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  1. . Ottawa says it will sell back Mirabel land expropriated for airport in 1969 Mon Apr 15, 2019 - National Post MIRABEL, Que. — The Canadian government made a “big mistake” in 1969 when it expropriated thousands of hectares of land north of Montreal to build the ill-fated Mirabel airport project, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Monday. Roughly 3,000 families were affected by the expropriations in the 1960s. Some of those who lived through it attended the minister’s news conference north of Montreal. Garneau told them Ottawa planned to sell back the last remaining unused land it expropriated for construction of the Mirabel airport. “We learned difficult lessons, and I am sorry you were the victims of that,” Garneau said. The project was supposed to turn the Mirabel airport into the main air travel hub for the Montreal region. But that vision never came to be. The airport never caught on with passengers, and its terminal was demolished in 2014. It now serves only cargo airlines. About 38,800 hectares of farmland were expropriated by Ottawa in the 1960s to make way for the project. The federal government had sold back 32,000 hectares in the 1980s, and in 2006 it began returning what remained outside the airport zone. But it excluded 300 hectares that were inaccessible by road. That obstacle was removed in 2016 when Ottawa and the city of Mirabel reached an agreement to open up the last bit of territory. Monday’s announcement was related to the final unused 300 hectares and it ends the long-running dispute over expropriated lands outside the airport zone. But the city of Mirabel continues to eye excess lands within the airport zone for industrial development purposes. Rita Lafond, one of the people expropriated 50 years ago, said the government’s decision “caused great suffering.” She asked if Garneau was able to formally apologize on behalf of the Canadian government. Garneau said he didn’t have the mandate to do that. Marcel Denis, whose father was expropriated in the 1960s, is the president of the local chapter of a major farmers’ union in the province. He said the 300 hectares were once maple syrup farms. “It’s clear that for 50 years, no one took care of the trees,” he said. “But the potential is still there.” The decision on what to do about the land within the airport zone will be put to public consultation, Garneau said. He added that any consultations need to include the Mohawks of Kanesatake. Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon told the news conference that the airport is located on territory promised to the Mohawks in 1760. “Minister Garneau is the first person to have given us a minimum amount of consideration,” Simon said. “All the others ignored us.” .
  2. . Airlines urging Ottawa to delay July 1 launch of passenger bill of rights Mon Apr 08, 2019 - The Globe & Mail by Bill Curry Canada’s airlines are mounting a last-minute push to delay the July 1 launch of a new passenger-rights regime that promises to compensate customers for long delays and overbooked flights. The new rules outline specific dollar amounts that passengers must receive as compensation from airlines when they face delays that are clearly under the control of the air carrier, meaning delays related to outside factors – such as the weather – would be exempt. The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Air Canada, Air Transat and Westjet Airlines Ltd, is among the many organizations urging federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to delay the new rules. The council’s president, Massimo Bergamini, said it appears Mr. Garneau’s deadline is inspired by a political desire to deliver on a promise. “It’s happening because there’s an election,” he told The Globe and Mail. “Singling out the air carriers will not improve the air travel experience.” The Transport Minister, however, appears to be sticking with the timeline. “We are determined to bring Canadian travellers these long overdue rights and are working very hard to do so as quickly as possible,” Mr. Garneau said in a statement. The minister’s office provided a list of meetings, surveys and written submissions received from stakeholder groups as evidence of the consultations that have already occurred in preparation for the new rules. The airlines have convinced other groups connected to Canada’s aviation sector – including Toronto’s Pearson airport, the Calgary International Airport and Unifor – to join the letter writing effort. “Potential cost impacts are in the hundreds of millions, our ability to grow jobs in this economically important sector could be severely impeded and, more importantly, we are deeply concerned that jobs will be lost,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias wrote in a letter dated Feb. 19. “Rushing implementation of these regulations to July 1st is not realistic.” The union, which represents front-line workers at Canada’s airports, is concerned that potential problems with the new system will happen during the peak summer travel season. Ferio Pugliese, a senior vice-president with Air Canada, said in an interview that industry needs more time to prepare. He noted that airlines already have similar compensation policies in place and warned that pushing ahead with the July 1 start date will likely drive up costs and ultimately ticket prices. “We are not the enemy. We exist because of the customer,” he said. “If we’re going to put regulations in place to help even further protect customers, let’s make sure we do it in a fashion that’s informed. And right now, we don’t believe it’s very informed.” Mr. Garneau introduced the passenger bill of rights as part of a broader piece of transportation legislation in May, 2017. The legislation received Royal Assent a year later. The government then published detailed regulations in December outlining specific compensation levels that would apply in specific situations. For instance, large carriers would be required to compensate a passenger with $400 for a delay of between three and six hours. The amount would rise to $700 for a delay over six hours and $1,000 if the delay is longer than nine hours. For passengers who are denied boarding because a flight has been oversold, the rules call for $900 in compensation for a delay under six hours and up to $2,400 if a delay exceeds nine hours. However, those regulations are not the final version. After reviewing feedback, the government must still publish the final version of the regulations, which has not yet happened. The airlines say that does not leave them with enough time to make the required policy changes and related booking software updates in place by July 1. Hillary Marshall, vice-president of stakeholder relations and communications for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the group representing Pearson airport will also be sending a letter to Mr. Garneau. “The carriers approached us with concerns about the implementation time,” she said. “We support their efforts to ask Transport Canada to take more time to allow industry to make sure the passenger bill of rights is property implemented.” Reid Fiest, a spokesman for the Calgary Airport Authority, said the airport has also written to Mr. Garneau. “We believe if implementation is rushed, costs for airlines will increase, which would lead to higher fares being passed onto Canadians,” he said. Consumer advocate Gabor Lukacs, founder and co-ordinator of Air Passenger Rights, said he’s surprised the airlines are opposing the new rules. Mr. Lukacs said in his opinion, consumers will often be worse off under the new rules when they seek compensation for delays. “The proposed rules make things worse for Canadian travellers, that’s rather clear,” he said. “Although they provide some bombastic numbers, the conditions for getting compensation are so hard to meet that people, in practice, will virtually never seen any money.” .
  3. . The world pulls the Andon Cord on the 737 Max Tue Mar 12, 2019 - The Air Current -Jon Ostrower The 737 Max was born in the Admirals Club Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On July 20, 2011, American Airlines was announcing it was buying 460 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to renew its fleet. One hundred were for a yet-to-be launched and yet-to-be named version of the 737 with new engines. American had purchased Boeing jets nearly exclusively for decades and Airbus had worked on American unceasingly to break Boeing’s hold at what would eventually become the world’s largest airline. It pulled out all the stops. Just 10 days before, top Airbus executives waited to meet American’s then-CFO Tom Horton in the sweltering Texas heat at the finish line of the Texas Too Hot 15K footrace to make the final hard sell. It worked. The deal had set off a chain of events that lead to today — a global safety crisis facing Boeing’s most important airplane. Boeing wanted to replace the 737. The plan had even earned the endorsement of its now-retired chief executive. “We’re gonna do a new airplane,” Jim McNerney said in February of that same year. “We’re not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to an all-new airplane at the end of the decade.” History went in a different direction. Airbus, riding its same decades-long incremental strategy and chipping away at Boeing’s market supremacy, had made no secret of its plans to put new engines on the A320. But its own re-engined jet somehow managed to take Boeing by surprise. Airbus and American forced Boeing’s hand. It had to put new engines on the 737 to stay even with its rival. Boeing justified the decision thusly: There were huge and excruciatingly painful near-term obstacles on its way to a new single-aisle airplane. In the summer of 2011, the 787 Dreamliner wasn’t yet done after billions invested and years of delays. More than 800 airplanes later here in 2019, each airplane costs less to build than sell, but it’s still running a $23 billion production cost deficit. A new single-aisle jet risked unlocking all its stalwart operators who banked on the continuity between 737 generations. An all-new jet meant leaving the past behind, along with its established infrastructure. With a lower-cost alternative in the A320neo not hamstrung by having to pay for a fresh $15 billion development, a new Boeing jet risked giving Airbus dominant market share. In the wake of a record oil run-up in 2008, airlines wanted fuel efficiency at a current-technology price. The 737 Max was Boeing’s ticket to holding the line on its position – both market and financial – in the near term. Abandoning the 737 would’ve meant walking away from its golden goose that helped finance the astronomical costs of the 787 and the development of the 777X. The 737 Max is a product of that environment where short-term decision-making can drive big and often painful pushes for product improvement. It’s one that I’ve written about extensively over the years, and born from the work of academics like Dr. Theodore Piepenbrock and his work on the Evolution of Business Ecosystems. Every airplane development is a series of compromises, but to deliver the 737 Max with its promised fuel efficiency, Boeing had to fit 12 gallons into a 10 gallon jug. Its bigger engines made for creative solutions as it found a way to mount the larger CFM International engines under the notoriously low-slung jetliner. It lengthened the nose landing gear by eight inches, cleaned up the aerodynamics of the tail cone, added new winglets, fly-by-wire spoilers and big displays for the next generation of pilots. It pushed technology, as it had done time and time again with ever-increasing cost, to deliver a product that made its jets more efficient and less costly to fly. In the case of the 737 Max, with its nose pointed high in the air, the larger engines – generating their own lift – nudged it even higher. The risk Boeing found through analysis and later flight testing that under certain high-speed conditions both in wind-up turns and wings-level flight, that upward nudge created a greater risk of stalling. Its solution was MCAS, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System control law that would allow for both generations of 737 to behave the same way, by automatically trimming the horizontal stabilizer to bring the nose down and activated with Angle of Attack data. It’s now at the center of the Lion Air investigation and stalking the periphery of the Ethiopian crash. The point, made awkwardly by the President of the United States Tuesday morning on Twitter without naming Boeing directly, was that the complexity of aviation technology was being pushed too hard and at too great a cost to safety, in the name of economics. “Split second decisions are needed, and then complexity creates danger,” Trump wrote. “All of this for great cost yet very little gain.” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg reportedly spoke with President Trump earlier Tuesday, urging him not to ground the jet. Lion Air 610 should never have been allowed to get airborne on October 29, a conclusion shared by those familiar with the inquiry. The plane simply wasn’t airworthy. According to the preliminary investigation, PK-LQP’s Angle of Attack sensors were disagreeing by 20-degrees as the aircraft taxied for takeoff. A warning light that would’ve alerted the crew to the disagreement wasn’t part of the added-cost optional package of equipment on Lion Air’s 737 Max aircraft. A guardrail wasn’t in place. Once the aircraft was airborne, the erroneous data Angle of Attack collided with an apparently unprepared crew with tragic consequences as the MCAS system repeatedly activated, driving the jet’s nose into a fatal dive. We do not yet know what befell Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. The broad circumstances are similar to those in Indonesia. An apparent loss of control shortly after takeoff on a brand new airplane. The isolated event data, the information that lives on the damaged flight data recorder, may establish or disprove a direct technical link between the two crashes. But the macro-data – the broader context – is an airplane whose design has been repeatedly pushed and pulled under cost pressures and grandfathered certification requirements over decades, finds itself in the middle of two catastrophic aberrations in an era of unprecedented aviation safety. If it was Southwest Airlines and American Airlines and not Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines five months apart, the 737 Max fleet would’ve been grounded by Sunday evening, according to senior U.S. industry officials and aviation safety experts. In aviation universe that requires stakeholders to be aligned, the events of the last 48 hours are a stark divergence. From China to Europe, regulators and airlines have said it was time to stand down the 737 Max fleet “as a precautionary measure,” according to European Aviation Safety Agency. Boeing in a statement Tuesday said, “We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets.” The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday in a statement that “our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding of the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action…If any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.” The 737 assembly line in Renton, Wash. is a marvel of lean manufacturing. The line inches forward little-by-little as assembly proceeds. Born from Toyota’s production methods, the process is one of continual improvement. It’s what made the 737 the lifeblood of Boeing in the first place and why this crisis, taken to its most extreme, could threaten the company’s very existence. But the assembly line also comes with a tool called an Andon cord. The cord empowers all employees to pull the it and stop the line if something is amiss or requires investigation and needs fixing. The rest of the world has already pulled it. .
  4. . NEB says Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in public interest despite ‘adverse’ impact on whale population 'Environmental activists decried the NEB report' .
  5. . WestJet is in trouble. Is becoming more like Air Canada the fix? Born as a scrappy discount upstart, WestJet has suffered through internal upheavals and badly lagged Air Canada in recent years. But now the airline is adding big new planes, a business class with lie-flat seats, an ultra-low-cost subsidiary and much more. Is any of it going to work? Thu Feb 21, 2019 - Globe and Mail Joe Castaldo Last May, Ed Sims took the stage in an airplane hangar in Calgary in front of throngs of WestJet Airlines Ltd. employees. With the sweaty, almost endearing awkwardness that middle-aged men can’t shake during moments like this, the CEO goosed his audience to wave their hands in the air. “Play louder! Give it more!” Sims shouted to the DJ, and whipped off his suit jacket and tie. Once he deemed the crowd sufficiently enthused, Sims got to the matter at hand. “It’s not every day an airline gets to usher in a completely new business model,” he said. Standing onstage wasn't a place Sims expected to be when he joined WestJet a year earlier. CEO succession wasn't even part of the discussion when he left New Zealand to move 12,000 kilometres to Calgary to join WestJet as an executive vice-president. But last March, then-CEO Gregg Saretsky stepped down abruptly, and two months later, here Sims was, charged with spearheading an ambitious international expansion plan. Sims was showcasing an artist's rendering of WestJet's new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient widebody jet that will allow the airline to fly greater distances—perhaps someday to Asia. Ensconced in the 787s will be WestJet's first true business class cabin. Onstage, he cued up a promo video. The camera lingered on the stitching of the leather seats before panning to a businessman dining with a cloth napkin. Other passengers wandered around blissfully, stopping to chat at a wine bar. Come nighttime, our businessman donned pajamas and cozied up with a blanket, fully reclined in a lie-flat seat and still scrolling through his smartphone. Work never stops for our road warrior. Born in 1996 as a scrappy domestic discount airline, WestJet now wants to attract well-heeled business travellers who will drop thousands for first-class service. In 2017, WestJet placed orders for 10 Dreamliners with an option for 10 more and will take delivery of three by March. Seven more will arrive over the next two years. The first international Dreamliner takes flight from Calgary to London in April, with Paris and Dublin to follow. The airline has also added a new highend tier to its loyalty program to entice bigger spenders. It's all very unlike WestJet, the once-humble, low-cost, lowfare carrier known for corny in-flight jokes. But just what kind of airline it is these days is up in the air. Three of its four founders left long ago. The exception, and one of the last links to WestJet's early days, is Clive Beddoe, 72, who remains chair and a large shareholder. If you ask Sims, he’ll tell you that “WestJet is a low-fare domestic airline, with a premium international arm,” which is a mouthful. What he won’t quite say directly is that WestJet increasingly resembles its archrival. Sims won’t even say the name Air Canada in an interview, referring to it as “our competitor.” He also jokes he’ll call it Voldemort, named after Harry Potter’s nemesis. Both carriers have separate budget-oriented airlines, regional brands and mainline offerings. Sims’s play for business travellers marks another push into Air Canada’s territory. But as WestJet strays from its roots, it risks losing what made it unique. WestJet's appeal to investors over Air Canada has always been its lower cost structure, healthy balance sheet and gung-ho workplace culture. “We see these advantages quickly disappearing,” wrote CIBC analyst Kevin Chiang in a note last year. WestJet pilots unionized in 2017, and flight attendants joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) last August. There are rumblings other groups could be next. “It's just so shocking that it would happen at WestJet,” says Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. LLC. The company’s sagging share price reflects the stock market’s deep concern. WestJet suffered its first quarterly loss in 13 years in 2018, as its non-union operation started to crack. Over the past five years, WestJet’s share price has sunk by about 25%, while Air Canada’s has soared by more than 270%. WestJet's push for growth is putting more pressure on the airline's culture and its financials. Sims, 55, will have to repair relations with employees and improve profitability, all while guiding the airline into uncertain territory when the 787s take flight. The market is clearly skeptical, but Sims is fully committed to reversing the malaise. After revealing a 3-D rendering of WestJet's 787 on stage last May, he wiped a mock tear from his eye and asked, “Isn't that beautiful?” “I’ll stand corrected, but I don’t think there is anybody else who will be offering a full lie-flat bed service into Gatwick,” “There’s probably a reason the other guys don’t do it.” .
  6. . '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. .
  7. . 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. .
  8. . 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. .
  9. fwiw - I'm able to post links in initial post using Firefox, IE11
  10. . 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? .
  11. . 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.” .
  12. . 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. .
  13. . 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. .
  14. All oil refined in Ontario is sourced from North America with an approx 75/25 Canada/US split.