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Air Canada forges on despite walkout

June 14, 2011, Montreal - Air Canada said today it will continue to operate its full schedule despite a strike by call centre and airport check-in and gate agents in Canada represented by the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW).


June 14, 2011
By Carey Fredericks

As a collective agreement was not reached by the parties by the strike deadline, the union advised the company earlier that it would proceed with strike action at 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday June 14, 2011.

"We are very disappointed that an agreement for a new contract has not been reached prior to the CAW's strike deadline and we remain ready to resume discussions at any time to achieve a negotiated settlement. In the interim, we have implemented a contingency plan involving more than 1,700 managers to assist at airports and call centres.  We will continue to operate our full schedule and all bookings will be honored," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "We regret the inconvenience this situation may cause passengers and we advise those traveling with Air Canada in the coming days to consult our website and use our online self-service tools to check-in and get flight information they need prior to arriving at the airport. We thank our customers for their patience and understanding."

As a result of the strike, wait times at call centres and line-ups for airport self-service kiosks are longer than normal. To reduce or avoid waiting, Air Canadastrongly advises customers traveling during the labour disruption to:

  • familiarize themselves with our website aircanada.com prior to travel and consult the site for answers to questions such as: baggage allowances, airport connection information and travel documentation for international flights.

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  • on day of travel, prior to arriving at the airport, use our self service tools to check-in. These are available online at www.aircanada.com or on their mobile device, up to 24 hours before flight departure time. Customers should also use the flight-status function to be sure their flight is on-time.

  • avoid checking baggage if at all possible in order to expedite airport processes, and to familiarize themselves with baggage allowances.

  • be prepared to use self service kiosks for check-in and baggage tagging at the nine Canadian airports affected (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg,Toronto Pearson, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John's NL). Please note, lines at airport kiosks will be longer than usual with limited available personnel, and our priority will be to do our best to attend to customers with special requirements.

Air Canada apologizes for the inconvenience this situation is causing our customers. Over 22,000 Air Canada employees remain on duty, including over 1,700 managers available at the nine airports to help customers.  Our operational and planning teams have been working around the clock with our customers' interests top of mind.  We continue to operate our full schedule as planned.  We are focused on minimizing inconvenience to the best of our ability, and most importantly, getting customers to their destination safely.