Air Canada hosted a luncheon event for top trade partners at the Renaissance Harbourside Hotel in Vancouver yesterday, delivering messages that the Western market is thriving, and the airline is putting the people and resources in place to facilitate further growth.
The event was part of a three-city Western road show, also visiting Calgary and Edmonton this week, reaching out to travel agency owners and managers to introduce new executive Air Canada appointments and leadership to the West.
Kevin Howlett was appointed senior vice president, regional markets in Sept. 2013 and is now based Vancouver.
Howlett has been with Air Canada since 2006, and is responsible for the strategic direction of Air Canada’s regional operations and the relationships with current and future regional carriers operating on its behalf, as well as strengthening regional relationships.
“A lot of the hard work that was put in in 2009-2010 to restructure the company is now finally beginning to pay dividends, and it’s exciting times for a new fleet, an expanding network and growing international and regional markets,” Howlett said.
“Vancouver is a key market in the development of that,” Howlett added.
Duncan Bureau, recently appointed vice president, global sales, based in Toronto was introduced to the Western market at the event, and said a key focus for the airline going forward is more support in Western Canada.
“We are going to invest in Western Canada- this is an incredibly important market for us, whether it’s Asia or transatlantic or domestically,” said Bureau.
Bureau said Air Canada will also be announcing a new head of product distribution in the near future.
“There are so many exciting things happening at Air Canada, whether on the asset side or the new 787 product,” he said.
Bureau said Air Canada currently has four Boeing 787’s, with six more to be delivered by the end of the year, and plans are in the works to eventually grow the 787 fleet to a total of 37.
“This airline, for a long time, hasn’t seen the kind of capacity growth that we’re going to be putting in the market, so between now and 2020, we’re looking at 20 per cent compound annual growth,” Bureau said.
“And we’re looking at the team in Western Canada to help us drive even more penetration into the Asian market-we’re putting a lot of assets into Asia.” Photo: Of Air Canada, Duncan Bureau, vice president, global sales, James Howey, regional general manager, passenger sales, B.C., Edna Ray, regional sales manager, B.C., Kevin Howlett, senior vice president, regional markets & Virgilio Russi, senior director of sales, Canada.