Air Canada’s Guillemette says ‘au revoir’: “It’s been an absolute privilege to work in this industry”
The Air Canada team at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, April 13, 2023

Air Canada’s Guillemette says ‘au revoir’: “It’s been an absolute privilege to work in this industry”

TORONTO — A lively event at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto yesterday, hosted by Air Canada, was at once an emotion-filled send-off for Air Canada’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer (and ACV President) Lucie Guillemette, and a look ahead at Air Canada’s bright future.

Guillemette, who announced her retirement earlier this year after a 36-year career with the airline, will take her leave at the end of April.

“For me, it’s been an absolute privilege to work in this industry,” she said yesterday, addressing an audience of retail chain and consortium execs, tour operators and more.

Guillemette said Air Canada is “emerging from the pandemic better than it’s ever been.” Air Canada is currently taking delivery of more Boeing 787s and Airbus 321XLRs, as demand continues to surge. “Even during the pandemic, our goals of becoming one of the top international carriers never wavered,” she said. “Now we feel like we’re back in full force.”

She told the audience: “Even when things were a bit more difficult and Air Canada made decisions that may not have been popular, I could always count on you to have an honest conversation about it, and for that I thank you.”

On a personal note, Guillemette said that while she will miss contributing to Canada’s future, she will always be cheering Air Canada on. “I don’t say goodbye, I say ‘au revoir’. And I will see you onboard – an Air Canada airplane, of course.”


Guillemette’s retirement brings a realigned senior management structure, taking effect May 1, 2023.

Mark Nasr, Senior Vice President, Products, Marketing and eCommerce, will become Executive Vice President Marketing and Digital, and President of Aeroplan.

Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management, will become Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning, including responsibility for Air Canada Vacations.

Galardo spoke at yesterday’s event.

Noting that 2019’s grounding of the 737 Max turned out to be a prelude to an even more shocking turn of events – the pandemic, Galardo looked back to that exceedingly difficult time. “Almost overnight we had to pretty much put the airline in a coma-like state. And Lucie was there to support and guide us.”

The turbulent end of the 2010s and the unthinkable beginning of the 2020s capped what had been the most profitable decade in Air Canada’s history.

Now, says Galardo, “we’re ready to take on the post-pandemic environment. We have never been in better shape than we are today. We’re not just a Canadian airline, we’re a global international airline.”

Much of Air Canada’s success can be credited to its travel advisor partners, Galardo added, expressing his thanks.


Lisa Pierce, Air Canada’s VP, Global Sales and ACV, also acknowledged all the work from Air Canada’s retail partners.

“Mark talks about buying planes. This is the room that’s going to fill them up,” she said to applause.

Pierce noted how Air Canada is rebuilding its U.S. service, and its expanded partnership with United Airlines.

The carrier’s leisure and VFR have come roaring back, while corporate travel is taking its time. That pattern holds true for just about every airline post-pandemic. Pierce notes that in 2022, the only market that showed positive passenger revenues was the Sun market.

She added that Air Canada is looking to maximize every opportunity with all the new arrivals coming to Canada. “The high immigration levels to Canada are creating new demand and new opportunities,” she said.


Nino Montagnese, VP, Air Canada Vacations, highlighted ACV’s tech initiatives from the past 18 months. The tour op has prioritized self-service tools, a project that ramped up during the pandemic and continued as call centre volumes climbed.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on technology for ACV, and our new initiatives will allow us to distribute our product to you much better,” said Montagnese.

A massive investment will also see ACV consolidate its multiple platforms into one centralized B2B platform for the industry.

ACV is also getting ready to launch a new insta-quote tool for Groups. Scheduled to debut in Q3, “it will have functionality you’ve never seen before,” he said.

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