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Air Canada Pilots holds informational picket at YYC Airport over cancelled routes

Dozens of Air Canada pilots held an informational picket at YYC Airport, as the airline cuts routes.

The airport is losing flights to Cancun, Ottawa, Halifax, Los Angeles and Honolulu. Saturday wad also the last direct flight to Frankfurt.

“We find that concerning for ourselves as pilots, we find it concerning for Canadians,” said First Officer Charlene Hudy, Air Canada Pilots Association.

The pilots worry losing those routes could impact the sustainability of Canada’s aviation network.

Their CBA expired on September 29th, and in their next contract they want to see strides made towards better career progression, aviation safety and a smaller wage gap between them and their American counter parts. 

“United Airlines, they ratified a deal and that has them making twice as much or more than the pilots I represent at Air Canada,” said Hudy.

The industry is experiencing a shortage of regional pilots, according to Air Canada. The president of air passenger rights says Saturday’s informational picket is to help future pilots.

“You can easily spend $10,000 if not $100,000s before you’re at a point that you can easily earn significantly money from your skills,” said President, Air Passenger Rights Gabor Lukas.

For him he doesn’t find much of an issue in the company cutting routes.

“The airline, as bad as it is for passengers has the right and actually has the obligation to shut down that route because an airline’s primary obligation is to its shareholders to make them a profit,” said Lukas. “It’s not what you want to hear as a passenger but that is what a corporation does.”

John Gradek, the head of McGill University’s Aviation Management program, says the recent cancellations show the airline’s market priority.

“Calgary is not a on the high order pecking list of where air Canada sees its market going over the next 12-18 months,” said Gradek.

In response to the informational picket Air Canada said, “the changes to Air Canada’s winter flying schedule from Calgary … are intended to improve the overall operational stability of the carrier… Air Canada remains fully committed to the Calgary and Western Canadian market and will offer nearly 10,000 seats weekly from Calgary this winter.”

According to Hudy, the Assoication doesn’t expect to have a new deal until after the new year.  

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