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Monday,  May 27, 2024 12:37 AM 

AC pilots say “post-9/11 pay cuts have yet to be corrected” following Q1 results

  • Air
  •   05-03-2024  3:46 am
  •   Pax Global Media

AC pilots say “post-9/11 pay cuts have yet to be corrected” following Q1 results
Pax Global Media

Air Canada’s pilots have issued a statement after the airline on Thursday (May 2) released its Q1 earnings, which show an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $453 million, and $81 million-dollar net loss amid rising expenses.

The pilots, which are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have been in contract negotiations with Air Canada for over 11 months now as the group seeks a contract that “is commensurate with pilots at U.S. legacy airlines.”

The group says they remain “fully invested in Air Canada” as the carrier continues to “showcase its financial success and commercial ambitions.”

“Each passing quarter marks another set of financial gains, including generating over $1 billion in free cash flow in the latest quarter and improved operating performance, thanks in large part to contributions and dedication from the Air Canada pilots, whose post-9/11 pay cuts have yet to be corrected. Currently, Air Canada pilots are the only legacy pilot group in North America who haven’t re-established standard North American pay levels,” said F/O Charlene Hudy, Air Canada ALPA Master Executive Council chair, in a statement.

"Air Canada pilots make on average half of what their peers make in the United States, a condition that fails to improve the pilot-supply challenges and which misses an opportunity to attract and retain experienced pilots to Air Canada’s ranks. This is wholly incongruent with Air Canada’s long-term growth strategy.”

As Air Canada pilots “fly the same planes, on the same routes, in the same weather (or worse), while carrying the same passengers,” an inferior contract with half pay is “simply not sustainable,” the union says.

“Air Canada pilots should not be the only legacy pilot group in North America subject to special reduced compensation, especially while Air Canada’s executives rank amongst the highest-paid in North America, benchmarking their own compensation packages to their U.S. counterparts, notably omitting WestJet,” it says.  

Airlines that provided their pilot groups with competitive contracts in the past year include United, Delta, Southwest, and American.

“Air Canada pilots are unified in their call for a contract that reflects today’s world and will do what is necessary to achieve it,” said Hudy. “Currently, about 500 Air Canada pilots are working with U.S. immigration firms to leave Air Canada, should we not achieve a contract commensurate with other comparable pilot groups.”

The formula for success and passenger satisfaction is not a mystery. Canadians deserve no less than a reliable and sustainable aviation network with experienced pilots in the flight deck.”

Despite its net loss, brought on by higher operating costs and added seat capacity, Air Canada sees “continued healthy demand,” said President and CEO Michael Rousseau on Wednesday.

"We are confident in our ability to deliver on our full year 2024 guidance. As we look toward the summer, we see a continued healthy demand environment, and our customers will have a wide range of exciting travel options across Europe, Asia, and North America, for their summer holiday planning,” Rousseau stated.

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