Flight attendant union issues open letter to Air Canada

July 16, 2013
DORVAL, Quebec, 16 July 2013. The Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has issued an open letter to Air Canada.

DORVAL, Quebec, 16 July 2013. The Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has issued an open letter to Air Canada.

CUPE’s Air Canada Component represents more than 6,500 Air Canada flight attendants based in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

The letter, addressed to Air Canada Centre President/CEO Calin Rovinescu, reads:

Dear Mr. Rovinescu,

As more details emerge following Asiana flight 214's tragic crash in San Francisco on Saturday July 6th, the spotlight is now trained on the rapid actions taken by the flight attendants, which were crucial to the successful evacuation and survival of so many passengers despite horrific conditions. The world press is unhesitatingly naming these cabin crew members as heroes. We strongly agree.

Asiana 214 had a ratio of one flight attendant per 24 passengers when it crashed - two passengers died out of 307 individuals on board. And we all remember that Air France 358, which crashed in Toronto Pearson on August 2nd 2005, successfully evacuated all passengers safely - all 309 individuals survived - with a ratio of 1 flight attendant per 35 passengers.

At Air Canada we have a ratio of 1 flight attendant per 40 passengers - a higher safety standard than most other countries, and this is something we're proud of. In light of recent airline accidents, we would respectfully ask Air Canada to maintain their high safety standards, and withdraw your request for an exemption to the 1:40 ratio with Transport Canada. Likewise, we would also ask that you reconsider your recently announced reduction in cabin crew on board Air Canada's wide-body fleet, which includes B-777s, the same aircraft involved in the Asiana accident. Now more than ever it's imperative that we maintain an adequate number of trained safety and security professionals on-board Air Canada flights, ready to deal with the unexpected emergencies that can arise at any moment.

As we've seen over the past few days, when an emergency happens, every available cabin crew member can - and will - save lives. We ask you to make the responsible choice and uphold the high safety standards Canadians expect, and are proud of.


Michel Cournoyer, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE.

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