- Air Canada and Cargojet's freighter service to and from Atlanta, Bogota, Dallas-Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Lima and Mexico will cease at the end of 2017, Loadstar reported last week.
- Though the alliance was successful, with both lines seeing gains — Air Canada Cargo’s revenues rose 31% in the first nine months of 2017 — the Air Canada Pilots’ Association (ACPA), on which the alliance depended, have foregone a contract extension.
- Through a "wet lease" option, in which non-ACPA pilots were allowed to fly for the alliance, the contract was temporarily extended, though not for long. Ultimately ACPA pilots named insufficient value as the cause of the cancellation. Air Canada Cargo has stated its intention to continue offering service in the affected markets.
Pilots rights uncertain despite economic upturn.
Allegations against pilots engaged in an "intentional" slowdown brought about court action at the start of last year's peak season, in which pilots revealed industry-wide complaints, including staffing shortages, low pay and substandard contracts.
In the case of Air Canada and Cargojet, the cessation of continued ACPA approval likely had its roots in the use of non-ACPA pilots. With insufficient value to union pilots listed as the primary reason for disapproval, it's clear that allowing outside sources to man airlines already contracted with the ACPA would weaken the union's power to an unacceptable degree. Whether the wet lease was considered due to a pilot shortage or for other undisclosed reasons, the decision to end that option puts flight power back in the hands of the ACPA.
However, considering the profits gained by Air Canada Cargo, it's in the alliance's best interests to find a way to satisfy ACPA staff. Whether that's by improving contracts, guaranteeing manageable schedules, or even raising pay, deploying even a quarter of its new cargo transport gains toward improved pilot conditions is worth the investment. Despite its vow to continue offering service despite the rejected contract, there's no game plan in sight without the ACPA.