Canada passengers likely want more flight attendants, not fewer, to ensure they get beverages, food, blankets and other requests in a timely manner. But a new decision from Transport Canada may mean longer waiting times, at least on some of the airline’s planes.
The federal agency granted Air Canada an exemption to operate its narrow body fleet with fewer flight attendants. The amendment to the Canadian Aviation Regulation allows Air Canada to operate these planes with a ratio of one flight attendant for every 50 passenger seats, as opposed to the existing ratio of 1 to 40.
Air Canada applied for an exemption in June 2013, after WestJet Airlines Ltd. was granted one for its aircraft.
We view this development as a positive for Air Canada as it will result in future cost savings and will put the airline on equal footing with WestJet, Sunwing and the U.S. airlines, CIBC World Markets analyst Kevin Chiang told clients.
Air Canada expects the change will generate approximately $30-million in annual savings.
Mr. Chiang noted Transport Canada is proposing to overhaul the rules on how many flight attendants are required an all planes, aiming for the decision to be left to airlines and reducing the need for exemption requests.
Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor