Over a 15-year career, he has spearheaded the successful development, implementation and profitable expansion of Air Canada’s global network, helped grow three globally competitive and international aviation hubs (Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal) and was a key player in the airline’s decision to purchase the technologically leading Canadian-built Airbus A220-300.
And that’s before Mark Galardo’s 36th birthday.
Because of those and many other achievements, Air Canada’s Vice President, Network Planning, has been named to Canada’s prestigious Top 40 Under 40 list, which recognizes exceptional achievements of 40 outstanding Canadians under the age of 40.
“Being identified as a future leader at Air Canada is, honestly, a huge honour. My passion for aviation started at a relatively young age when I spent probably too much time studying airline timetables and not enough time on my actual school work. Having grown up in Montreal, working for Air Canada was always a dream of mine. Many years later, I can say that I am truly proud to be part of this organization and I am extremely privileged to be working with such a talented team of individuals,” Galardo said.
Mark is a key member of the leadership at the airline’s Montreal headquarters, overseeing the development and performance of Air Canada’s globe-spanning network that consists of more than 1,500 daily flights to nearly 220 destinations.
“Mark has quickly established himself as a key member of our leadership team after progressing steadily through a series of increasingly responsible positions at Air Canada. He can effectively articulate a vision and motivate his team to achieve its goals. Some of the influential initiatives undertaken under Mark’s direction have been dramatic changes in our route structure, and an innovative fleet deployment and network strategy,” said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada’s President and CEO.
Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice President, People, Culture and Communications at Air Canada, described Galardo as a talented, motivated and capable leader.
“He can clearly articulate and share his vision, as well as mobilize others to ensure our goals were achieved. He is able to view issues from the perspective of both the company and the customer, ensuring that our decisions are rooted in the considerations of our social responsibilities,” she said.
“Mark is without doubt, one of the most qualified airline network planning experts in our industry. Mark has clearly demonstrated his passion and skills, having substantially grown our network and expanded our reach, which has been fundamental to the successful transformation of our airline. Mark was instrumental in the development and expansion of our Montreal hub, which has produced significant results for Air Canada,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.
Under Mark’s guidance, Air Canada has launched 60 new routes in the last two years, and he has overseen the resurgence of Montreal as a key hub for the airline, where capacity has increased nearly 80% in the last five years. He helped launch direct flights from Montreal to international destinations like Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel-Aviv, Lyon, Lisbon and, starting in December, Sao Paolo.
“I have always believed that Montreal could be a strategic hub for Air Canada. After flights were transferred from Mirabel to Dorval, I still felt that Montreal was underestimated, and that Air Canada could turn Montreal's airport into a companion hub to that of Toronto focused mainly on Francophone destinations. The strategy began with Geneva in 2009. Since then, we have launched almost 30 new routes. Today, Montreal is a competitive hub that will continue to stand out in North America,” Galardo said.
Galardo is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Airbus A220 later this year, which he believes will be a gamechanger for Air Canada.
“It will allow us to grow our existing routes, consider new routes and maintain our competitive advantage in the North America market,” he said.
Outside of work, Mark is a devoted father and husband, sports enthusiast and a frequent traveller.
“Almost 2 years ago, we had our daughter and I have to say, singlehandedly, that this is the best thing that ever happened to my wife and me. I love spending the weekends just hanging out together as a family,” Galardo said.