Air Canada suffers Dreamliner delays
One of the founding members of Star Alliance, Air Canada is the country’s largest airline, transporting almost 35 million passengers a year. The airline travels to over 175 different airports in 5 continents. The company came into being in 1936 under the name Trans-Canada Airlines and started using Air Canada in 1954, though this was only for its French speaking passengers; the name finally became universal in 1965. It uses four main hubs, which are Montreal- Pierre Elliott Trudeau serving 76 routes, Vancouver with 47 routes, Calgary that serves 33 and it’s largest, Toronto Pearson International Airport, that provides 153 routes. The new budget arm Air Canada Rouge is picking up a number of the airline’s sun routes such as Cuba, Havana Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), Mexico Benito Juárez International (MEX) and Haiti, Port au Prince (PAP), flying from Montreal; and Tampa International Airport (TPA), Barbados, Grantley Adams International (BGI) and Nassau (NAS).
At the forefront of innovation
Judged by its fleet size, Air Canada ranks as the world’s eighth largest passenger airline company, operating over 1500 flights a day. Their planes include the Airbus A330, Boeing 767, 777 and 787, which are primarily used for intercontinental and long haul journeys. The fleet’s Airbus A319, A320 and A321 are used on shorter routes, along with Embraer E170 & 90s. The group includes Air Canada Cargo, Express and Rouge, along with Air Canada Vacations, which concentrates solely on the holiday market, flying to 90 tourist destinations. The airline has been keen to innovate during its history and was the first to introduce a universal smoking ban, was instrumental in the development of black box flight recorders and was the first North American Airline to introduce electronic boarding passes.
The delay in arrival of Air Canada’s new Dreamliner aircraft is putting the airline under severe pressure to deliver promised improvements in levels of customer service. Along with the introduction of Air Canada Rouge, a budget division aimed at stemming losses to competition; the fuel efficient Dreamliners are part of the company strategy to reduce financial losses. Instead, the late arrival of the planes is causing logistical problems and service issues where replacement aircraft with fewer facilities are being drafted in to cover. On top of the negative publicity generated by Rouge, this is resulting in a lot of frantic activity behind the scenes to mitigate any further bad press.
Airline faces recurring weather cancellations
The geographical location of its main hubs means that Air Canada can be seriously affected by adverse weather conditions. This is only to be expected as cold spells reaching -40 C and below can bring airports to a standstill. However, even taking these factors into consideration, the delay record for Air Canada flights leaves a lot to be desired. Taking the statistics for their 20 busiest routes during the two months, from mid June to August, 75% flights arrived on time, 9% were classed as late, 4% very late and almost a tenth, 8%, were excessively late, according to statistics by FlightStats. For a company hoping to avoid bad publicity this is leaving a large number of unhappy passengers with the right to claim compensation for delays and cancellations.