Oxygen Systems (1939-1946)Air Canada was one of the first airlines to have its entire fleet of unpressurized aircraft equipped with fixed oxygen systems for use by flight crew and passengers, using the rebreathing bag principle.
De-icing (1938-9)Air Canada was the first airline to equip its fleet, beginning with the Lockheed 1408 and 1808 aircraft, with alcohol de-icing nozzles ahead of the windscreen to obtain de-icing coverage of the complete windscreen.
Maintenance specification world standard (1956)Air Canada developed standards for technical specifications for the preparation of technical instructions which on June 1,1956 became an internationally recognized maintenance specification standard, adopted in principle by the Air Transport Association of America.
Black Box (1965)In the early 60’s Air Canada was involved in the development of the multi-channel flight recorder. In 1965, Royston Instruments, an English electronics company, with the assistance of Air Canada engineers, produced the multi-channel flight recorder – also known as the black box – that was installed on Air Canada’s DC-8 and Vanguard aircraft.
Jet Engine (April 1, 1960)Air Canada was the first airline to recognize the validity of efficiency claims for the by-pass engine, commonly known as a jet engine, and the first airline to use the jet engine in civil operation with the introduction of DC-8 service on the transcontinental Montreal-Vancouver route.
Electric De-icing (1961)Air Canada introduced in Canada electric de-icing of aerodynamic surfaces with the introduction of Vickers Vanguard aircraft in 1961.
Reservations Automation (January 24, 1963)Canada introduced the world’s first computerized reservations system. The system, designed and manufactured in Canada by Ferranti Canada, fostered tremendous growth in computerized and communications airlines processes. Implementation of ReserVec was completed on January 24, 1963.
Jet Freighter (October 1963)With the introduction of the DC-8F Jet Trader, Air Canada became the first airline in the world to operate a jet freighter (all-cargo aircraft).
All-turbine Fleet (April 12, 1963)Air Canada became the first major airline with an all turbine fleet when it retired its last propeller-driven DC'3s. The all-turbine fleet brought about an increase in productivity and reduction in maintenance costs.
Airbus A320 (January 25, 1990)Air Canada was the first airline in Canada to operate the Airbus A320. The airline took delivery of its first Airbus A320 on January 25, 1990 in Toulouse (France).
Non-smoking airline (October 1990)Air Canada became the first scheduled airline in the world to offer exclusively smoke-free flights between North America and Europe. Prior to this date, in September 1988, Air Canada became the first Canadian airline to ban smoking on all of its charter and scheduled flights within North America and the Caribbean.
Telephones at arm's reach (September 8, 1992)Air Canada became the first airline in the world to offer all its customers telephones at arm's reach on all of its aircraft.
Electronic Ticket (December 7, 1995)The Electronic ticket made its debut in Canada when Air Canada began testing the service on selected Canadian routes. It was phased in across Canada and on transborder routes during 1996.
Airbus A319 (December 1996)Air Canada was the first North American carrier to operate the Airbus A319, the first of which was introduced on the Toronto-Boston route.
GO AC WEBSAVER (February 12, 1997)Air Canada became the first airline in Canada to email electronic specials and discounts with the introduction of GO AC WEBSAVER.
Express Check-in (August 30, 1999)Air Canada became the first airline to introduce self-service Express Check-in Kiosks in Canada.
Interline Electronic Ticket (June 14, 2000)Air Canada and United Airlines introduced the world's first interline electronic ticket.
Simplified Fare Structure (May 2003)Air Canada became the first North American legacy carrier to simplify its fare structure for bookings made online across its entire domestic network.
Multi-trip Flight Passes (April 2004)Air Canada's self-managed online multi-trip Flight Passes are an industry first, leading to the creation of fixed monthly payment subscription passes for unlimited travel.
Personal Seatback Entertainment Systems (June 2005)Air Canada was the first carrier to introduce personal seatback entertainment systems in smaller jet aircraft for short-haul flights.
Lie-flat Beds (November 10, 2005)Air Canada became the first North American carrier to introduce lie-flat beds in all business class cabins across its refurbished international fleet
2D Barcode Technology (2006)Air Canada led the development of airline industry standarts for the use of 2D barcodes by airlines.
2D Barcode Scanning (September 22, 2006)Air Canada was the first airline in North America to implement 2D barcode scanning, with the introduction of 2D barcodes on boarding passes and itinerary receipts.
Electronic Boarding Pass (September 21, 2007)Air Canada was the first airline in North America to introduce electronic boarding passes for mobile check-in, for customers using a cellular phone or smart phone
Mobile Flight Notifications (August 4, 2009)Air Canada became the first North American airline to introduce Flight Notification service for delayed or cancelled flights, or gate change details to be sent directly to text-messaging-enabled phones or to an email address.
Air Canada Apps (August 20, 2009)Air Canada was the first North American airline to release mobile applications for Apple and Blackberry devices in August and October 2009, respectively. The free App allows travellers to retrieve electronic boarding passes, track flight information in real-time, receive notification of itinerary changes and more.
Cargo Mobile (November 2, 2010)With the introduction of the Air Canada Cargo mobile app, Air Canada became the first cargo carrier to offer a mobile tracking solution.
ACV Mobile (April 20, 2011)Air Canada Vacations was the first Canadian tour operator to offer customers a free mobile application for Apple and Blackberry users.
Mobile Booking (September 12, 2011)Air Canada was the first airline in Canada to introduce mobile booking through our Apple App.
Air Canada Foundation (February 29, 2012)In celebration of its 75 years of community involvement, Air Canada launches the Air Canada Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on the health and well-being of children in need.
Rouge Takes Flight (July 1, 2013)Air Canada Rouge, a new leisure airline, takes to the skies for the first time. Flight AC1920 departs Toronto for Kingston, Jamaica, followed five minutes later by flight AC1924 to Liberia, Costa Rica.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner (May 18, 2014)Air Canada was the first airline in Canada to fly the new long-range, fuel-efficient plane. Air Canada’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight was AC7008, which arrived at Toronto’s Pearson Airport carrying 100 employees on its maiden voyage.
The Apple Watch App (March 27, 2015)Customers are able to confirm flight info, as well as receive check-in and boarding prompts, through the Air Canada app for the recently released Apple Watch.
TSA Pre ✓ Program (April 30, 2015)Air Canada is the first foreign carrier to allow customers travelling from the U.S. to obtain electronic boarding passes at U.S. airports, providing easier access to the TSA Pre ✓ program and expedited security screening for pre-approved travellers.
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (July 31, 2015)Air Canada receives its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a larger version of the Boeing 787-8, which is already part of the fleet and popular with flyers. The Boeing 787-9’s greater range and capacity allows Air Canada to offer non-stop service to new international destinations on six continents.
Air Canada Cargo new e-Booking Tool (August 12, 2015)It’s now simpler than ever to book and manage shipments online with Air Canada Cargo. The new e-booking tool has a clean, modern interface that is quick and easy to navigate.
Wi-Fi In The Sky (March 15, 2016)Air Canada is the first Canadian airline to offer in-seat Wi-Fi access on select North American flights and across all 129 narrow-body aircraft, boasting more Wi-Fi-enabled planes than any other Canadian airline.
Biofuel Supply Chain Initiative (May 10, 2016)Air Canada participates in Canada's Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) will be held at Montréal-Trudeau Airport. The three-year collaborative project with 14 stakeholder organizations introduces 400,000 litres of sustainable aviation biofuel (biojet) into a shared fuel system.
New Livery, New Look (Feb. 9, 2017)Air Canada reveals a sleek new livery inspired by Canada’s 150th birthday. Air Canada begins painting its fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft in a distinctive black and white design, with the encircled red maple leaf ensign (the Air Canada rondelle) returning to the tail after a 24-year absence.
Alternative Payments with Adyen (Nov. 1, 2017)Air Canada participates in a partnership with Adyen that will greatly expand the range of local payment methods available to customers. With Adyen, Air Canada can process cards and local payment methods via a single gateway. Customers can now transact locally on aircanada.com using iDeal in the Netherlands, Sofort and Giropay in Germany, Bancontact in Belgium, Poli in Australia and Alipay and WeChat Pay in China.
Virtual Reality Dreamliner (Nov. 9, 2017)Air Canada is the first Canadian airline to use virtual reality technology to simulate the experience of flying on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner for travel agents and potential customers. Through a fully immersive, interactive experience, users can explore all three cabins of service offered on board the aircraft, including enjoying a virtual International Business Class meal complete with wine in an Executive Pod.
Hello, Alexa (Nov. 15, 2017)Air Canada offers customers additional convenience by becoming the first Canadian airline to develop a skill for Amazon's popular voice service, Alexa. Devices with Alexa will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to respond to spoken questions about such things as fare quotes and the status of Air Canada flights.
Signature Suite Opens At Pearson (Nov. 29, 2017)Air Canada unveils its Signature Suite for its top International Business customers at its Toronto Pearson global hub. The new suite is an exclusive airport retreat where eligible premium customers can dine à la carte at a complimentary, full-service restaurant from a menu created by acclaimed chef David Hawksworth, or enjoy hors d'œuvres, champagne, fine wines and cocktails in an intimate, Canadian-designed and decorated setting
Expanded Economy Fare Structure (April 4, 2018)Air Canada unveiled an expanded range of North America Economy fares to give its customers greater flexibility to select the airport and onboard amenities they want when travelling. The airline introduces a new comfort fare that provides customers a wide range of features, including complimentary access to Preferred Seats, and the option to purchase other amenities such as Maple Leaf Lounge access.
Signature Class and Signature Service (April 17, 2018)Air Canada introduces its new Air Canada Signature Class and Signature Service on international routes. Signature Class includes lie-flat seats, priority service at every stage of the journey, including access to airport concierge services, BMW service for connecting passengers, expedited check-in and security clearance, priority baggage handling and preferential boarding. Eligible customers at Toronto Pearson also have access to the exclusive Air Canada Signature Suite.
Response to Tim Rose
Unfortunately, we are unable to transport Mr. Rose with his wheelchair on his trip to Cleveland next month due to the size limitations of the aircraft our regional partner operates for the 54-minute flight between Toronto and Cleveland. Although it can accommodate many types of wheelchairs, the cargo door of the CRJ regional jet is too small to fit his wheelchair. In an attempt to accommodate Mr. Rose, among other things we spoke to the chair’s manufacturer to determine if it could be disassembled to fit and we explored alternative routings but a viable option was not identified. (Cleveland airport is deemed a “US domestic” airport and is served mostly by commuter aircraft and the Air Canada flights to and from Toronto are the only “international” flights.)
We understand Mr. Rose’s disappointment. This situation is a regrettable anomaly as Mr. Rose has himself indicated he has flown without issues more than 40 times, including on Air Canada. We take our commitment to accessible transportation very seriously. We carried 2,335 powered mobility aids last year along with tens of thousands of manual wheelchairs. At Toronto Pearson alone, we provide airport wheelchair service to more than 350,000 customers per year. This unusual case is due to the small cargo door on the 50-seat CRJ regional jet; a very popular aircraft for the regional market with over 550 such aircraft in operation in North America and elsewhere in the world.
It should be noted that both Canadian and U.S. regulations recognize that airlines may face limitations on their ability to accommodate customers with special needs on certain smaller aircraft. For example, the Air Transportation Regulations, adopted pursuant to the Canada Transportation Act, state:
148 (2) Where an air carrier operates an aircraft that has fewer than 60 passenger seats and the design of the aircraft does not permit the carriage of a person’s aid referred to in paragraph (1)(a), the air carrier
- is not required to carry the aid; and
- shall advise the person about transportation arrangements that are available for the aid.
For more information on Air Canada’s services for customers with special needs
Young passengers travelling alone (12-17 years)
It’s very concerning for us when situations such as this involving a 15 year old teenager are brought to our attention. We had no indication in the booking file that Hayden was a 15 year old teenager travelling alone. Our policy is very clear: even if the parent or guardian has not asked for our Unaccompanied Minor service, our agents will take care of our younger customers in need of special assistance. This includes arranging for a hotel room, subject to availability, with a chaperone. In the event hotel rooms are not available, we have back-up plans involving staff who stay with the child. However, we can only take the appropriate action if we are made aware of the individual’s circumstances. Our gate agent was only made aware he was a teenager travelling alone the following morning.
This unfortunate situation does serve as an important reminder for customers, and especially parents or guardians, to make sure we are given all the necessary information when making the reservation including the age of younger travellers who are travelling alone, contact information or any other details that will help us better serve them. It is all the more important that reservation files include this information as ticketing is electronic and rebooking is done automatically based on this information. Parents and guardians should also reinforce that if at any time the young person feels they need for help or assistance they should not hesitate and come speak to one of our agents.
Operational challenges sometimes create a lot of activity at the gate and in this instance we were taking care of a large number of customers who were affected by the downgauge of the aircraft of Hayden’s original flight on July 13th to a smaller one with fewer seats due to mechanical issues. Unfortunately this meant we were unable to board all passengers booked on that flight, and Hayden along with other passengers were re-booked on the next available flight. Our Customer Relations team has since been in contact directly with the family to apologize and offer appropriate compensation.
Fuel vis-à-vis fares
Air Canada monitors the price of fuel very closely; it is our single largest expense and we continue to consider adjustments to pricing and capacity.
There are a number of other factors that also affect pricing such as currency changes, market conditions, competition, supply and demand, all of which are continually reviewed and we adjust fares both up and down to reflect these factors. Such price adjustments are normal in the industry. Fuel is purchased in US dollars so the recent relative decline in the Canadian dollar has had an unfavourable impact on the real cost of fuel to Canadian carriers.
Air Canada aims to be price competitive in all markets but beyond that we cannot speculate about future changes to fares or fees.