Letter from Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO: Leading Through Science
Nov 2020

It is sometimes overlooked that, working as we do every day with leading-edge technologies, Air Canada’s great underlying strength is its facility with science. We employ aircraft engineers, software engineers, doctors and nurses, human-behaviour specialists and other health and safety professionals, and now we are drawing on this expertise to combat Covid-19 and safeguard our customers and employees.

Since the pandemic’s onset, Air Canada has relentlessly pursued and advocated for science-based approaches. Experience shows that a measured, scientific response, combined with the appropriate technology, is highly effective at problem-solving. This is why we were among the first carriers to institute the now universal requirement for face coverings and temperature checks for travellers.

We were leaders again this fall, joining with McMaster HealthLabs and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority in the largest Covid-19 study of its kind in the world. It gathered data to evaluate the effectiveness of various quarantine periods and the feasibility of self-sampling for testing to provide information for science-based policy options for governments. Preliminary results are encouraging.

There are other medical collaborations and partnerships, too. We have contracted with Cleveland Clinic Canada for advisory services, Spartan Bioscience to explore portable Covid-19 testing technology, TraceSCAN for contact tracing and, since 2019, with BlueDot for real-time infectious-disease global monitoring. Recently, the same day the technology was approved for use in Canada, we announced our intention to acquire rapid-testing kits from Abbott, and we keep exploring other potential partnerships to strengthen our biosafety protocols.

Air Canada has a long history of staying ahead of the curve, anticipating change, supporting research and using science to increase safety. This includes our participation in the early testing of deicing techniques and the development of the black box, to supporting research into global warming and alternative fuels. Today, facing one of the greatest challenges of our time, we are putting our scientific and technical skills to use protecting our customers and employees, and promoting the well-being of society.