Air Canada has issued an update on its operational improvement initiatives, implemented in response to the challenges the global airline industry has encountered emerging from the pandemic.
“At Air Canada, we know how much our customers value travel and their reliance on us to transport them safely, comfortably and without disruption. This is always our goal and we share with them their disappointment that, coming out of the pandemic, the global industry faltered due to the unprecedented challenges of restarting after a two-year, virtual shutdown,” said Michael Rousseau, president and chief executive of the airline.
“Earlier this summer, I committed on behalf of everyone at Air Canada that we would do everything possible to restore our company’s industry-leading standards of customer care. Among other things, this included innovation at the airport, operational changes and significant schedule adjustments, and today these are yielding demonstrable improvement in the metrics that matter most to our customers. While I am very satisfied with the progress to date, and I thank our employees for their unrelenting efforts, we all continue to work hard on behalf of our customers to complete our recovery.”
For the period 27th June to 14th August, during which it carried approximately 6.4 million customers, the Air Canada airlines (including Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express), recorded the following operational improvements as it returns to its pre-pandemic customer service levels:
- Flight delays: Comparing the week of 27th June to the week of 8th August, the airlines recorded a 48% reduction (1,160 fewer) in flights that had a delay of longer than one hour. In addition, flight delays overall are getting shorter. For flights that experienced any delay, the average arrival delay during the week of 27th June was 28 minutes longer than the same week in 2019. As of the week of 8th August, this had improved to 12 minutes.
- Flight cancellations: The airlines report a “substantial reduction” in the volume of flight cancellations. During the week of 8th August, there was a 77% reduction in the number of cancelled flights as compared to the week of 27th June. This translates into 960 fewer flights cancelled. Furthermore, flight completion, which is the percentage of all scheduled flights that are not cancelled, reached 96.7% during the week of 8th August, which was less than one percentage point lower than the same week in 2019. The vast majority of customers experiencing cancellations, often due to weather or other unexpected factors, were able to travel within 24 hours.
- Baggage handling: The strongest area of improvement over this period can be seen in baggage handling, where the airline handles over 650,000 bags per week. During the week of 27th June, mishandling rates per 1,000 customers were approximately 2.5 times the same number in 2019. As of the week of 8th August, this rate has fully recovered to 2019 levels, with a baggage handling success rate of 98%.
Air Canada is continuing to work with its partners to address the issues disrupting the air transport ecosystem in Canada. It says that evidence of the success of these joint efforts is a “marked decrease” in delays and cancellations for airlines, contributing to increased overall stability in Air Canada’s operations. This has resulted in an enhanced customer experience, with better on-time performance, schedule reliability and baggage delivery.
Each day on average, Air Canada currently operates nearly 1,100 flights and regularly carries 135,000 people. Air Canada has been restoring its schedule as it recovers from the effects of Covid-19 and this summer it plans to operate 79% of its pre-pandemic capacity as the airline industry stabilises. In support of this, the carrier has recalled employees laid off during the pandemic and continues to hire additional workers. It currently has approximately 34,000 employees compared to 34,700 prior to the pandemic.