Skip to main content

Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada is poses in their new museum at Montreal headquarters, February 24, 2016.

Onerous restrictions and costs are hindering Air Canada's ability to expand and compete internationally, the airline's CEO said Wednesday.

Calin Rovinescu said Canada's airport fees are too high and legacy legislation from when the company was government-owned means it's operating at a disadvantage.

"We need to have the same ability to compete, the same level playing field that everyone else has," said Rovinescu at a Calgary Chamber event.

Story continues below advertisement

He said he hoped Bill C-10 will come into force soon so the company will have fewer restrictions on where it conducts airline maintenance. The legislation would lift requirements on the number of maintenance employees in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario and how much work is done in those provinces.

The labour restrictions were part of the privatization measures of Air Canada 28 years ago that Rovinescu said are outdated.

"It's somewhat preposterous that we would have a duty to perhaps be uncompetitive, or potentially uncompetitive, in one aspect of our business by being required to do maintenance in certain places," he said.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union has opposed the legislation, saying it will mean Air Canada will be under no obligation to do any maintenance work in Canada.

On boosting Canada as an international transit hub, Rovinescu said the government needs to lower its fees, with Air Canada paying $802-million in airport and navigation fees last year.

"We shouldn't have a cost disadvantage to connect passengers over Canada as opposed to over other destinations," he said.

He hopes visa restrictions for tourists passing through Canada would also be lifted to make it easier to create international transit hubs in the country.

Story continues below advertisement

His comments come as Air Canada makes a major foreign expansion push, with about 90 per cent of its capacity increase to come from international markets this year.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies