Air Canada Reports Huge Improvements in Delays, Cancellations, Baggage Mishandling

Air Canada provided on 17AUG a 'self' report card on its efforts to improve operations and smooth out issues like flight delays, cancellations and baggage mishandling that have plagued a summer high season of travel recovery.

The airline cited challenges the global airline industry has encountered emerging from the pandemic, including staff shortages, flight cancellations and delays, and lost luggage as an explanation for the problems that have made headlines and reportedly changed many consumers' willingness to travel by air.

Air Canada compared its operational performance from 27JUN to 14AUG, and reports strong improvements in all three major pain points. During that time, it carried approximately 6.4 million customers across its brands.

Half the Flight Delays

Comparing the week of 27JUN to the week of 08AUG, Air Canada reports a 48 per cent reduction or 1,160 fewer flights that were delay longer than one hour.

In addition, Air Canada says flight delays overall are getting shorter. For flights that experienced any delay, the average arrival delay during the week of 27JUN was 28 minutes longer than the same week in 2019. As of the week of 08AUG, this had improved to 12 minutes.

77 Per Cent Fewer Cancellations

Air Canada says there has been a "substantial reduction" in the volume of flight cancellations. During the week of 08AUG, there was a 77 per cent reduction in the number of cancelled flights as compared to the week of 27JUN. That translates into 960 fewer flights cancelled.

Furthermore, flight completion, which is the percentage of all scheduled flights that are not cancelled, reached 96.7 per cent during the week of 08AUG, which was less than one percentage point lower than the same week in 2019.

According to Air Canada, the "vast majority" of customers experiencing cancellations, often due to weather or other unexpected factors, were able to travel within 24 hours.

Baggage Handling Success Recovered to 2019 Levels

According to Air Canada, its "strongest" area of improvement was seen in baggage handling. The airline says it handles over 650,000 bags per week.

During the week of 27JUN, mishandling rates per 1,000 customers were approximately 2.5 times the same number in 2019. As of the week of 08AUG, this rate has fully recovered to 2019 levels with a baggage handling success rate of 98 per cent.

"Do Everything Possible"

"Earlier this summer, I committed on behalf of everyone at Air Canada that we would do everything possible to restore our company's industry leading standards of customer care. Among other things, this included innovation at the airport, operational changes and significant schedule adjustments and today these are yielding demonstrable improvement in the metrics that matter most to our customers," said Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada in a statement.

"At Air Canada, we know how much our customers value travel and their reliance on us to transport them safely, comfortably and without disruption. This is always our goal and we share with them their disappointment that, coming out of the pandemic, the global industry faltered due to the unprecedented challenges of restarting after a two-year, virtual shutdown," he said.

"While I am very satisfied with the progress to date, and I thank our employees for their unrelenting efforts, we all continue to work hard on behalf of our customers to complete our recovery," he added.

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