Blog Sep 08, 2020

Keeping Stewardship and Continuing to Rise in the Face of Adversity


The Canadian Business Resilience Network brings together a vast network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 100 of Canada’s leading business and industry associations, from all regions and sectors of the economy. This network represents diverse viewpoints, and the CBRN blog provides a platform to share ideas with other members of the business community and the federal government. The opinions expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of CBRN or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

In this thought leadership piece from Air Canada, they explain the challenges the airline industry in Canada has faced as a result of COVID-19 and what measures are being put in place so that they can overcome the crisis and emerge stronger.

It comes as no surprise that the last few months have been a truly trying time for our business, the travel and tourism industry, and the global economy as a whole. Unlike anything we’ve encountered before, our sector was hit hard by the devastating and unprecedented effects of COVID-19, bringing on a public health and economic crisis at the same time. The travel restrictions affecting our industry, are forcing us to reimagine what it means to be one of the world’s leading airlines and to adapt to this dynamic situation on an daily basis. Through these difficult times we believe that with hard work, a dedicated team and devoted customers we can overcome this crisis and emerge even stronger.      

One of the many ways we’re working to restore travel and rebuild the confidence of customers is with the introduction of our industry-leading, end-to-end health and safety program, Air Canada CleanCare+. Using new biosecurity standards while enhancing preventive measures, the program is designed to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through actions like a touchless airport experience, mandatory face coverings and pre-flight temperature checks, health questionnaires, and the provisioning of hand cleaning and hygiene care kits for all travellers. The program not only offers protection at a personal level, it will enable travellers to book with peace of mind as they begin planning their next adventure. We are also working with Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa-based biotechnology leader, for potential rapid testing and with the Cleveland Clinic to ensure our biosafety measures continues to evolve and remain best in class. Most recently, we held an event to showcase to government officials, travel agency partners and Chamber of Commerce partners, the measures we are taking along with airports, hotels and car rental agencies to ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees.

With better weather upon us and many travellers longing to get back out into the world, we’ve recently put in place an abridged summer schedule, in which we are proudly scheduled to fly to more than 80 destinations within Canada and internationally, servicing more routes than any other Canadian airline, and providing travellers with the most options.

Many customers who fly with us look forward to the experiences we provide at the airport and onboard, and we’re pleased to slowly restore these services in a safe and responsible manner. This summer we begin to introduce onboard meal and beverage service, including meals inspired by our culinary partners. To streamline our service, all of our meals will be presented in custom paper boxes, of course using the most environmentally friendly packaging whenever possible. At our Maple Leaf Lounges, we have introduced a number of new biosafety protocols to keep employees and eligible customers safe in these spaces. Some of the measures include mandatory face coverings for customers and employees, pre-packaged food and refreshments that can also be ordered to your seat from your smartphone, assisted beverage service, and the availability of reading materials through PressReader. Our first Maple Leaf Lounge opened at Toronto Pearson International Airport last week, with Maple Leaf Lounges in Montreal and Vancouver planned to re-open by Labour Day.

Air Canada joined forces with the travel and tourism industry, as well as some Canada’s largest corporations and labour unions, in the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, a coalition committed to responsibly restoring the Canadian tourism and travel sector. The Roundtable continues to urge the federal and provincial governments to thoughtfully re-open travel with a science-based approach. Air travel is not only important for tourism, but it is also critical for the entire Canadian economy. It’s a key driver and enabler of Canada’s international competitiveness.