| 13 June 2024, Thursday |

Air Canada pilots stage protests in Toronto as contract deadline looms

Air Canada (AC.TO) pilots staged a protest at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Friday, demanding better pay and benefits as talks over a new contract covering 4,500 pilots at Canada’s largest carrier continue.

Canadian pilots are pressing for higher salaries and better scheduling after U.S. counterparts at companies, including United Airlines (UAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and American Airlines (AAL.O), made historic gains in new labor deals over the last few months.

North American airlines have been grappling with challenges in recruiting enough trained pilots and crew members as they aim to capitalize on the strong surge in international travel demand following the pandemic.

“We have quite a few issues we need to address in terms of career progression, our job security, and aviation safety. We have to close the growing wage gap between us and our American counterparts,” Chair of the governing body for the airline’s pilots union Charlene Hudy told Reuters.

Currently, the union is actively engaged in negotiations with Air Canada, and it anticipates that these discussions will persist throughout the entire month of October, Hudy added.

Air Canada’s pilots have received a 2% wage increase per year since 2014. The country’s inflation rate was running at 4.3% in March, a 19-month low.

“We are still early in the bargaining process and Air Canada remains engaged in productive discussions with ALPA,” the carrier said on Friday.

The pilots for the Montreal-based carrier, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) union, began bargaining for new labor terms this summer.

The company’s previous decade-long contract ends on Friday.

  • Reuters