Air Canada today announced that Stephen Smith
will be the President and CEO of its low-fare carrier to be launched later
this year. The appointment takes effect September 10, 2001.
“Steve Smith`s appointment is a reflection of our commitment to making
this carrier a success - simply put, we went out and landed the top individual
in the field for the job,” said Robert Milton, President and CEO of Air
Canada. “Steve is a proven, talented and smart airline executive and I look
forward to having him back as part of the Air Canada team. His extensive
background in the industry, in particular his role in developing the discount
airline sector in Canada will provide our low fare carrier with the strategic
and experienced leadership needed to ensure its success. I also expect Steve
to play a key role in creating the low-cost culture change we are seeking to
achieve,” he concluded.
Mr. Smith has over 20 years experience in the airline industry with an
extensive background in the regional and discount sectors. As President and
CEO of WestJet Airlines he oversaw the discount carrier`s early phases of
growth and the carrier`s initial public offering. He was President of Air
Canada regional affiliate Air Ontario from 1994 to 1999 and prior to that was
President of Air Toronto, a regional carrier linking Toronto with small-size
U.S. market destinations. He served as Chairman of the Air Transport
Association of Canada (ATAC) in 1999.
Further details on the timing of the start-up, branding, route network,
headquarters and infrastructure for the new carrier will be announced shortly
after Mr. Smith joins the low-fare carrier on September 10.
The launch of a low-fare carrier forms part of the Air Canada Action
Plan, announced August 1, 2001, to transform and re-engineer Canada`s national
carrier to meet the new challenges and opportunities of the rapidly changing
air travel market. Some of the key elements of the Air Canada Action Plan are:
the reconfiguration of the Air Canada fleet, the introduction of innovative
new products, the e-powering of Air Canada`s customers; and new profitability
and cost-cutting initiatives. Other recently announced initiatives of the Air
Canada Action Plan include the first online seat sale and the expansion of the
South Pacific network.