TORONTO — The year had its challenges but Air Canada still made sure to say thank you to its travel industry partners last night at its exclusive holiday party.
Taking place at the airline’s Toronto office, the festive gathering allowed the Air Canada team, led by Lisa Pierce, Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales, and Lucie Guillemette, Chief Commercial Officer, to reflect back on a year of several challenges that included the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX and, more recently, the launch of Altéa, Air Canada’s new reservation system.
Pierce, who thanked guests for “sticking with us”, compared Altéa’s capabilities to Baskin Robbins’ 31-flavour offering.
“That’s where we are right now,” she said, “and as you can imagine, it can be difficult while learning all these new flavours.”
Launched on Nov. 18, Altéa has already experienced several glitches that have resulted in mounting customer complaints. But according to Guillemette, this is all par for the course whenever a company undergoes a major change such as this.
“It’s like going through a heart transplant and a lung transplant at the same time,” she said. “We knew there’d be hiccups and we tried to plan for them as best as we can. We know the last two weeks have not been easy on you, so we’re being extremely sincere when we say thank you for supporting us through this.”
Guillemette also added that airlines typically experience such a major overhaul only once every 25 years: “This is it for us. The last two weeks have not been easy but we are going to come out the other end in much better shape than before.”
Looking ahead to the next 2-5 years, Guillemette said there are more exciting things to come, namely Air Canada’s Airbus 220s and the return of the 737. She also reminded guests that the airline is working on its new loyalty program.
“We’ve grown as an airline by 50% in the last few years, and we’re now optimizing our future,” she added. “There’s still so much to do and we’re so excited for what the future holds. We could not do it without your support, so tonight we’re taking a bit of time to say thank you for helping us through it all.”