Air Canada has said it has contingency plans in place to maintain its full flight
schedule, supported by hundreds of managers and non-union staff at nine major
Canadian airports.

Senior vice-president Susan Welscheid said Air Canada will implement a contingency
plan at airports and call centres to lessen the disruption on customers, but travellers
should prepare for long lineups and delays in checking baggage.

She encouraged customers to obtain boarding passes online, show up early at the
airport and avoid checking in bags at the counter, if possible, to help cope with long

We urge customers booked for travel over the coming days to familiarize themselves
prior to travel with the self-service check-in and booking tools available at in order that they can self-manage their check-in and bookings prior to
arriving at the airport, Air Canada chief operating officer Duncan Dee said before the
strike began.

Both the union and the national air carrier have said they are committed to
negotiating. However, the union, claims there are still a number of important issues
standing in the way of a deal.

The CAW said Air Canada was creating a two-tier workforce by cutting pensions
of existing members and demanding a lesser, secondary pension for new hires. The
union also takes issue with Air Canada's desire to increase their part-time workforce,
which already occupies approximately 35 per cent of jobs.

But Air Canada argues that its defined-benefit pensions are in jeopardy because of the
heavy burden of funding. Airline management said, Over the past eight years, Air
Canada was faced twice, in 2003 and 2009, with situations where the pension deficit
could not be managed because of its size and threatened to bankrupt the company.

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt urged Air Canada and its employees to keep

The best solution in any dispute is one that the parties reach themselves, Raitt said.