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Air Canada unveils first Airbus A220. What does it mean for travellers? – Global News

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Air Canada unveiled its first Airbus A220 jetliner at an event in Montreal on Wednesday morning.

The 137-seat aircraft is the first of an eventual 45 the airline aims to have flying by 2022.

The narrow-body aircraft — whose maiden voyage takes off for Calgary from Montreal on Thursday — grants Canada’s largest airline greater range and cost savings.

Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s vice-president of network planning, said the A220 allows the airline to open new routes that have not been financially viable in the past.

“For [Air Canada], it’s an airplane that will allow us to grow in North America, launch several new routes,” said Galardo.

Galardo said the company is targeting the West Coast for its first set of new routes, which include Montreal to Seattle and Toronto to San Jose, both to begin in spring.

Passenger comfort

Rajbir Bhatti, an associate professor of supply chain management at Mount Royal University, said the introduction of the A220 will change the way Canadians fly.

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“The cabins are larger, the overhead baggage is larger and the seats are wider,” said Bhatti. “The entire gameplan of how you fly regionally is likely to change.”

The 19-inch-wide seats are the largest in Air Canada’s fleet, and in keeping with the trend of integrating technology where possible, each passenger has their own plug-in and USB port.

Patrick Tompkins, Air Canada’s chief A220 pilot, said passengers may not initially recognize they are on a new A220 but will notice changes during flights — especially regarding cabin noise.

“It’s quite comfortable in the back [of the plane],” Tompkins said. “I think they’ll notice the quiet. It’s quite a quiet airframe.”

Fuel efficiency

Air Canada said a big reason for choosing the A220 as its next regional plane was environmental sustainability.

Galardo said the new jet emits 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than similar aircraft and allows for lower operating costs because of the composite material used to build the plane.

But when asked if those cost savings could be passed along to customers, Galardo didn’t answer directly.

“For [Air Canada], the angle that we’re looking at is the creation of new route and the economic stimulus that comes from that,” Galardo said.

Bhatti said it is likely that the airline is looking into pricing changes.

“They may already be working on how to revenue share with the consumers and possibly pass on that benefit to them,” said Bhatti. “I’d love that as a consumer.”

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Canadian-built

The plane was called the C Series before Bombardier Inc. gave up a controlling stake in the aircraft program in 2018 to Europe-based Airbus, which christened it the A220.

The airline said the order for 45 planes carried a list price of US$3.8 billion and made Air Canada the second North American carrier to fly the A220.


READ MORE:
Bombardier’s C Series aircraft renamed by Airbus

All of Air Canada’s A220s on order will be built at what are now Airbus Canada’s facilities north of Montreal in Mirabel, Que.

Airbus also produces the planes at a new site in Mobile, Ala., mainly for U.S. customers including Delta, which operates 28 A220s and was the North American launch carrier for the plane.

Aircraft safety

Several European carriers have been operating the A220 for the past five years, including Swiss International Air Lines and airBaltic.

Swiss grounded its fleet of 29 A220s in October 2019 following “technical irregularities on various Swiss short-haul flights,” but after comprehensive engine inspections, the airline resumed normal flights just a day after the grounding, according to officials.

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Tompkins said those issues are to be expected when introducing a new plane.

“Every new platform and every new aircraft has some teething pains,” Tompkins said. “We anticipate that and we take a very proactive approach to safety.”


READ MORE:
JetBlue and new low-cost U.S. airline order 120 planes made by Bombardier

Galardo said Air Canada was made aware of the issue before taking delivery of its first A220.

“Transport Canada has… an airworthiness directive on the engine but as far as we’re concerned, there’s no major issue.”

Boeing implications

Air Canada’s launch of the A220 comes as the Boeing 737 MAX remains grounded worldwide.

Galardo said the large order of A220s was not impacted by recent events involving the Boeing aircraft.

“[The order was made] previous to the grounding of the MAX,” Galardo said. “We were supposed to have the MAX and the A220 so one doesn’t replace the other.”


READ MORE:
Air Canada, WestJet keeping Boeing 737 MAX off their flight schedules until March

Galardo said the Embraer E175s will be phased out in favour of the A220s, but that the airline has pushed back the E175 retirements so it can fill the gaps left by the MAX.

– With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trump claims Canada wants to open border with U.S. as closure extended to Oct. 21 – Global News

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On the same day an extension of the U.S.-Canada border closure was announced, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that the border would soon be reopened.

“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it opened and, you know, we want to get back to normal business,” he said Friday.

Trump went on to praise the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement, and say that the border would be reopening  “pretty soon” — potentially by the end of the year.

“Could be,” he said. “We’re working with Canada.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair took to Twitter earlier on Friday and announced the extension of the border closure, which was set to expire Sept. 21.

The U.S. and Canada border will remain closed until at least Oct. 21 in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Read more:
Keeping Canada, U.S. border closed may help ‘keep lid’ on coronavirus numbers, Fauci says

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020. We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” he tweeted.

Asked to respond to Trump’s statement, a spokesperson referred Global News to Blair’s previous tweet.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to travel like as vacations and shopping trips since mid-March — it does not cover trade or travel by air. The agreement has been extended on a monthly basis.

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As of Friday, Canada has reported 142,879 coronavirus cases and 9,249 deaths. The U.S. has reported 6,678,382 cases and 197,696 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would not be in a rush to open the border, as doing so may spark a second wave.

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“If we take steps too quickly, if we are not sure of what we’re doing at each stage, we risk hitting a second wave … and having to close our economy again,” he said.

There had been a previous effort from U.S. Congress members to reopen the border with Canada amid the pandemic.

In early July, a bipartisan group of 29 federal lawmakers sent a letter to Blair and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, urging both countries to “immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border.”

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“Continuing to extend border restrictions at 30-day intervals is untenable for the communities that have been separated from family and unable to tend to their property for over three months,” the group argued.

Read more:
Canada pushes back on U.S. Congress members’ call to reopen border amid coronavirus

In response to the letter, a spokesperson for the office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that while conversations between Canada and the U.S. about the border are ongoing, “both sides agree that the current measures in place” have “worked well.”

“Our absolute priority is the health and safety of Canadians,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an email. “That is why we want to be clear that decisions about Canada’s border are made by Canadians, for Canadians.”






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Thousands tried to visit Canada despite COVID-19 border closure


Thousands tried to visit Canada despite COVID-19 border closure

Although the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed until at least Oct. 21, Canadians can still fly into the U.S. as long as they have not recently been to countries such as China, Brazil or the United Kingdom.

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The government of Canada still emphasizes that all non-essential travel outside of Canada must be avoided. The government has made it clear on its website that people deciding to travel during the pandemic could not only put themselves and others at risk of being infected with the novel coronavirus, it could also result in them becoming stranded.






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New fence being built on U.S/Canada border


New fence being built on U.S/Canada border

— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and  

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trump claims Canada wants U.S. border reopened – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
U.S. President Donald Trump says that Canada wants to see the Canada-U.S. border reopened, but the federal government says it’ll make the decision based on public health advice. 

“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it open, and you know we want to get back to normal business,” Trump said outside the White House on Friday.

“We’re going to be reopening the borders pretty soon,” Trump said, adding that he thinks the U.S. is “rounding the turn” in that country’s still massive COVID-19 outbreak. 

To date there have been more than six million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 198,000 Americans have died. Over the course of the crisis there have been 141,565 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada, and more than 9,000 deaths. 

On Friday federal officials on both sides of the border announced that the Canada-U.S. border closure would be extended for at least another month, until Oct. 21.

The land border between the two countries has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 21, a move first made to limit the spread of the virus. 

The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. 

Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, though some restrictions on close family members have been eased allowing families to reunite, while others continue to call for further compassion for non-married couples and others who are still not permitted to cross. 

Pandemic tensions have flared in Canada over prospective American visitors, some of whom have used loopholes in the rules to enter the country. 

CTVNews.ca reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office for comment, and spokesperson Chantal Gagnon pointed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s comments earlier on Friday about the continuation of the border restrictions. 

“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair said in a tweet. 

In the latest episode of CTV News’ podcast Trend Line, Chair of Nanos Research Nik Nanos said that “people in Canada see what’s happening in the United States, and they have significant concerns about the risks to Canadians because of the pandemic.”

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Canada’s Public Health Agency president resigns amid rising coronavirus cases – Global News

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Tina Namiesniowski, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, has resigned leaving the department in charge of leading country’s response to the coronavirus without a leader, amid rising cases of the virus in some of Canada’s most populous provinces.

In a letter to staff released by Health Canada, Namiesniowski said she needed “to take a break” and “step aside so someone else can step up” to lead the public health agency tasked with coordinating Canada’s response to COVID-19. Namiesniowski was appointed to the job in May 2019.

Her resignation comes as caseloads of the virus have surged in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec and criticism about the federal government’s response to the virus in the early stages of the pandemic has mounted.

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A spokesperson for Health Canada said, “a replacement will be announced next week.”

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“This is a very difficult decision for me but I think it’s the right one,” Namiesniowski said. “You really need someone who will have the energy and the stamina to take the Agency and our response to the next level.

“Even though I might not have accomplished everything I would have liked to have done, I truly hope the foundation for change I’ve championed through our work on PHAC of the future will help serve as a road map moving forward.”

READ MORE: Canada adds 870 new cases, 6 deaths in last 24 hours

According to her LinkedIn profile, Namiesniowski worked as the executive vice-president of the Canada Border Services Agency and served as an assistant deputy minister at Agriculture Canada and Public Safety Canada.

“I will support the transition of a new President and then I am going to take some time to reconnect with my husband, kids and aging father and think about my own next steps,” she wrote. “I do want to remind everyone about how much of a toll this relentless pace can have on each of us and our loved ones so please try and look after yourselves and each other.”

PHAC, which Namiesniowski formally headed, faced criticism over a depleted national emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) and reports that the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) – a federal pandemic early warning system — was shut down last year.

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Namiesniowski said in her email Friday, “it is hard to believe that close to ten months has elapsed since the Agency picked up the initial GPHIN signal on December 31st, 2019, about a cluster of cases in Wuhan of an unknown respiratory illness,” but did not mention the ongoing controversy around GPHIN.

Last week, Health Minister Patty Hajdu ordered a review over the warning system matter and reports that officials working on it were silenced, just months before the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Hajdu said in a statement that a “full and expeditious independent review” has been requested.

“We were concerned to learn of reports that GPHIN analysts felt that they were not able to proceed with their important work, and that some scientists didn’t feel fully empowered. That’s why we have ordered a full and expeditious independent review of GPHIN,” said Hajdu’s office in a statement.

“This independent review is an important step in restoring GPHIN and ensuring that it can continue its valuable contributions to public health in Canada and around the world.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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