Facts About Air Canada

Facts About Air Canada

  • 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.

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

  1. is not required to carry the aid; and
  2. 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

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.

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.