Monday, March 19, 2012

Air Canada suffers more turbulence as maintenance company crashes

About two hundred workers from the maintenance company Aveos have closed off access to the head office of Air Canada in Montreal near the Trudeau Airport. The company shut down suddenly without notice to workers. The company performed maintenance work for Air Canada.

Air Canada was about to lock out pilots and also faced a strike by ground crews when the government intervened. In protest pilots have been calling in sick causing some flight delays over the weekend.

On Sunday the Aveos locked out at least 2,400 staff at plants in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and the largest in Montreal. In Montreal about 200 workers blocked a road into Air Canada offices. They held signs calling on the government to intervene. They prevented Air Canada workers from entering the offices. The company has about 1800 affected staff in Montreal plus 350 in Winnipeg and 250 in Vancouver. All were locked out.

Originally Air Canada maintenance was carried out by a division of the company itself Air Canada Technical Services. As often happens to save money the company formed an independent company in 2007 and renamed Aveos the next year. They had a contract for maintenance up to 2014. Air Canada was the firms largest customer.

As is common these days, Air Canada has been contracting out even further afield and no doubt at cheaper rates. Air Canada is now sub-contracting out maintenance of landing gear and engines to other companies including Chinese providers. No doubt this has made Aveo unprofitable. For more see this CBC article, and also here.

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