Letter from Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO: Future Perfect
Aug 29, 2018

Spare a thought for James T. Kirk, the illustrious Star Trek captain who, with his flip-phone communicator, could do little more than connect with his starship, the USS Enterprise. With a 200-year head start on the good captain, today’s Air Canada customers can already do far more with their mobile devices. And we are constantly devising new digital capabilities to keep up with the future.

Our customers are mobile by definition – our mobile sales are growing by 50 per cent a year – so we are investing heavily in customer-facing and back-end technology. To meet these high expectations, we have recruited digital professionals skilled in design, analytics, customer relationship management, and IT development.

In the last six months, we introduced a new website booking system, including more fare options so customers can purchase only the attributes they want. We have launched new transparency tools showing live standby and upgrade lists, seat maps, specific Business Class menus for an upcoming flight, inbound flight status, and multi-passenger boarding passes (popular with families).

We are now testing a dedicated Flight Pass service, enabling customers to book a reservation within 30 seconds, and this will be the basis for a new AC Mobile App launching in 2019. Further on, we are developing a feature to track checked baggage in real time.

Air Canada has adopted other new technologies, too. We were the first Canadian carrier to develop an Alexa Skill for Amazon’s voice service, which uses artificial intelligence to respond to spoken questions about such things as fare quotes. To more efficiently sell tickets and track cargo, we are studying block-chain, the powerful technology behind bitcoin.

In support of these initiatives, we are implementing a major two-year program to build an entirely new, computerized passenger-service system. Operating unseen, it will ensure the infrastructure is in place to manage not only reservations but also enable a wide range of other customer support functions, many as yet undreamed of.

Air Canada has always been a technology pioneer. For example, we were the world’s first airline with a computerized reservation system. And while today’s advances are coming at lightspeed, all these futuristic innovations have one thing in common: our timeless commitment to customer service excellence.