Air Canada unveils new Ontario operations centre to oversee 600 daily flights
Air Canada planes are shown in this undated image. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:43PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:10PM EDT
BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) unveiled its new operations centre in Brampton, Ont., on Tuesday, a state of the art facility that Canada's largest airline says should "significantly improve" its operational capabilities while also increasing efficiency.
About 400 employees will staff the 75,000-square-foot operations centre when it opens in January 2014.
The $60-million facility will serve as central control for the airline's day-to-day operations, from which staff will oversee almost 600 Air Canada flights each day.
Staff will be responsible for dispatching flights, scheduling crews, handling flight changes and cancellations and planning for disruptions such as storms, among other things.
With corporate headquarters in Montreal, Air Canada is the country's largest domestic and international airline, flying to more than 175 destinations on five continents.
President and chief executive Calin Rovinescu said during the unveiling that the airline -- which counts 53 U.S. centres among its scheduled destinations -- may be able to pick up a few extra slots at airports south of the border if American Airlines and U.S. Airways are forced to divest some slots in order to secure a merger.
"There will be some bits and pieces available for carriers like us, for sure. Certainly there will be some advantages if there are conditions imposed on the merger."
Otherwise, the proposed merger, which has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as attorneys general in five states, will have no impact on Air Canada's operations, Rovinescu said.
However, Rovinescu said he would be "astounded" if the U.S. Justice Department were to "completely kibosh the merger."
"My personal belief... is that there will be some form of consolidation, probably with conditions. Clearly the industry is headed in that direction."