Changes to Canadian airlines could make flying even bumpier after this summer
Canadian travelers have had a lot to do over the past few weeks, with flight cancellations, extreme wait times and changing travel rules. But the situation could get worse after this summer, according to some industry experts. Staffing shortages at airlines and airports will continue, exacerbated by the entry of new low-cost airlines into the market and upcoming structural changes at established carriers.
“We are going to face a tsunami of capacity in the Canadian market over the next 18 to 24 months. Airports will be as busy, if not busier than we have already seen this summer,” said the McGill faculty lecturer and coordinator of the aviation management program. Program John Gradek says Blog MTL.
Ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) Flair and Lynx are expected to deploy 50 new planes each in the coming months, while Porter plans to expand your fleet by 50 other planes.
“We’re going to see 150 new planes, which is about the size of Air Canada’s fleet, so it’s like another big carrier starting up but with three different companies,” Gradek said.
While more flights may relieve some of the congestion at airports, it could also make it worse.
“The fact that we’ll have all this growth at the bottom of the Canadian airline ladder is going to keep wages low,” Gradek said.
ULCC airlines operate with a low-cost business model to pass the savings on to customers through cheap tickets. But one way they keep their costs low is by paying lower wages and outsourcing jobs. It will not attract people to join the industry or create an atmosphere of competition between carriers to provide better service.
“[ULCCs] will drive wages for most people working in airlines and airports. We will see a continuation of the panic we had this summer to get people to work. It’s going to make the congestion even worse,” Gradek said.
“Flair and Lynx’s modus operandi is to cut costs. They outsource it to third-party service providers and these guys compete on the basis of price, which drives down pricing structures. Hand rates “Related workforces will also go down. As much as you might think they want to create a greater level of ownership and belonging, they won’t create careers for people.”
As emerging carriers begin to expand their services, they will have to compete with other airlines for airport access. At one of Canada’s busiest travel hubs, Toronto Pearson Airport, existing airlines have top priority for landings and departures. This “slot-based system” is granted to airlines on the basis of historical operating rights. This means that new ULCCs must request slots and will only receive those that are available.
With Porter Airlines planning to increase its fleet, many of the current airport openings will likely evaporate for competing carriers. Not only will this have an impact on prices, but a lack of staff coupled with much higher traffic could overload Pearson airport’s infrastructure.
“Good luck. It’s going to be a zoo,” Gradek said.
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