Air Canada

Air Canada
Air Canada pilots informational picket in Calgary, Alb., on Oct. 28, 2023, to express their concerns with the recent route cuts announced by their company. Photo: Joel Varjassy

At A Glance

Pilots joined ALPA: 2023

Number of pilots/flightcrew members: More than 5,200

Pilot bases: Montréal, Qué.; Toronto, Ont.; Winnipeg, Man.; and Vancouver, B.C.

Hubs/key markets: Montréal, Qué.; Toronto, Ont.; Winnipeg, Man.; and Vancouver, B.C.

Headquarters: Montréal, Qué.

Operations: Air Canada serves airports in Canada and the U.S. with up to 400 daily flights between the two countries. The airline’s international network extends to six continents with service to more than 80 airports.

Fleet: Mainline—B-737 MAX 8s, B-767-300Fs, B-777-200LRs, B-777-300ERs, B-787-8s, B-787-9s, A220-300s, A319s, A320s, A321s, and A330-300s. Air Canada Rouge—A319s, A320s, and A321s

Air Canada pilots officially joined ALPA on May 17, 2023, with 84 percent voting in favour of joining the Association. Soon after the merger, the pilots invoked an escape clause that allowed them to end their 10-year framework with Air Canada one year early. The pilot group entered bargaining in June, with the collective agreement expiring on September 29.

Between September and December, the pilots held four informational pickets—in Toronto, Ont.; Calgary, Alb.; Montréal, Qué., and Vancouver, B.C.—demonstrating their frustration with their expired contract and the need for a new agreement that reflects the pay and benefits of current pilot contracts. The pilot group showcased their unity and resolve, shoulder to shoulder, with more than 1,000 pilots in attendance among the three pickets, and many more showed their support via social media.

“Air Canada pilots haven’t been in a meaningful contract negotiation in almost a decade,” said F/O Charlene Hudy, the pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) chair. “It’s time for management to show the pilot group that it values their contributions. Air Canada pilots are unified in their pursuit of a world-class collective agreement that reflects today’s world, addressing career progression, job security, aviation safety, and closing the growing wage gap between U.S. and Canadian pilots.”

A year ago, the Air Canada pilot group had a low level of trust in their union and their elected leaders. Today, more than 80 percent of the membership is unified and backs the MEC and union. The vast resources and support available to Air Canada pilots as ALPA members has been unmatched.

Air Canada pilots hold their first informational picket in more than 20 years in Toronto, Ont., on Sept. 29, 2023, with over 600 pilots in attendance. Photo: Photoholic Imagery