Air Canada discount bluff? ... Florida and Canada: a match made in heaven
As the deadline approaches for a potential Air Canada strike, I gotta wonder.
For those of you wrapped up in the possible demise of the Vancouver Canucks, let me recap. Air Canada a few months ago said it wanted to start a discount carrier to compete with the likes of Transat. To do so, however, they said they'd need union concessions.
Now, they're trying to convince the Canadian Auto Workers, which represents customer service agents and which held a large rally on Thursday, to agree to reduced pension benefits for some employees. Having seen Air Canada management get handsome rewards of late, this suggestion isn't going over well.
The CAW says it hopes to avert a strike but that one could start Monday at midnight (just in time for a flight I have out of Vancouver Tuesday morning). Air Canada says it will operate a full schedule, even if there's a walkout.
The union will have to provide notice of a potential strike sometime today (Friday), so stay tuned.
Perhaps. But I wonder if this talk of a discount airline isn't something that will suddenly disappear in bargaining over the next few days. With so much competition from WestJet and Porter, I don't think Air Canada can afford a strike. It's hardly a well-loved airline in many people's minds, anyway. Respected, sure, but not always, as the #1 carrier in the country, so well-loved. They don't need a strike right now. And the CAW shows no signs of backing down.
Transat's latest numbers aren't bad, but anyone who reads the papers can see that more economic troubles lie ahead, and perhaps just around the corner. Even in Canada. I suspect this talk of a discount airline, and this is PURELY conjecture based on a little knowledge and a fair bit of political and bargaining experience, will suddenly get delayed. If they pulled that off the table and backed away from most concession demands, a strike likely would be avoided.
I could be wrong, but I don't think it's such a great time to start a new airline anywhere in the world. And I don't know that Air Canada wants to risk a strike over such a chancy experiment.
In a report on the 1130 News website, airline analyst Scott Clute said there likely would be "minimal" impact in Vancouver if a strike happens. Longer line-ups and slower boarding would be likely for international passengers, he said.
However, Clute suggests it's a different story if unions representing pilots, flight attendants or mechanics decide to not cross the picket line. Yeah, I guess so.
Interesting times, either way. Good luck to all my fellow flyers next week!
FLORIDA LOVES US
Three million, one hundred thousand Canadians visited Florida last year; a new record. But it's not enough for folks from the Sunshine State.
Governor Rick Scott, here as part of a trade delegation, gave a short and funny speech.
"I don't understand why you'd ever go home" once you visit, he said, echoing one of Thompson's lines.
Scott said Canadians acount for a healthy portion of homes sales in Florida and quipped that "there are a few homes for sale" in the state.
Scott invited attendees at the event to visit him at his office in Tallahassee.
"Just go to the Capitol and turn left," he said. "Unless you're a protestor. Then you turn right."