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April 2, 2003
ALPA Jazz Pilots to Discuss "New Model" for Air Canada in House Hearing
OTTAWA --- Representatives of the 1,400 Air Canada Jazz pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, will appear tomorrow before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport to discuss the involvement of their carrier, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada, Inc., in the parent corporation's bankruptcy filing announced Monday. Air Canada management informed the Jazz pilots' leaders that it plans to operate the business as usual throughout the duration of the bankruptcy proceedings.
"We have pursued a campaign of 'constructive engagement' with Jazz management for more than a month, exploring innovative solutions to Air Canada's broken business model," said Capt. Nick DiCintio, chairman of the Air Canada Jazz pilots' unit of ALPA. "Jazz management has responded well to our ideas, which include overall 40 to 60 percent productivity gains as well as 23 to 30 percent pilot unit cost savings. We hope Air Canada corporate management will share our vision," he added.
ALPA's address to the Transport Committee will begin with a presentation from the international union's officials on industrywide issues and on all airlines' need for relief from fees, taxes, and surcharges. Additionally, a representative of the Jazz pilots will be available to discuss their proposal for a "New Model" at Air Canada and Jazz.
"Although we had hoped the airline could adopt our recommendations and other restructuring measures in time to avoid bankruptcy, we are nonetheless optimistic that our proposals can substantially contribute to the carrier's reorganization, restoration of competitive strength, and emergence from the Court's protection," he said.
According to DiCintio, the "New Model" proposal would better exploit Jazz's cost structure and strong domestic network in the overall corporate air-service scheme. Under the proposal, the Jazz pilots would agree to defer scheduled pay raises and provide productivity enhancements through a relaxation of some crew-scheduling rules.
As a condition of this contractual relief, the airline would commit to an expansion of Jazz's fleet and services. "To meaningfully improve the corporation's cost-versus-revenue formula, Air Canada must provide Jazz the tools and the opportunity to enhance its role," DiCintio said.
"Our proposal is consistent with Air Canada's announcement of fleet-renewal plans involving the introduction of additional 50- and 90-seat small jets," DiCintio said. "The Jazz carrier's ability to seamlessly incorporate those acquisitions into its existing fleet and its simplified, cost-effective pay structure for crews makes the placement of those aircraft with Jazz a sound decision," he added.
"This would require a loosening of the restrictions on Jazz's small-jet fleet -- a matter that would require the participation of the Air Canada pilots, whose contract governs those restrictions," DiCintio said. "Given the gravity of the corporation's competitive atrophy, we believe we can work with the involved parties in our common interest -- and the interests of creditors, shareholders, and the communities we serve -- to revitalize Air Canada and Jazz," he added.
ALPA's appearance before the Transport Committee is slated for 5:30 p.m. EST tomorrow in the Centre Block Building.
ALPA, the world’s oldest and largest union of airline pilots, represents 66,000 pilots at 42 carriers in Canada and the U.S. Air Canada Jazz provides service to more communities in Canada than any other airline. Visit the ALPA Web site: http://www.alpa.org.
ALPA CONTACTS: Captain Vincent Charron, (613) 299-6964 (French/English) Ron Lovas (703) 481-4440 (English)