Air Canada announced today that they have ended their long standing contract with regional carrier Air Georgian and will be transferring thousands of flights to smaller communities to another company. Air Canada denies that the change is because of concerns about Air Georgian’s safety and maintenance procedures.
Currently Air Georgian operates 62,000 flights per year carrying around 1.5 million passengers for Air Canada. The airline operates flights for Air Canada Express out of Calgary international (CYYC) and Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson international (CYYZ) with destinations in western Canada and the eastern United States.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick re-affirmed that the transition was unrelated to the allegations in a statement released earlier today. “Air Georgian has performed safely and reliably for us for 20 years”, he said. “The changes to our regional flying are purely a commercial decision.” Fitzpatrick went on to further say that the reason for the decision to end the purchase agreement with Air Georgian is an effort to “simplify and modernize our regional fleet, including a shift to larger aircraft, and to improve customer service and enable us to compete better”.
Last spring the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) ruled that a 2016 incident in Calgary was due to inadequate maintenance and training procedures. The incident involved a nose gear failure on one of the company’s 14 Beech 1900D aircraft. But an internal memo stated that the TSB’s investigators showed bias and bullied employees during their investigation.
The shift has been a discreet one with the only public hint at the change coming in the form of a pilots union release about a new Jazz collective agreement, which, stated that Jazz has increased it’s Air Canada work and would be taking over several leased jets from Air Georgian.
An internal memo at Air Georgian posted on avcanada.ca states that staff will be able to move to Jazz, Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge.