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Tuesday,  June 18, 2024 7:46 PM 

VIDEO: “I am only grateful”: Virgilio Russi on retiring from Air Canada

VIDEO: “I am only grateful”: Virgilio Russi on retiring from Air Canada
Air Canada's Virgilio Russi is retiring. (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.

Air Canada’s spring social on Wednesday night (May 22) at the Sheraton Centre hotel in downtown Toronto celebrated not only the airline’s spring and summer schedule, but also one of its best team players – Virgilio Russi, who, after 28 years with the company, will retire at the end of this month.

Rocky Lo, Air Canada’s senior director, Asia revenue management and sales, will take over Russi’s executive role in international sales.

Russi’s three-decade career in travel (which started at American Express, and then transitioned to job at Air Canada in Brazil) saw him orchestrate global strategies for Air Canada during times of opportunity, from the birth of Star Alliance to the development of the airline’s Atlantic joint-venture partnership with United and Lufthansa, and during challenges, such as the 2019 grounding of Boeing’s 737s, the COVID-19 pandemic and today’s new world of NDC.

Air Canada's Lisa Pierce and Virgilio Russi in Toronto on Wednesday (May 22). (Pax Global Media)

“Virgilio’s can-do, optimistic outlook on every challenge and opportunity has been invaluable for all of us,” Air Canada's Lisa Pierce, VP, global sales & Air Canada Vacations, told guests Wednesday night. “We will all miss you. It’s comforting to know you’re retiring on a high note after one of Air Canada’s most successful years in our history.”

PAX caught up with Russi at the event. Here’s what he had to say about retiring.