop the worldwide shift to EVs that is taking place,” Cara Clairman, founder and chief executive officer of Plug’n Drive, a Toronto-based electric-vehicle advocacy group, said of the change in Ontario’s rebate policy. The change will also complicate the federal government’s efforts to craft a strategy for zero-emission vehicles that would have been built on rebate programs offered in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, three of the four largest vehicle markets in the country. Quebec and British Columbia will be the only provinces offering rebates to consumers with the end of the Ontario program. The federal government is examining ways to increase the penetration of electric vehicles to 30 per cent of the national market by 2030 with a national recharging network also in place. The impact of rebates is evident from sales figures for the first quarter of 2018 compiled by consulting firm FleetCarma. Drivers bought just 116 of the vehicles in Alberta, compared with purchases of 1,400 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in British Columbia, even though the overall vehicle markets in the two provinces are about the same size. .