Aviation Ministry Proposes Draft Aircraft Bill to Streamline Regulations

Radhika Bansal

01 Jun 2023

The civil aviation ministry has come out with a draft bill for putting in place a simplified approach to regulations in the aviation sector. The Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023, has been prepared after reviewing the existing Aircraft Act, 1934.

As per the preamble of the Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023, it aims to have an Act to make better provisions for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and connected matters. The bill has been issued by the ministry for public consultations for 30 days, according to a communication dated May 30.

"The existing Aircraft Act, 1934 has been reviewed and accordingly a bill providing for regulating provisions in a simplified manner, identifying existing redundancies and to provide for provisions to meet the current needs for regulation of civil aviation in a simplified language...," the ministry said.

According to the preamble, it is expedient to make better provisions for regulation and control of the design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft and matters connected in addition to that or incidental thereto, and to remove the redundancies in the Aircraft Act, 1934.

India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world. It's been predicted that by 2024, India will be the third largest aviation market in the world. 

Objectives and Purpose of the Act

Regarded as the basic or fundamental law of aviation in India, the Aircraft Act, of 1934 was adopted to increase the aviation industry's safety and security. In India, it is the foremost statute to regulate civil aviation. The provisions of the regulation predominantly cover every facet of civil aviation navigation.

The purpose of the Aircraft Act, 1934 is “to make better provision for the control of the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of aircraft.”3 Further, the Act grants or vests the power of the governmental authorities to formulate rules and laws concerning civil aviation in India. Moreover, requiring considerations for effective, maintenance of aircraft, airworthiness, registration of aircraft, common situations for flying and safety, and the conduct of inquiries in case of any inconsistency.

One of the objectives of the Act is to provide secure and safe aircraft operations to be carried out by the State. Thus, this is the reason behind vesting the government with enormous powers. The Aircraft Act, 1934 also covers under it the issue of maintenance, development as well as operations of all kinds of airports including the Greenfield airports.

Moreover, to regulate air transport, air safety, and airworthiness standards as well as for the enforcement of civil air regulations, the Act has appointed the director general of civil aviation as the regulatory body to deal with these concerns of civil aviation.

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Etihad Named World’s Most Environment Friendly Airline for the Second Year in a Row

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been named Environmental Airline of the Year for the second year in a row. This award recognizes Etihad's commitment to sustainable aviation practices and ongoing efforts to mitigate the ecological impact of air travel. The Airline Ratings Awards are a forum for airlines to be recognized and ranked based on their dedication to excellence in many categories, such as innovation, safety, and route networks.

Environmental Airline of the Year Award

In an era where consciousness about the environment is crucial, the Environmental Airline of the Year award is extremely important. This award honors airlines that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to environmental sustainability by embracing initiatives that minimize carbon emissions and prioritize sustainable practices. The Airline Ratings Awards use strict assessment criteria to guarantee that the winning airline truly stands out for its environmentally conscious practices.

Etihad's Sustainability Commitment

Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, has been named Environmental Airline of the Year at the renowned Airline Ratings Awards for the second time. Etihad has been awarded this prestigious honor for the second year in a row. The Airline Ratings Awards are well-known for their thorough review of airlines, considering variables like innovation, route networks, and safety ratings. Etihad's dedication to sustainable aviation via innovation and cooperation has positioned them as an industry leader, generating good change not only in Abu Dhabi but also globally. Etihad Airways has made sustainability a central tenet of its operations. The airline is implementing a number of measures aimed at minimizing the ecological impact and maintaining aviation's long-term viability. Etihad has effectively incorporated sustainability into numerous elements of its operations, from ground handling and aircraft maintenance to cabin service and in-flight operations, by utilizing innovative technology and eco-friendly practices.

Etihad's sustainability strategy focuses on reducing emissions through in-sector measures, aligning with industry roadmaps and frameworks, collaborating with UAE industrial ecosystems, and remaining transparent and proactive regarding aviation sustainability issues. Etihad reported in its most current sustainability report, published in May 2023, that it has achieved a 26% decrease in CO2 emissions per Revenue Tonne Kilometer (RTK). This accomplishment is supported by Etihad's signature sustainability programmes, such as the Greenliner programme, which utilizes the airline's fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners as flying test beds, and the Sustainable50 A350-1000.

"We take great pride in reducing our CO2 RTK by 26 percent," stated Antonoaldo Neves, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group. This accomplishment is a credit to our team's devotion and efforts in driving our sustainability agenda, and we applaud them for their contributions. As you can see in our annual report, I am also quite happy with our overall achievements, which go beyond providing direct CO2 reductions to explore novel solutions to the larger problems confronting aviation sustainability." "Etihad Airways has demonstrated its leadership in the push for sustainable flight with its Greenliner Boeing 787 programme and last year with its Sustainability50 A350 aircraft," stated Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas of Airlineratings.com. Etihad Airways personnel and management are devoted to minimizing the airline's CO2 impact in every manner, and it shows. The rallying cry is that "a million things count" in cutting emissions, so the emphasis is all-consuming. The airline's Sustainability Report 2021-2022 illustrates the potential gains in sustainable aviation that may be accomplished via a variety of activities."

Factors Contributing to Recognition

A number of reasons contribute to Etihad Airways' continuous designation as the Environmental Airline of the Year. To begin, Etihad Airways has continually demonstrated innovation in its approach to sustainable flying. The airline has made considerable advances in decreasing its carbon footprint, from deploying energy-efficient planes to researching alternate fuel sources. Furthermore, Etihad's dedication to cooperation and partnerships has been critical in driving industry-wide change and promoting sustainability in the aviation industry.

Partnerships and collaboration

Etihad Airways regularly participates in collaborations and programmes that promote sustainability, recognizing the value of cooperation in driving change. To develop and execute sustainable practices, the airline works with a variety of organizations, including research institutes, aviation regulators, and environmental agencies. Etihad and its partners collaborate to develop creative solutions to reduce the environmental impact of aviation travel by combining resources and expertise. Etihad's collaborations go beyond the airline industry. To encourage cutting-edge research on sustainable aviation technology, the airline regularly collaborates with academic institutions and research centres. Etihad contributes to the development of revolutionary solutions that benefit the whole aviation ecosystem by encouraging collaboration between academics and industry.

Impact and Outcomes

The dedication of Etihad Airways to sustainability has delivered demonstrable achievements and a beneficial influence on the environment. The airline's all-encompassing commitment to sustainability has resulted in considerable reductions in carbon emissions, reducing its environmental footprint. Etihad has been an industry change agent by embracing eco-friendly practices, investing in fuel-efficient aircraft, and researching alternative fuels. Beyond its own operations, Etihad's sustainability activities influence the whole aviation sector to adopt more environmentally responsible practices. Etihad sets an example for other airlines through its leadership and dedication, motivating others to follow suit and contribute to a greener future for air travel.

Other Accolades and Achievements

In addition to being named the Environmental Airline of the Year, Etihad Airways has been recognized by Airline Ratings in the 'Top 10 Airlines' category. This award considers elements such as passenger comfort, innovation, value, and safety throughout Economy, Business, and First Class. Etihad's continuous success in this area demonstrates the airline's dedication to providing a world-class travel experience while focusing on sustainability and passenger well-being.


Etihad Airways' repeated distinction as the Environmental Airline of the Year demonstrates the airline's consistent dedication to sustainable flying. Etihad has evolved as a global leader in environmental stewardship in the airline sector through innovative practices, collaborations, and demonstrable outcomes. Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, continues to create positive change by setting new sustainability guidelines and pushing other airlines to follow suit. Etihad Airways lays the foundations for a more sustainable future in aviation travel by prioritizing the environment without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

With Inputs from Etihad

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American Airlines to Appeal JetBlue Court Ruling

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

The "Northeast Alliance," a collaboration between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways, aims at boosting connectivity and offering customers a wider range of flying alternatives in the Northeastern United States. However, the court verdict has cast doubt on the alliance's existence, forcing American Airlines to pursue an appeal.

Understanding the Northeast Alliance

The Northeast Alliance was established between American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. to provide travelers in the north-eastern United States with a seamless travel experience. Both airlines desired to improve customer satisfaction and grasp a greater market share by coordinating flight schedules, sharing airport infrastructure, and extending their network. The partnership provided travelers with enhanced connectivity and access to a broader selection of destinations.

Antitrust Law and its Significance

Antitrust laws are intended to promote fair competition, prohibit monopolies, and safeguard the interests of customers. These rules are intended to guarantee that businesses behave ethically, maintain competitive pricing, and avoid anti-competitive practices that could adversely affect the market and consumers. Authorities attempt to establish an equitable environment for all enterprises by enforcing antitrust legislation bolstering healthy competition and innovation.

The Court's Judgement and Its Implications

The airline industry is abuzz with the statement by American Airlines Group CEO Robert Isom that the firm wants to appeal a recent U.S. court ruling ordering the disbandment of its alliance with JetBlue Airways Corp. This development follows the May 19 judgement by U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin in Boston, who found the airlines' "Northeast Alliance" to be in violation of antitrust law. The agreement is set to be disbanded within 30 days, causing alarm, and generating debate within the sector. In 2021, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit to void the previous year's partnership. It was described as a "de facto merger" of American and JetBlue operations in Boston and New York, which would remove competitive incentives and cost consumers an additional $700 million per year to travel out of the region's congested airports. "These two powerful carriers act as one entity in the northeast, allocating markets between them and replacing full-throated competition with broad cooperation," Sorokin wrote in his ruling, a rare court victory for President Joe Biden's administration and its anti-corporate-merger stance. The court's decision has far-reaching consequences for both American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. They will have to terminate their partnership and restructure their operations as a consequence. To sustain their market positions and provide competitive services to their customers, airlines will need to solve logistical issues and establish alternative tactics.

The Decision of American Airlines Group to Appeal

American Airlines Group CEO Robert Isom stated that the airline intends to appeal the court ruling. According to Isom, the decision to appeal was made after thorough consideration of the verdict and its possible repercussions for the airline. American Airlines Group intends to use the appeals process to oppose the court's decision and offer arguments in support of the Northeast Alliance's legitimacy and advantages. Several variables influence the decision to file an appeal. The Northeast Alliance, according to American Airlines Group, provides various benefits to travelers, including enhanced connectivity, additional route alternatives, and an improved customer experience. Furthermore, the corporation plans to safeguard its strategic interests and avoid future interruptions to its operations as a result of the alliance's separation. However, the appeals procedure has its own set of difficulties. Legal processes can be lengthy and complicated, necessitating significant money and time. To overturn the court's verdict, American Airlines Group will need to submit strong arguments and facts. The decision of the appeal will have a substantial influence on the future trajectory of the alliance and the companies involved.

Industry Reaction and Prospects

The court decision against the Northeast Alliance has elicited conflicting reactions from the airline sector. According to several industry experts and stakeholders, the judgement is a vital step towards ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests. They think that the alliance's collapse will promote market diversity and allow other airlines to establish a foothold in the impacted regions. Others, though, are concerned about the judgement's possible ramifications. They claim that the Northeast Alliance was created to boost travel alternatives and the overall client experience. The alliance's collapse might disrupt existing routes, have an impact on airline alliances, and potentially reduce options for travellers in the impacted area. Looking ahead, the alliance's future remains questionable. While the court order compels the Northeast Alliance to be dissolved, it does not rule out the potential for future partnerships or cooperation between American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp. Both organisations may investigate other approaches to achieving their strategic objectives and providing value to their consumers.


The court decision against American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways Corp.'s Northeast Alliance has set the groundwork for a legal struggle and eventual reconfiguration of the airline sector in the United States' north-eastern area. The decision to appeal the judgement underscores American Airlines Group's commitment to protecting the alliance's advantages and value proposition. The industry awaits the conclusion of the appeals process, which will determine the next course of action for both airlines and may have an impact on the airline industry's landscape.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Air India Launches Gurukul.AI - an AI Driven Upskilling Platform for Employees

Radhika Bansal

01 Jun 2023

Tata Group-owned Air India has launched a new learning hub for its employees. "Gurukul.AI has been created in sync with Vihaan.AI, the airline's five-year transformation programme, and will transform Air India into an organization that evolves through continuous learning," the airline said in a statement.

Gurukul.AI is designed to create personalized upskilling paths for every employee through an assessment of their job roles, current competencies, and proficiencies. The platform integrates competency frameworks mapped to various roles within the organization and ensures accessibility to relevant modules, the statement added. By leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the platform will help assess the employees’ job roles, current competencies, and proficiencies.

"The introduction of Gurukul.AI exemplifies Air India's dedication to cultivating a futuristic-learning experience, attuned to the unique needs of every single employee. In a rapidly changing world, the speed of upskilling and the availability of world-class learning content through digital innovations is imperative. Through this business-driven strategy, we are resolute in transforming Air India into an authentic learning organization," Suresh Tripathi, Chief Human Resources Officer, at Air India, said.

Air India will launch Gurukul.AI in phases, concurrently integrating emerging technologies and customizing the system to cater to different departmental requirements such as Inflight Services, Ground Services, and Engineering. The platform will also offer advanced, AI-driven solutions for pilot training management in the upcoming phases. With Gurukul.AI, Air India seeks to ensure an enhanced personalised learning experience for all its employees, transitioning to a highly skilled approach to create global capabilities.

What all is on the cards?

By emphasizing relevant skills in the current world and augmenting them with extensive organizational experience and sharper capabilities, Gurukul.AI is set to create a powerful impact that drives success and effectiveness.

  • World-class capabilities: The primary focus of Gurukul.AI is to cultivate state-of-the-art, world-class capabilities within Air India, enhancing employee productivity and skill sets to exemplify global standards. 
  • Bringing learning to the fingertips: With this learning hub, Air India has made a wealth of knowledge readily accessible to its employees. The platform is created to motivate employees to continuously enhance their skills, cultivating a culture of “Own your Growth’ through self-paced upskilling options.
  • Cutting-edge technologies for tailored needs: By leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Gurukul.AI offers a holistic system that evaluates skills and provides hyper-personalized recommendations based on an individual’s unique learning trajectory. Further, emerging technologies within the portal allow employees to view their progress via automated analytics and assist them in performance management. 
  • Diverse tools: The hub offers a comprehensive suite of over 70,000 most advanced learning tools including just-in-time learning modules, micro-learnings, accessible mobile learning resources, and engaging video-based modules, among others, ensuring employees have an array of options to suit their preferences.
  • Interactive elements to engage learners: The inclusion of features such as a leader board integrated into the platform encourages active engagement platform vis-a-vis team learning. In addition, a learning wallet along with opportunities to earn rewards provides a compelling incentive for employees to strengthen their knowledge and skills. 
  • Gamification: Through engaging game-like elements, and hyper-personalization with the system talking to the individuals, employees are motivated to progress, complete milestones, and unlock achievements, creating a sense of accomplishment.

In addition to acquiring new digital systems and engineering services, Air India has also been hard at work building an industry-leading digital workforce. The airline is modernising several departments, including customer engagement, employee empowerment, and operational enhancements, among others, where it has already implemented new technology systems or is nearing deployment completion.

The airline is making efforts to modernise customer-facing processes, such as the in-flight entertainment system, mobile apps, website, and user-friendly customer notifications system. Improvements in its employee-centric departments include modern secure digital workplace tools, employee engagement and self-service portals, mobile devices for pilotscabin crew, and airport operations crew, and learning and development tools.

With Gurukul.AI, Air India seeks to ensure an enhanced personalised learning experience for all its employees, transitioning to a highly skilled approach to create global capabilities. Air India will launch Gurukul.AI in phases, concurrently integrating emerging technologies and customizing the system to cater to different departmental requirements such as Inflight Services, Ground Services, Engineering, etc.

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Singapore Airlines to Offer Complimentary WIFI to All Cabin Classes

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is well-known for its dedication to providing great service to customers and novel experiences to its passengers. Recognizing the growing importance of in-flight connections, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has opted to revolutionize its Wi-Fi service, setting new industry standards.

The Importance of Wi-Fi for Airline Passengers

Staying connected when traveling has become a necessity rather than a luxury in today's hyperconnected society. Passengers anticipate consistent and fast Wi-Fi connectivity throughout their flight. The provision of Wi-Fi on board is critical to boosting the whole travel experience, whether for business, entertainment, or staying connected with loved ones.

SIA's New Wi-Fi Service

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced a game-changing upgrade to its in-flight services. Beginning July 1, 2023, SIA customers will have access to the most extensive and unlimited free Wi-Fi network in the airline industry. This new service will be available to all passengers in all cabin classes, including Premium Economy and Economy. SIA intends to provide a seamless connectivity experience, virtually covering the entire aircraft fleet and nearly the entire global route network with this service. Customers must submit their KrisFlyer membership credentials at the time of booking, either through the Manage Booking online option or at check-in, in order to make use of this service. Non-KrisFlyer members may sign up for a free membership online or on board their aircraft via the SIA digital content portal on their personal mobile devices to make use of the complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi.

Customers in Suites, First Class, and Business Class, as well as PPS Club members, will continue to get complimentary unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi. KrisFlyer customers flying in Premium Economy Class and Economy Class have received complimentary three- and two-hour Wi-Fi surf plans since February 2023, respectively. "In today's increasingly hyper-connected world, high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity is one of the most important requirements for our customers," said Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines. Giving passengers complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi is merely a further development in SIA's ongoing endeavor to provide an unparalleled end-to-end travel experience. Our customers will be able to stay connected, engaged, and productive even at 36,000 feet in the air thanks to this upgraded service."

Benefits of Enhanced Wi-Fi Service

The addition of unrestricted free Wi-Fi connectivity across all cabin classes provides a slew of advantages for SIA customers. For starters, it allows passengers to stay connected during their travel, allowing them to complete work, browse the internet, or communicate with family and friends. This improved connectedness boosts productivity and overall flight enjoyment. Furthermore, the improved Wi-Fi service guarantees that passengers have a consistent and seamless internet experience regardless of where they are on the aircraft. This removes any potential connectivity concerns and makes the experience more pleasurable and stress-free.

Technological Developments and Constraints

Implementing a complete Wi-Fi service throughout the entire fleet and global route network is fraught with difficulties. To meet the increasing demand for connection, SIA has invested in updating its current infrastructure. This includes the installation of modern equipment and systems capable of handling enormous volumes of data while ensuring quick and reliable connections. To address potential challenges, SIA has collaborated with renowned technology vendors to provide its passengers with a flawless Wi-Fi experience. These partnerships ensure that travelers have constant connectivity and a high-quality browsing experience throughout their journey.

Potential Impact on the Airline Industry

SIA is setting a new industry benchmark for in-flight connection by providing unrestricted free Wi-Fi access across all cabin classes. This decision is expected to put pressure on other airlines to improve their Wi-Fi capabilities and give customers a comparable degree of accessibility. SIA's dedication to customer satisfaction and innovation has established the airline as an industry leader.


Singapore Airlines (SIA) has taken an important step towards improving its passengers' travel experiences. The addition of unrestricted free Wi-Fi access across all cabin classes underlines SIA's commitment to fulfilling its customers' changing demands. This all-encompassing Wi-Fi service, which is essentially available throughout the whole aircraft fleet and global route network, establishes a new standard for the airline sector.

With Inputs from Singapore Airlines

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Air Canada Pilots End Decade Long Framework and Open the Door to Negotiations

Abhishek Nayar

01 Jun 2023

Air Canada pilots have long been worried about the wage disparity between themselves and aviators working for American carriers. They have elected to trigger an escape clause within their existing structure in order to solve this issue and get improved terms and conditions. This ruling opens the door for pilots to engage in negotiating during future "full bargaining" sessions.

Background Information about Air Canada Pilots

Air Canada pilots are an essential aspect of the airline's operations, guaranteeing safe and efficient passenger transportation. However, a considerable wage differential between these pilots and their colleagues at US airlines has raised concerns. The pilots' capacity to negotiate for greater compensation and benefits was constrained by the old structure, which was set to expire next year. The wage disparity has been a source of contention in the aviation industry, with Air Canada pilots expressing a desire to reduce it. The discrepancy not only affects the pilots' financial well-being but also their general job satisfaction and drive. Due to pay disparities with their colleagues in the United States, Air Canada pilots have had difficulty attracting and maintaining talent.

The Escape Clause and Its Implications

The pilots of Air Canada have elected to invoke an escape clause in their present agreement, which was slated to expire next year. This change shifts the expiration date ahead to September 29th, 2023, giving the pilots more time to negotiate a better agreement at the "full bargaining" sessions scheduled for this summer. The pilots' major goal is to close the pay gap between themselves and their higher-paid peers at US airlines, aiming for "historic" improvements. To answer the pilots' concerns, Air Canada incorporated an escape clause within the current structure. The provision permits any party to dissolve the agreement before its intended expiration date, allowing for renegotiation of conditions. By exercising this clause, the pilots indicate their willingness to seek a solution that better fits their expectations and tackles the wage discrepancy. The pilots' choice to exercise the escape clause demonstrates their commitment to bargain on their terms. It acts as a change agent, sparking debate and perhaps paving the road for a more equal deal between Air Canada and its pilots. The timing of this decision, before the scheduled "full bargaining" sessions, maximizes the pilots' bargaining power. Since a 2014 agreement, the estimated 4,500 pilots of Canada's largest airline have earned a 2% compensation raise every year.

Negotiations for a Better Deal

The impending "full bargaining" sessions provide an important chance for pilots to express their concerns and seek improved terms and conditions. The word "full bargaining" refers to extensive discussions in which all areas of the pilot's employment agreement are up for discussion, including salary, benefits, working conditions, and career advancement. Air Canada pilots are pursuing "historic" gains in order to close the wage disparity and obtain a more favorable compensation package. These discussions will be critical in deciding the result and building a framework that answers the pilots' concerns. The pilots' representatives will meet with Air Canada management to seek a mutually agreeable solution. Their colleagues at Onex Corp's WestJet Airlines have tentatively agreed to a 24% hourly raise over four years, as well as additional wages and perks. The union has until Monday to exercise an escape provision that would allow for discussions this year. The agreement is currently valid until September 29, 2023, while its terms will continue to apply after that date. "We were willing to meet with the company if they wanted to provide us with a substantial proposal that would further our membership's goals," the letter stated, adding that Air Canada did not attempt to initiate negotiations.

The Impact on Air Canada and its Pilots

The decision to invoke the escape clause and seek discussions for a better contract presents potential as well as challenges for Air Canada and its pilots. Closing the wage disparity with US airlines will not only raise pilots' financial stability but also their job satisfaction and morale. This, in turn, might have a favorable influence on the airline's operations since motivated and satisfied pilots perform better. However, the discussions are fraught with difficulties, as striking a balance between the pilots' requests and the airline's financial viability is critical. Air Canada, like other airlines, works in a competitive sector where maintaining cost-effectiveness is critical to long-term profitability. To establish a mutually beneficial agreement, all sides will need to communicate openly, compromise, and make smart decisions.


The decision by Air Canada's pilots to invoke the escape clause in their current framework is a critical step towards reaching a more equitable agreement. The pilots seek to achieve "historic" gains by commencing discussions during the impending "full bargaining" sessions, which would narrow the wage disparity with US airlines. The conclusion of these discussions will not only affect the financial well-being of the pilots but will also define the future of Air Canada's operations.

With Inputs from Reuters