Air Canada's COVID-19 actions


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Back on topic, I received an email from AC/Aeroplan yesterday. They are extending my current reward status for an extra year until the end of 2021.

I wonder if Westjet will do the same?

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For those directly affected by these very difficult decisions as well as those now looking over their shoulder... Having seen a bit of this in a previous life, this too, shall eventually pass to

After reading this thread my thoughts went back 20 years to a recorded telephone message, from Robert Milton, to all employees explaining the Canadian Merger.  His explanation to employees was the Fed

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3 hours ago, J.O. said:

Back on topic, I received an email from AC/Aeroplan yesterday. They are extending my current reward status for an extra year until the end of 2021.

I wonder if Westjet will do the same?

I am expecting the big hotel chains to do the same, I hope . . . . . . . .

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42 minutes ago, AIP said:

I am expecting the big hotel chains to do the same, I hope . . . . . . . .

I wonder if this situation will lead to even more consolidation in that area. There's only five or six big players left, could that reduce even further? Will Marriott take over the whole world?

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1 hour ago, J.O. said:

I wonder if this situation will lead to even more consolidation in that area. There's only five or six big players left, could that reduce even further? Will Marriott take over the whole world?

I believe this is the tip of the iceberg, consolidation will take place in may different industries after this, not just travel and tourism.

 

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Take a look at US analyst guidance and commentary from EU.

Most do not see recovery to 2019 traffic levels until 2022. Some estimating 2023.

There will be failures. Potentially consolidation. But operational integration during a depressed market environment is not an optimal strategy.

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This is interesting...

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/04/07/air-canada-to-immediately-rehire-more-than-16000-workers.html

Air Canada to immediately rehire more than 16,000 workers

More than 16,000 workers laid off by Air Canada last week in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are being hired back by the airline, the Star has learned.

The official announcement is expected to come Wednesday after discussions between federal officials, the airline and its unions about whether the company would be eligible for the 75 per cent wage subsidy announced as part of the government’s COVID-19 aid package.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), announced April 1, is directed at companies who have seen their revenues drop by at least 30 per cent because of the pandemic.

 

According to a draft copy of an Air Canada press release the airline meets that qualification. Air Canada didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A source familiar with Air Canada’s decision confirmed the contents of the release.

The rehiring would be retroactive to March 15 and run at least until the end of the CEWS program on June 6, the release quoted Air Canada CEO Calin Rovanescu as saying.

“The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is an extremely important program to help employees and employers during this time of crisis, and as one of Canada’s largest employers most affected by COVID-19, we want to acknowledge the leadership of the Government of Canada in introducing it,” Rovinescu said in the release. Rovinescu and Air Canada’s chief financial officer, Michael Rousseau, are also giving up 100 per cent of their salaries, the press release said.

“We are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help. Depending on wage levels, many furloughed employees will get a somewhat higher amount under CEWS than they would otherwise receive from Employment Insurance payments, plus they will maintain their health insurance and other benefit,” Rovinescu said in the release.

 

Air Canada, the press release said, has reduced its seat capacity by 85 to 90 per cent in the wake of COVID-related travel restrictions.

According to a draft of the CEWS bill obtained by the Star, Ottawa is now willing to cover the majority of wages for businesses that lost 15 per cent of their revenue in March, instead of the steeper 30 per cent the government had proposed earlier.

But businesses still need to demonstrate the larger 30 per cent drop in revenue to get the subsidy in April and May, compared with the same months one year earlier, the draft bill says.

The draft also includes new flexibility by allowing certain businesses to use January and February as the reference point for their falling revenue.

 

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1 hour ago, deicer said:

This is interesting...

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/04/07/air-canada-to-immediately-rehire-more-than-16000-workers.html

Air Canada to immediately rehire more than 16,000 workers

More than 16,000 workers laid off by Air Canada last week in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are being hired back by the airline, the Star has learned.

The official announcement is expected to come Wednesday after discussions between federal officials, the airline and its unions about whether the company would be eligible for the 75 per cent wage subsidy announced as part of the government’s COVID-19 aid package.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), announced April 1, is directed at companies who have seen their revenues drop by at least 30 per cent because of the pandemic.

 

According to a draft copy of an Air Canada press release the airline meets that qualification. Air Canada didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A source familiar with Air Canada’s decision confirmed the contents of the release.

The rehiring would be retroactive to March 15 and run at least until the end of the CEWS program on June 6, the release quoted Air Canada CEO Calin Rovanescu as saying.

“The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is an extremely important program to help employees and employers during this time of crisis, and as one of Canada’s largest employers most affected by COVID-19, we want to acknowledge the leadership of the Government of Canada in introducing it,” Rovinescu said in the release. Rovinescu and Air Canada’s chief financial officer, Michael Rousseau, are also giving up 100 per cent of their salaries, the press release said.

“We are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help. Depending on wage levels, many furloughed employees will get a somewhat higher amount under CEWS than they would otherwise receive from Employment Insurance payments, plus they will maintain their health insurance and other benefit,” Rovinescu said in the release.

 

Air Canada, the press release said, has reduced its seat capacity by 85 to 90 per cent in the wake of COVID-related travel restrictions.

According to a draft of the CEWS bill obtained by the Star, Ottawa is now willing to cover the majority of wages for businesses that lost 15 per cent of their revenue in March, instead of the steeper 30 per cent the government had proposed earlier.

But businesses still need to demonstrate the larger 30 per cent drop in revenue to get the subsidy in April and May, compared with the same months one year earlier, the draft bill says.

The draft also includes new flexibility by allowing certain businesses to use January and February as the reference point for their falling revenue.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/air-canada-hiring-wage-subsidy-1.5525926?fbclid=IwAR22XB6phd_VhsI4UGojRgNjSSpcTofb_0-S7U6eTlYiOo94qoyWgtAPqi8

 

Just wait to see the ire when CBC allows comments!! 

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2 hours ago, runaway said:

They aren't allowing comments - a trend that seems to be more frequent in these days of highly stressed people sitting in mom's basement with far too much time on their hands.

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Posted (edited)

AC operating quite a few all-cargo flights. 

 

https://www.aircargonews.net/airlines/air-canada-cargo-issues-covid-19-operations-update/

 

Air Canada Cargo issues Covid-19 operations update

08 / 04 / 2020 

By Rachelle Harry

Air Canada has significantly reduced its number of flights as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak but it is utilising its fleet to transport cargo to keep supply chains moving.

In an operations update, Air Canada said that it has capacity on scheduled widebody flights operating on routes between Canada, Europe and Asia.

Capacity is also available on four weekly cargo-only flights to and from Shanghai — and there is a possibility that it will add additional scheduled flights to and from Shanghai too.

Additionally, ad-hoc all-cargo flights on Boeing 777 and 787-9 aircraft are available on demand to almost anywhere in the world. Dozens of such flights have operated so far, mostly from Toronto to Europe and Asia.

Tim Strauss, vice president of Air Canada Cargo, commented: “The Air Canada fleet is ready to be used to help the flow of goods and materials to fight the pandemic.

“We’ve operated dozens of cargo-only flights to date — to London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam to name a few in Europe, as well as Incheon and Shanghai, in addition to scheduled flights. The demand is there, and we are ready.

“We’re in talks with authorities to help move medical supplies from Asia and are ready to serve.”

Edited by dagger
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Air Canada Reconfigures Passenger Cabins on Three Aircraft to Transport More Vital Supplies and Necessary Cargo

From Air Canada

  • Three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, the largest in Air Canada’s fleet are being modified to transport cargo in the passenger cabin, doubling cargo capacity.
  • Reconfigured aircraft can carry 89.63 tonnes, the equivalent of up to 9 million medical masks.
  • 40 all-cargo flights operated to date, with 20 all-cargo flights being planned weekly.

MONTREAL, April 11, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today said it is reconfiguring the cabins of three of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to give them additional cargo capacity. The first aircraft conversion is complete and is now in service, with the second and third aircraft to be completed shortly.

reconfig-cabins-1.jpg

“Bringing critical medical and other vital supplies rapidly to Canada and helping distribute them across the country is imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis. The transformation of the Boeing 777-300ERs, our largest international wide-body aircraft, doubles the capacity of each flight and will enable more goods to move more quickly,” said Tim Strauss, Vice President – Cargo at Air Canada.

reconfig-cabins-2.jpg

“The rapid transformation of some of our aircraft to meet cargo demand reflects our ability to maximize our fleet assets quickly when these aircraft would otherwise be parked. Air Canada’s engineering team worked around the clock to oversee the conversion work, and with Transport Canada to ensure all work was certified as tasks were completed. The next two aircraft are on track to be completed and will be in operation within the coming days,” said Richard Steer, Senior Vice President – Air Canada Operations.

The three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are being converted by Avianor, an aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, at its Montreal-Mirabel facility. Avianor developed a specific engineering solution to remove 422 passenger seats and designate cargo loading zones for light weight boxes containing medical equipment and restrained with cargo nets. This modification has been developed, produced and implemented within six days. All operations have been certified and approved by Transport Canada.

reconfig-cabins-3.jpg

Through its cargo division, Air Canada has been using mainline aircraft that would otherwise be parked to operate cargo-only flights. The aircraft on these flights carry no passengers but move in their baggage holds time-sensitive shipments, including urgent medical supplies, and goods to support the global economy.

Air Canada has operated 40 all-cargo flights since March 22 and plans to operate up to 20 all-cargo flights per week using a combination of the three newly converted Boeing 777s, Boeing 787s and Boeing 777s, in addition to current scheduled flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong.  Air Canada Cargo has been working with its supply chain partners and shippers to transport medical supplies from Asia and Europe to Canada and will continue exploring additional opportunities as needed in all regions of the globe.

Air Canada Cargo was just awarded the Gold Air Cargo Excellence Award, the only international carrier from North America to be recognized among the 2020 recipients. The Air Cargo Excellence Awards are based on the Air Cargo Excellence Survey (done annually by Air Cargo World). Carriers are ranked by freight forwarders and other customers based on their performance during the previous 12 months.

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Perhaps one silver lining from this crisis is that AC may reconsider a dedicated freight/freighter operation as a permanent fixture.

This was considered seriously during CCAA (B747-400F) but was not part of the final restructuring plan. 

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29 minutes ago, rudder said:

Perhaps one silver lining from this crisis is that AC may reconsider a dedicated freight/freighter operation as a permanent fixture.

This was considered seriously during CCAA (B747-400F) but was not part of the final restructuring plan. 

Robert Milton was on record as saying "there is no money in freight"

The 777 alone has proven that there is indeed money in freight.  The B773 in particular carries an incredible amount of cargo. 

Wouldn't surprise me to see a few all freighters in the future, perhaps at the expense of some pax versions.

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Much will depend on international traffic.  Only a short while ago cargo yields were depressed due to the excess cargo capacity out there.  Everyone with a 787/777/350 was a cargo airline.

I would bet against this change and it’s viability longer term.  Short to medium term though might as well be flexible and  reconfigure what you have to what the market wants.

A dedicated freighter though?  I doubt it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AIP said:

Robert Milton was on record as saying "there is no money in freight"

The 777 alone has proven that there is indeed money in freight.  The B773 in particular carries an incredible amount of cargo. 

Wouldn't surprise me to see a few all freighters in the future, perhaps at the expense of some pax versions.

Most of the time, on a full year basis, that would be correct. Freighters for the Canadian market tend to be a bad idea. To the extent that we get a few freighter flights from Asia each week in normal times, it reflects a bit of supply chain integration. The Japanese carmakers, for example, use Nippon Cargo and JAL Cargo freighter ops to North America. Some freighter ops make a stop in Canada and continue on to the US. There are some times of the year - usually October through February - when Christmas and Chinese New Year volumes boost rates. But a unionized carrier like AC cannot justify the low rates freighter ops face the rest of the year. There is a reason the US passenger airlines haven't been into freighters for many years - Northwest was the last with a big freighter network, but that was largely because it was the biggest beneficiary of its special post-war heritage in Japan, where it could hub freight throughout eastern Asia.

In the current crisis, there is a shortage of freight capacity, so rates have soared, and fuel prices are atypically low, a combination which makes even belly-hold only a good deal, and those airlines clearing out seats on the main deck for lighter freight are likely doing compensatory business, probably in both direction which is rare for transpacific in particular (usually the money is on the inbound to NA).

Since passenger traffic recovery will probably lag until there is a vaccine administered widely, not just in Canada but around the world, these cargo conversions may remain in place. Might be an alternative to get lobsters to Asia as well.

 

One question for those in the know. Does AC have to put a flight attendant on each of these freighter flights? The main deck doesn't;t have the fire suppression capability built in like a purpose built freighter. I am under the impression that in some jurisdictions, that means a flight attendant or two must be part of the crew to basically sit in the cabin and make sure there aren't any signs of fire, and if there is, he or she has to know how to handle the manual extinguisher.

Edited by dagger
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29 minutes ago, dagger said:

One question for those in the know. Does AC have to put a flight attendant on each of these freighter flights? The main deck doesn't;t have the fire suppression capability built in like a purpose built freighter. I am under the impression that in some jurisdictions, that means a flight attendant or two must be part of the crew to basically sit in the cabin and make sure there aren't any signs of fire, and if there is, he or she has to know how to handle the manual extinguisher.

There's no FA as far as I know, but perhaps third or fourth pilots are able to operate in the capacity you describe if there is such a requirement.

When AC operated the 747 combi it became--after the SAA disaster--a requirement for FAs to patrol the cargo area to monitor for signs of fire and to be trained in firefighting techniques specific to that area.  The -400 did have a built in fire suppression system, but the requirement for FA training/monitoring of the area remained.

Edited by FA@AC
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1 hour ago, dagger said:

One question for those in the know. Does AC have to put a flight attendant on each of these freighter flights? The main deck doesn't;t have the fire suppression capability built in like a purpose built freighter. I am under the impression that in some jurisdictions, that means a flight attendant or two must be part of the crew to basically sit in the cabin and make sure there aren't any signs of fire, and if there is, he or she has to know how to handle the manual extinguisher.

I won't do a cut-and-paste from the company site but apparently the aircraft have been outfitted with main deck fire suppression and dedicated "cargo specialists" monitor the main deck during flight (details are somewhat sparse).  I have no idea how a person becomes a "cargo specialist".  This public site gives some detail on the conversion work: https://paxex.aero/2020/04/air-canada-777-seats-removed-cargo/

 

Edited by seeker
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8 minutes ago, seeker said:

I won't do a cut-and-paste from the company site but apparently the aircraft have been outfitted with main deck fire suppression and dedicated "cargo specialists" monitor the main deck during flight (details are somewhat sparse).  I have no idea how a person becomes a "cargo specialist".  This public site gives some detail on the conversion work: https://paxex.aero/2020/04/air-canada-777-seats-removed-cargo/

 

While AC isn't likely to buy purpose built freighters - the 777-200F - because they cost too much, about 5-6 of the airlines passenger 777-300ERs are moving into the age group where they might be candidates for a new conversion program IAI of Israel is launching. These temporarily converted 777-300ER passenger planes are carrying about 89 tonnes of freight, with significant weight limitations on the main deck cargo, but the converted 7773-300ERs will be able to carry an extra 11 tonnes on the main deck - though not the really heavy stuff that purpose-build freighters can carry on the main deck. When AC has 777s that are fully amortized, the conversion might make financial sense because they might fly them in lazier schedules during low season. But this is just a thought. I still wouldn't bet on it.

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42 minutes ago, seeker said:

I won't do a cut-and-paste from the company site but apparently the aircraft have been outfitted with main deck fire suppression and dedicated "cargo specialists" monitor the main deck during flight (details are somewhat sparse).  I have no idea how a person becomes a "cargo specialist".  This public site gives some detail on the conversion work: https://paxex.aero/2020/04/air-canada-777-seats-removed-cargo/

 

Back in the day, the term was "Load Master".  

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2 minutes ago, Marshall said:

Back in the day, the term was "Load Master".  

Loadmaster might be responsible for actually loading and securing the load while "cargo specialist" might just be a babysitter - that's my thinking.

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26 minutes ago, seeker said:

Loadmaster might be responsible for actually loading and securing the load while "cargo specialist" might just be a babysitter - that's my thinking.

Loadmasters, also known as aircraft cargo handling supervisors, make sure that airplane cargo is loaded safely and efficiently. They supervise the members of the ground crew loading cargo onto the plane or unloading cargo from it. In addition, they sometimes fly with the cargo to ensure its safety during flight.

https://www.indeed.com/q-Aircraft-Loadmaster-jobs.html?vjk=e3cc7d9a97ae8455

A cargo specialist on the other hand:

https://www.indeed.com/q-Air-Cargo-Specialist-jobs.html?vjk=073d8b6dc01ce5e6

 

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19 minutes ago, seeker said:

Loadmaster might be responsible for actually loading and securing the load while "cargo specialist" might just be a babysitter - that's my thinking.

 

Yes we all have our preferences for our occupational responsibilities

I always preferred to describe my job as a "Directional Consultant For High Speed Aluminum And Plastic Tubing"

Never had any salesman ask me what 'that ' job entailed so we blissfully continued our negotiations  concerning  the final price I was willing to pay..?..

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1 minute ago, Marshall said:

Loadmasters, also known as aircraft cargo handling supervisors, make sure that airplane cargo is loaded safely and efficiently. They supervise the members of the ground crew loading cargo onto the plane or unloading cargo from it. In addition, they sometimes fly with the cargo to ensure its safety during flight.

https://www.indeed.com/q-Aircraft-Loadmaster-jobs.html?vjk=e3cc7d9a97ae8455

 

DND always flew with a "LoadMaster if cargo was on board...I mean 'really' who else would be making lunch for the crew ???.?..

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20 minutes ago, Marshall said:

Loadmasters, also known as aircraft cargo handling supervisors, make sure that airplane cargo is loaded safely and efficiently. They supervise the members of the ground crew loading cargo onto the plane or unloading cargo from it. In addition, they sometimes fly with the cargo to ensure its safety during flight.

https://www.indeed.com/q-Aircraft-Loadmaster-jobs.html?vjk=e3cc7d9a97ae8455

A cargo specialist on the other hand:

https://www.indeed.com/q-Air-Cargo-Specialist-jobs.html?vjk=073d8b6dc01ce5e6

 

I'm not sure that your link to an Army Cargo Specialist applies to Air Canada's cargo flights.  And by "not sure", I actually mean I'm 100% sure that it does not apply since the job requirements for the Army include: operate and maintain all types and sizes of winches, cranes and forklifts, create load plans for air shipment and ocean liner vessels, operate ocean liner vessel equipment.

Edited by seeker
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