“Talk about pent-up demand – that’s where it’s really happening”: A look ahead with Air Canada’s Lucie Guillemette

“Talk about pent-up demand – that’s where it’s really happening”: A look ahead with Air Canada’s Lucie Guillemette

“Talk about pent-up demand - that’s where it’s really happening”: A look ahead with Air Canada’s Lucie Guillemette

Air Canada’s Chief Industrial Officer, Lucie Guillemette

Travelweek’s distinctive job interview with Air Canada’s Main Business Officer, Lucie Guillemette, and Senior VP Air Canada, Lisa Pierce, touches on everything from Air Canada’s restoration, to call centre keep times, to the ongoing airport delays at Pearson and other gateways.

In this initially instalment of the job interview, Guillemette presents an overview of Air Canada’s restoration on its domestic, transborder and global routes, furthermore the re-start of Aeroplan, and the return of corporate travel.

Afterwards this 7 days, the second instalment options each Guillemette and Pierce answering thoughts about hold out occasions – each on the cellphone, and at the airport – and about the value of vacation agents.

DOMESTIC Recovery & NEW Opponents

“We assumed domestic would rebound 1st. And which is specifically what occurred,” states Guillemette, when requested what’s reserving very well for Air Canada proper now.

Upwards of 85 – 90% of the carrier’s pre-pandemic domestic network is back again for summer season 2022.

Air Canada is very aware of the several competitors circling the waters suitable now.

Before this thirty day period, Flair Airlines got the environmentally friendly-light-weight from the CTA to continue on running, and the extremely minimal-cost provider will be searching to make good on its growth ambitions.

Upstarts like Lynx and the shortly-to-launch Canada Jetlines are revving their engines as well. And which is not to mention all the other usual gamers.

“It’s a extremely competitive natural environment,” claims Guillemette. “There’s additional low-cost level of competition in Canada. And we’re heading to contend on that entrance.”


Transborder is shaping up perfectly way too, and will no question hit even increased levels now that the U.S. has lifted its pre-departure check necessity.

Air Canada’s transborder community for summer time 2022 consists of 46 destinations, down just a little (from 49) in 2019. And there’s a total of 91 routes, as opposed to 93 in 2019.

“We were being the major international carrier in the U.S. right before the pandemic, and which is a milestone we program to return to,” states Guillemette. “When it will come to the transborder sector, that was just one that we wished to make sure we returned as swiftly as we could.”

With flights to a lot of U.S. places now underway, more are relaunching in June, such as: BDL, MCI, SLC, MSY, MKE, PDX from Toronto ATL, BWI, DTW, MSP, PIT, RDU, SEA and BNA from Montreal AUS, SMF, BOS from Vancouver and BOS from Halifax.

“TRANSATLANTIC IS Likely TO BE Very, Incredibly SOLID”

Not only is demand from customers large for Air Canada’s U.S. locations from Canadian gateways, but the transborder network feeds the airline’s intercontinental network much too.

The summertime months will see Air Canada traveling to 21 a lot more international gateways. Additional to the 20 intercontinental routes that were being currently in company, which is a total of 41 overall.

And which is not counting sunshine locations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central The united states, which are also accomplishing perfectly.

Although Asia could just take until eventually 2023 or 2024 to thoroughly arrive back, typically thanks to China, Guillemette is primarily optimistic about Japan (which not too long ago declared its reopening), and South Korea.

In the meantime forward bookings for Air Canada’s transatlantic routes are going gangbusters, says Guillemette.

“The transatlantic industry for this summer months is heading to be quite, incredibly sound. Converse about pent-up demand from customers … that is one of the markets the place we’ve noticed it the most.”

International routes returning in March 2022 integrated Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. In April 2022, the listing grew to contain Athens, Rome, Lisbon, Venice and Vienna. May perhaps brought Barcelona, Budapest, Casablanca, Cairo, Copenhagen, Madrid and Pleasant. This thirty day period it is Algiers, Edinburgh, Keflavik, Manchester and Milan. And restarting in July? Brisbane.

They’re all on top rated of the current 20: London, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Lyon, Geneva, Zurich, Doha, Dubai, Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Bogota, Sao Paolo, Santiago and Buenos Aires.


Guillemette is also wanting forward to the return of the company current market.

The meteoric increase of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms apart, corporate vacation has been displaying “encouraging signs” for Air Canada given that April, she says.

“We’re considering that by Labour Day, we will not be 100% of 2019, but we should have a significant return of corporate,” she states.

The lag in company vacation for the duration of the pandemic prompted Air Canada to focus its energies on building new markets, to open up new income streams.

A single of all those new markets was leisure top quality, which dovetailed very well with VFR markets travelling to destinations that have been open up for the duration of the pandemic. “Some of those markets ongoing to carry out extremely perfectly,” claims Guillemette. “It’s one thing new that we unlocked for the duration of the pandemic, and we intend to go after.”


Air Canada’s loyalty software is a major providing point equally for the company marketplace, and for leisure.

And though the past two pandemic several years have been a little something everyone in the market could have performed without, they did produce new opportunities – and new partnerships – for Aeroplan.

Back in Air Canada’s hands since late 2018 and relaunched in November 2020, Aeroplan added some massive-identify partners in the course of the pandemic, together with the LCBO, and Starbucks.

Also through the pandemic a long time, Air Canada re-imagined strategies to offer far more Aeroplan users superior obtain to its inventory, to pave the way for less difficult redemptions.

“Despite the point that it was an particularly hard interval of time, we are fortunate in the perception that we did have the likelihood to capture prospects,” claims Guillemette.

Observe for the 2nd instalment of Travelweek’s interview with Guillemette, who was joined by Senior VP Air Canada, Lisa Pierce, as they response issues about hold out occasions – the two on the cellular phone, and at the airport – and about the value of travel agents.