Time to step it up

(Photo credit: “avions sur fond d’arc-en-ciel,” Flickr/abdallahh)

The airline Canadians love to hate is really taking it in the goolies with the high price of jet fuel:

Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, is cutting major routes and thousands of jobs in an effort to stay competitive amid record-high fuel prices – and warned more cuts could be on the way if costs continue to soar.

Tuesday’s announcement follows similar reductions in services and staff at U.S. airlines. It also comes after Air Canada, along with other airlines, imposed fuel surcharges and baggage fees on customers – also related to higher fuel costs.

“I regret having to take these actions, but they are necessary to remain competitive going forward,” said Montie Brewer, Air Canada’s president and chief operating officer.

WestJet, the upstart competitor, is telling anyone who asks that it’s got an expansion plan that’s fully on track. Just getting bigger.

I haven’t known anybody who really flies Air Canada by choice — it’s usually because of a schedule that’s dramatically better. But with the prices rising and rising and rising, what with fuel surcharges and add-ons for taking a bag and whatnot, the level of service and the reliability really start to matter. The competition, or the train, starts to look better and better.


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