Air Canada should cancel request for Transport Canada exemption
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/12/13 -- As more details
emerge following Asiana flight 214's tragic crash in San Francisco on
Saturday July 6th, CUPE flight attendants are hoping that Air Canada
learns from the flight attendant ratio on the airplane at the time of
The rapid actions taken by the flight attendants working with the
passengers were crucial to the successful evacuation and survival of
so many individuals on board despite horrific conditions. It has been
reported that Asiana 214 had a ratio of one flight attendant per 24
passengers when it crashed - two passengers died out of 307
individuals on board. A similar situation occurred in 2005, when all
passengers were quickly and safely evacuated from Air France 358,
which skidded off the runway and burst into flames. At the time, the
Air France flight had a ratio of 1 flight attendant per 35
"The heroic actions taken by the Asiana flight attendants during the
San Francisco evacuation prove yet again that having an appropriate
number of flight attendants on board an aircraft can make a huge
difference in the survivability of these types of disasters," said
Michel Cournoyer, President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE.
"Canadians are proud of our country's above-par aviation safety
standards, and I'm sure Air Canada will recognize the importance of
maintaining these high standards as we move forward and learn from
this unfortunate accident."
Given the growing body of evidence that demonstrates how a high ratio
of flight attendants can make a huge difference in the survival of
passengers, CUPE, the union that represents Air Canada flight
attendants, are formally asking Air Canada to withdraw their request
for an exemption from Transport Canada which would allow them to cut
the minimum requirement of flight attendants on board Canadian
airplanes, from 1:40 passengers to 1:50 seats.
Transport Canada recently granted this regulatory exemption to
Westjet, and Air Canada followed suit by asking for the same
exemption - the request is currently under review by Denis Lebel,
Minister of Transport. Transport Canada is also looking to weaken the
actual regulation that determines the ratio of flight attendants to
passengers - even th
ough five previous Transport Ministers
recommended against the very same change in ratio as it would not
maintain an equivalent level of safety.
You can read full text of the open letter to Air Canada here:
July 12, 2013
AN OPEN LETTER TO AIR CANADA
President & CEO
Air Canada Centre
P.O. Box 14000, Station Airport
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.
President of the Air Canada Component of CUPE.
CUPE Media Relations
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