Letter from Michael Rousseau, President and CEO: Shaping the network of the future
Jan 25, 2022

January 2022

Predicting the future is a risky way to make a living, as recent events with the global pandemic have shown. But the success of any airline depends greatly on its ability to anticipate where people will someday want to go, and to have the flights available to get them there.

This is even more important as airlines hard hit by Covid-19 rebuild their networks. At Air Canada, our network-planning and revenue-management teams have already been at this for some time. This past summer and fall, we restarted 50 routes within Canada and 34 destinations in the United States, with more to come. As well, we are returning to many Caribbean and other southern destinations this winter, and for summer 2022 we have announced service to nearly 30 transatlantic destinations.

In rebuilding our network, we are taking a cautious but optimistic view. We are not simply restoring suspended services but also adding new routes and destinations to our schedule. We have launched service to Cairo and Doha, new city pairings such as Montreal–Delhi, and other new domestic and U.S. routings. Much of this is driven by people's desires to reconnect with family and friends, some of whom they have not seen in years.

As a top international carrier, we were one of the few airlines in the world serving all six inhabited continents when the pandemic struck. Rebuilding such a complex network is a challenge, especially as the historical models we previously used to manage our schedule were made largely obsolete by Covid. Customer booking patterns have changed, as have the markets which now fuel our recovery, so we have been innovating with new techniques and tools, including using AI, to map future demand expectations.

Predictions are tricky, but one thing we do foresee is that as the pandemic recedes, people will be increasingly eager to renew ties, take a holiday, have an adventure or even get back to travelling for work. Another prediction I can confidently make is that whenever you travel next, we at Air Canada will be ready to welcome you on board and take you safely wherever you may want to go.

The letter from Mike appears in enRoute Magazine, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine found onboard all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. This edition is from the January-February issue.