Connect with us

Business

Canadian airlines cancelling flights again as hoped-for bounceback in demand fizzles – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Rachel Farrell can now claim the unfortunate distinction of having two destination weddings called off in one year.

The 26-year-old event co-ordinator had booked a Transat flight out of Halifax for Feb. 15, 2021, as part of her planned nuptials in the Dominican Republic but was told this week the airline had cancelled the trip and would not make the journey until six days later.

She and her fiancé had first booked their trip package for last April, but it was nixed by Transat after the airline grounded its entire fleet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The problem is increasingly common, with Canadian airlines cancelling hundreds of flights as hopes for a spike in demand fall flat, snarling plans for the few passengers who remain.

“I was upset but understood that it wasn’t Air Transat’s fault, so we would wait until air travel resumed and rebook as soon as we could, since refunds weren’t an option,” Farrell said.

She did that in July, rebooking the flight for February using a travel credit based on the $37,000 she and her nearly two-dozen guests had paid for the package.

“Even though they knowingly chose to cancel my rebooked wedding group, they still won’t give us a refund,” Farrell said, noting the airline is again offering credit.

Rachel Farrell and her fiancé, Josh Dunn, planned to get married in the Dominican Republic last April, but their flight was cancelled due to the pandemic. Now the airline has cancelled their new flight date of February 2021. (Rachel Farrell/The Canadian Press)

“My travel agent has told me that even if I rebook next week, they might still push the dates further…. I don’t know what to do now, and all I really want is to get married.”

Air Canada and WestJet have cancelled at least 439 flights so far this month, according to figures from flight data firm Cirium.

The cancellations come after airlines banked on a return of business travel and a continued uptick in leisure trips in the fall, said John Gradek, who heads McGill University’s Global Aviation Leadership program.

“They’ve decided since about the end of July to let loose on scheduled services and increasing the number of routes, at the same time hoping that the government will loosen up some of its restrictions. And that’s not been the case,” he said.

Now, airlines are cancelling the half-booked flights and consolidating passengers on remaining ones to cut costs.

“There has not been a take-up by the Canadian travelling public of those seats that are being offered by the carriers, so they’re cutting back those services significantly … and it’s being done piecemeal rather than being done wholesale,” Gradek said.

Demand fizzled

The letdown builds on an already devastating year.

Transat revenues fell by 99 per cent year over year in the last quarter, when the travel company operated flights for just one week.

Air Canada saw passenger revenues drop 95 per cent, prompting 20,000 layoffs as the airline burned through $19 million per day. WestJet has laid off about 4,000 employees since March.

Air traffic in August fell by two-thirds compared with a year earlier, according to Nav Canada, which operates air navigation across the country.

Flight consolidation does not always result in upended plans or wedding dilemmas.

“Sometimes airline schedules require minor surgery and sometimes major surgery,” said Mike Malik, head of marketing at Cirium.

The itinerary change can sometimes mean a departure delay of an hour rather than a week.

“We know that most travellers right now are not business travellers,” Malik said. “These are VFR travellers — visiting friends and relatives. So if you’re visiting friends and relatives, you probably don’t need a 7 a.m. flight for a 9 a.m. meeting in Toronto.”

The reassurance comes as cold comfort for Darlene Hatter, who was twice slated to attend her son’s destination wedding in Costa Rica, with both flights from Toronto now cancelled.

Her son, Robert Przybylski, 35, is now out $15,000, as well as the $2,800 each of his 85 guests shelled out, she said.

“It’s very frustrating,” Hatter said.

“The airlines in my opinion are taking advantage big time of this and stomping on the little people just because they can. The government needs to step up and tell these airlines to give people their refunds.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Business

Air Transat lays off half remaining flight attendants, closes Vancouver base – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The Canadian Union of Public Employees says 128 Air Transat flight attendants — more than half the current workforce of attendants — were notified last week that they will be temporarily laid off and that the airline’s Vancouver base will be closed as a stop-gap measure.

CUPE says last week’s layoffs leave only 117 flight attendants working for the month of November, down from 245 flight attendants working in October, 355 in August and 2,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christophe Hennebelle, Transat AT’s vice president of human resources and corporate affairs, says that while no flight attendants have been permanently let go, the company is processing “a number of temporary layoffs.”

Hennebelle says the company cannot confirm total numbers before everyone has been informed, but that 128 flight attendants were told of the change last week.

In total, the airline says it now has about 1,700 active employees, down from 5,100 before the pandemic.

The airline attributed the decision to a lack of improving prospects for the industry amid Canada’s border closures and a dearth of support programs for airlines.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Air Transat lays off half remaining fight attendants, closes Vancouver base – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The Canadian Union of Public Employees says 128 Air Transat flight attendants — more than half the current workforce of attendants — were notified last week that they will be temporarily laid off and that the airline’s Vancouver base will be closed as a stop-gap measure.

CUPE says last week’s layoffs leave only 117 flight attendants working for the month of November, down from 245 flight attendants working in October, 355 in August and 2,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christophe Hennebelle, Transat AT’s vice president of human resources and corporate affairs, says that while no flight attendants have been permanently let go, the company is processing “a number of temporary layoffs.”

Hennebelle says the company cannot confirm total numbers before everyone has been informed, but that 128 flight attendants were told of the change last week.

In total, the airline says it now has about 1,700 active employees, down from 5,100 before the pandemic.

The airline attributed the decision to a lack of improving prospects for the industry amid Canada’s border closures and a dearth of support programs for airlines.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Bank of Canada sees lingering weakness in business sentiment – BNN

Published

 on


Business sentiment in Canada improved over the summer but remains near historical lows as uncertainty around the path of the virus curbs demand and sales prospects, according to the Bank of Canada.

The results from the autumn Business Outlook Survey show businesses report conditions have improved as warmer weather and lower Covid-19 case counts encouraged consumers to go out and buy goods and services. However, businesses are still worried about future demand and sales prospects with some economic restrictions still in place.

“Firms reported their sales prospects are limited by weak demand and precautionary health guidelines, and that their investment and hiring plans remain Modest due to elevated uncertainty,” the central bank said in the survey, which took place between Aug. 24 and Sept. 16.

The tone of the survey is consistent with the Bank of Canada’s view that a full recovery will be long and difficult. The economy rebounded more quickly than expected in the summer as containment measures were lifted but the second phase of the recovery — known as the “recuperation” phase — will be uneven and protracted.

The composite gauge of sentiment rose to -2.2 in the third quarter, from a decade-low of -6.9 last quarter. While that’s a substantial improvement, the reading is still the second-lowest since 2016.

Although the survey was completed recently, economic conditions have changed as Covid-19 cases rapidly rose, particularly in the country’s two largest provinces. Ontario and Quebec reimposed containment measures on some businesses and activity in recent weeks in response to the second wave which will keep a lid on demand and hamper economic activity through the fall and winter.

More Highlights:

  • Recovery remains uneven across industries: One third of firms reported sales were mostly unaffected or positively affected by COVID‑19; a second third of firms indicated sales have already fully recovered or will recover within the next 12 months; final third either expect their sales won’t return for at least 12 months or are unsure when sales will fully rebound
  • Businesses that say sales won’t recover within a year typically linked to tourism and related industries where physical distancing is difficult
  • Meanwhile, businesses linked to real estate, infrastructure and natural resources have largely recovered or see themselves recovering within a year
  • Capacity constraints appear to be back to historical averages, but the central bank says most firms facing constraints see them as temporary or not broad-based
  • Despite the rebound in the capacity gauge, BOC concludes: “Results for capacity and labor pressures suggest that the economy continues to have excess capacity and labor slack, although these have narrowed since the summer survey”
  • Investment intentions improved from previous quarter, but remain weak — below historical averages
  • Employment intentions have also rebounded, though they remain slightly below historical averages. It’s an uneven trend. “Almost one-third of businesses — generally those that are dependent on tourism or facing weak demand — expect their workforce levels to remain lower than before the pandemic for at least the next 12 months or to never fully return”
  • Wage growth is expected to slow, the survey found
  • Firms expect input prices to grow at a slightly faster pace over the next 12 months, driven by increases in commodity prices, difficulty sourcing inputs, or higher operating costs due to health guidelines
  • Businesses have slightly higher inflation expectations, with 11 per cent of firms expecting inflation above 3 per cent

–With assistance from Erik Hertzberg.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending