AIR CANADA HAS GIVEN WINGS TO THIS COUNTRY AND OPENED DOORS TO THE WORLD. AFTER OVER 80 YEARS IN THE AIR, THE CARRIER CONTINUES ITS ONGOING QUEST TO PROVIDE THE PERFECT SERVICE. A PROFILE ON A CANADIAN GIANT.
Air Canada services some of the most beautiful corners of our nation, and destinations around the world. Deeply rooted in the present, and ever attentive to the needs of today’s travellers, our national airline is also actively preparing for the future. Product lines are becoming more sophisticated, services are improving, and the list of destinations where globetrotters can set down their bags continues to grow, helping shrink the very concept of distance. It’s hard to imagine a runway without imagining fins emblazoned with red maple leaves. And yet, Air Canada’s history is relatively recent. In 1937, civil and commercial aviation was taking off around the world, and a number of countries had established national fleets. Canada was not to be left behind, and so, with $5 million in federal funding, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) took off, and forever changed the way we travel.
Following TCA’s establishment, a survey flight between Montreal (Saint-Hubert) and Vancouver hit the skies on July 30, 1937, making several stops on its journey across Canada. It was not until October of that year that the first paying passengers took their seats on board one of the new carrier’s aircraft. World War II broke out the following year, but the company’s expansion continued, providing vital air service to the war effort, as not all needs could be met by sea. The 1960s and 1970s were decades of exponential growth: computerized reservation systems made their debut and services were diversified. By 2017, Air Canada had made a place for itself alongside industry leaders, joining global alliances and adopting a strategy that spotlighted the company’s intrinsic quality of respect for passengers and their expectations.
Today, Air Canada employs 30,000 people around the world, with new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Boeing 787-8 and -9 Dreamliners having recently joined the fleet. The airline also offers superb concierge service, including hotel, restaurant and show tickets reservations to its Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members and select International Business Class passengers. Other notable services include Air Canada Rouge, a global leisure travel carrier that will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year; Air Canada Cargo, providing global shipping solutions; and Air Canada Jetz, a charter service designed for sports teams, entertainment groups and corporate clients.
The evolution of a logo can reveal much about a company, and Air Canada’s speaks of identity, service and growth. The Air Canada Rondelle (the famous maple leaf in a circle logo) made an early appearance on the company’s aircraft, the same year the current Canadian flag was adopted, in 1965. The re-introduction of this unifying symbol, as displayed on the airline’s new livery, evokes a re-establishment of confidence and heritage for the brand—its diversity, and the values of respect and open-mindedness that characterize the Canadian spirit. The livery’s stylish design and deep colours are a proud assertion as the nation’s flag carrier.
Passenger comfort and well-being have always been top priorities for Air Canada, as seen in everything from alcoholbased windshield de-icing to facilitate winter take-offs (introduced in 1938), to the first covered boarding bridges connecting terminal to aircraft.
To those early innovations, necessitated by the Canadian climate, have been added some clearly contemporary improvements: roomier cabins and more comfortable seats, upgraded in-flight entertainment systems, and an International Business Class wine selection, curated by sommelière, Véronique Rivest, to pair with creations by culinary partner, Chef David Hawksworth.
“WE KNOW THAT EVERY TIME WE FLY WE’RE BRINGING A LITTLE CANADA TO THE WORLD. AND THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL TO WHAT WE’RE STRIVING TO BRING TO CUSTOMERS AS PART OF AN AIR CANADA FLIGHT EXPERIENCE, EVERY FLIGHT. ” — ANDY SHIBATA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BRAND
Then there’s the elegant new Air Canada Signature Suite at Toronto-Pearson International Airport, designed by architect, Heekyung Duquette, where eligible International Business Class passengers can relax in style, sip on a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne, and enjoy a few snacks, or sample some of Chef Hawksworth’s fare. As air travel continues to get busier, services such as these are a welcome relief, offering harried passengers a little respite and relaxation.
Industry trends and market demands have certainly evolved over the years, but Air Canada has never lost its focus on maintaining the highest standards. The first flight attendants—starting with Lucile Garner Grant—were registered nurses; the company has chosen renowned fashion designers, including Michel Robichaud, Léo Chevalier, and most recently, Christopher Bates, to design its uniforms; and they have partnered with some of Canada’s top chefs to create menus that enhance the in-flight experience.
Canada’s flag carrier services 204 destination on 6 continents, meeting the needs of business and leisure travellers alike. In 2017, Algiers, Berlin, Marseille, Mumbai, Nagoya and Taipei joined Air Canada’s growing list.
The world keeps changing and the map continues to be redrawn, but Air Canada today embodies the qualities that have always defined their brand: reliability, courtesy, and, most of all, trust. Because it all begins with the trust that travellers place in their carrier. And as we all know; Air Canada knows how to take us further.