Pilots, Air Canada to negotiate wages

Pilots who fly for Air Canada will meet with the company starting June 5 to negotiate wage improvements that will reverse concessions imposed during bankruptcy proceedings in 2003 and 2004. “Our members have made tremendous sacrifices to transition Air Canada into a long-term, sustainable company,” says Capt. Serge Beaulieu, spokesperson for the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA).

“Now that Air Canada is profitable again, we are looking forward to getting our wage levels back to normal.”

As part of the concessions package negotiated during the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process, Air Canada must re-open negotiations on wages and pension terms with the pilots effective June 2.

Beaulieu says ACE Aviation Holdings, Inc., Air Canada’s parent company, has posted excellent financial results over the past year, recording $400-million in operating profits. In the first quarter of 2006, ACE posted a net profit of $118-million in what is typically the airline’s weakest quarter.

In addition, he says, executive compensation is has exceeded pre-CCAA levels and shareholders have received returns on their investments.

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“These are the kinds of things that happen in a company that is on secure financial footing,” he says. “The company can now afford to share this success with the people who have helped achieve it.

“The company has an opportunity to acknowledge the hundreds of millions in savings pilots gave to help it through the hard times. Bankruptcy was a painful process but we are once again profitable.”

Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection in Sept. 2004.

ACPA is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing 3100 pilots who operate Air Canada’s mainline fleet.
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