AIR CANADA – IN THE BACKSTAGES OF A CANADIAN PRIDE
Air Canada, its nation’s flag carrier, is an 82-year-old airline. In 1937, Trans-Canada Airlines starts its first operations in the country. Later on, TCA becomes Air Canada and also operates as an international airline flying through 5 continents with 194 destinations mainly from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
A few months ago, we gave you the opportunity to discover the Canadian carrier through our report from Montreal to Geneva.
Today we will make you discover another facet of this Canadian pride. Indeed, Air Canada invited us in December to discover the backstage of an airline stopover in Paris-CDG. The airline currently operates two flights per day: one from Toronto – With the Boeing 787 – and one from Montreal – With the Boeing 777-300ER.
During the summer, the Canadian airline offers flights to the French capital from Vancouver, thanks to the Boeing 787-8 and also upgrades its frequencies from Montreal by operating twice a day, thanks to the Airbus A330-300 and the usual Boeing 777-300ER
2 HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE.
Everything starts, two hours before the departure time at the Terminal 2A where are also operating American Airlines, El Al or XL Airways. From there, passengers are able to make their check-in thanks to self-service terminals or traditionally, at the check-in desks. Once this step is done, they can make their way through security formalities such as customs and check-ups. In CDG, this section, as well as the Duty-Free area, are the same for the Terminals 2A and 2C.
Once they are done with shopping, Air Canada’s passengers are invited to the small part called « the cherry » at the end of the terminal. This small boarding area offers a quiet space composed of two very discrete shops and obviously, seats.
One of the big advantages for Air Canada’s business travelers is that they can freely enjoy a very large Maple Leaf lounge.
The offer is very diversified and while having your breakfast before taking your flight to YUL -Montreal – you can also work or enjoy one of the numerous magazines available.
1 HOUR BEFORE DEPARTURE.
At this time, ground handling is already active around AC871 to Montreal to fresh up the cabin and prepare the aircraft for its 8 hours transatlantic flight.
Cleaning is done, now the catering is brought to our aircraft from the airport’s kitchens. In the plane, your refreshments are stored in the galleys, and the latter come out of their base to be moved through the small corridors.
In the cockpit, engineers are consulting the technical log to see if any anomaly has been reported. These engineers are also active on the tarmac, walking around the aircraft to identify possible technical issues.
On the ground, the fuel tanker is filling the tanks with the precious JET-A1 and the bunkers are charged with bags, fret, and mail.
In the meantime, a second Air Canada flight, the AC880, from YYZ – Toronto – is arriving at its gate. As opposed to the YUL’s service who can enjoy a 4 hours stopover, the AC880/881 has only 90 minutes.
On this flight, teams are more than active, and crews are arriving at the aircraft a very short time after its landing, to get the cabin ready in just 30 minutes.
30 MINUTES BEFORE DEPARTURE.
As the cabin is fully ready, boarding can now be started, at this time there are 30 minutes left before pushback. From 2 minutes of delays, the airline has to make a report and justify it. Punctuality is one of the fundamental principles in commercial operations, an aircraft which is not flying is a sad aircraft but is also costing a lot of money. When the last passengers are seated, the cabin chief is declaring « Boarding completed and count correct ».
While the boarding is completed, the ground crew can now close the doors and disconnect the jetway. When this is done, pilots can now ask the pushback and start-up clearance to ATC to make their way to the runway for their transatlantic journey.
We would like to thanks Jean-François Raudin, Air Canada’s General Manager and Lea Neuville from GroupExpression for their invitation and their help to present you the backstage of their operations with rare transparency. Obviously, we would like to thank you too, dear readers, for your infallible support on this adventure. Stay tuned and let’s see what we have to show you next month!