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Wednesday,  June 12, 2024 11:13 AM 

VIDEO: Air Canada’s Lisa Pierce talks strategy, seat fees, on-time performance, NDC & more

VIDEO: Air Canada’s Lisa Pierce talks strategy, seat fees, on-time performance, NDC & more
From left: Air Canada's Lisa Pierce, VP, global sales & Air Canada Vacations; Michael Pihach, managing editor, (Pax Global Media)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Spring has sprung – and so has Air Canada.

Highlighting its spring and summer schedule of new routes and increased capacity to destinations all around the world, Canada’s flag carrier welcomed nearly 200 travel industry professionals into the garden waterfall space at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto Wednesday night (May 22) for a spring cocktail social.

“Spring is a time to celebrate blossoming flowers and partnerships, new routes, and new beginnings,” as Lisa Pierce, vice-president of global sales at Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations put it, addressing a crowd of travel agency owners, managers, supplier partners and Air Canada executives.

Travel partners gather in the garden at the Sheraton Centre Hotel  in Toronto. (Pax Global Media)

As previously reported, Air Canada’s summer schedule offers new and enhanced international routes to Singapore, Madrid, Stockholm, Osaka and Seoul.

Compared to last summer, the airline has increased its international capacity by 30 per cent in Asia-Pacific, and by 25 per cent in key leisure destinations in Southern Europe.

Air Canada's leadership team at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. (Pax Global Media)

One focus is expanding the Pacific hub in Vancouver, where Air Canada has launched flights to Singapore, as well as increasing service to Hong Kong and Japan.

The airline’s domestic and trans-border network will also grow to 120 destinations this summer, with the addition of destinations like Tulum, Mexico and Charleston, South Carolina. It’s all strengthened by a joint business agreement with United Airlines.From left: Ravi Kumar, Jennifer Backus, Rob Blowes, Jeff Element, and Tony Celio. (Pax Global Media)

From left: Wendy Paradis, Christine James, Vivek Khanna, Oliver Weibel. (Pax Global Media)

Virgilio Russi retires

Last night’s soirée doubled as a retirement party for Virgilio Russi, vice-president of international sales at Air Canada. Russi worked for the airline for 28 years.

Rocky Lo, Air Canada’s senior director, Asia revenue management and sales, will take over Russi’s role at the end of the month and lead international sales.

From left: Air Canada's Lisa Pierce, Virgilio Russi and Rocky Lo. (Pax Global Media)

PAX captured Russi on camera at the event. Click here to see what he had to say about retiring.

Lisa Pierce one-on-one  

We also caught up with Lisa Pierce to get her take on a variety of hot topics, including Air Canada’s first quarter results, her outlook for 2024, the possible introduction of new seat selection fees, on-time performance, NDC implementation, the strategy at Air Canada Vacations and winter-ready advice for travel advisors.

Watch the interview here.

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