January 7, 2009

Air Canada to review stormy December

The chief of Air Canada has ordered a review of how the airline dealt with a storm-ridden December that made for unflattering visuals for the television.

Chief Executive Officer Montie Brewer wrote a directive to employees from headquarters in Montreal saying the series of pre-Christmas storms that stretched across the country dragged Air Canada's on-time performance down to 59 percent in December, the Globe and Mail reported.

That compares with 85 percent in November, the report said.

The long lines, piles of delayed baggage, late and canceled flights on airport screens and frustrated customers all made for unflattering visuals for the television newscasts, Brewer wrote.

His memo assured staff it wasn't just ground workers' performance that would come under scrutiny.

Rest assured we are reviewing our performance at all levels throughout the company, Brewer said. We are not doing so to assign blame but rather to see what went wrong, what we can and must do better, and what worked well.

While the airline isn't obliged to do so in bad weather conditions, Air Canada supplied more than 5,000 hotel rooms for stranded travelers, but didn't publish the cost, the Globe said.