The airport chaos has mainly meant interrupted vacations, but it’s also causing turmoil outside major hubs. It’s not easy running a business when you depend on the plane and it’s late or on the ground.
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“I think I easily lost at least $300,000 in sales because I didn’t come,” laments Mirka Boudreau, president and CEO of the Sept-Îles-based corporation Int-elle. Before the pandemic, the cancellations, we rarely saw that. »
The presence of this Côte-Nord company, which specializes in turnkey contracts (engineering and construction), as well as construction, is diversified. In addition to its activities in Quebec, it has a subsidiary in Mexico.
Fermont, Montreal, Mexico City… Mme Boudreau has no choice but to travel to get around and meet clients. Since spring, the rhythm has changed. In the absence of certainty, the businesswoman resigned herself to putting a stop to travel.
“If I plan meetings and I don’t show up the first day because everything is delayed, it looks like a lack of seriousness for the clients, he laments. I am in the process of acquiring a factory in Mexico. You should go there for all things due diligence. We do everything remotely. We’re wasting time, it’s not easy. »
There can also be headaches waiting for outside workers who don’t arrive or can’t leave. The scenario also occurred in Int-elle for a railway maintenance contract with the IOC mining company. Contingencies cost at least $50,000 in hotel costs and overtime, included, according to Mme Boudeau.
“It’s a major problem,” he said. Air disturbances cause overloads. If an employee is stuck here, I have to pay him. It’s not free. It is a logistics to try to know who arrives on time. These are profits lost on the contract. »
The strength of the recovery in the airline industry, combined with understaffing at airlines and airports, has led to a wave of cancellations around the world, including in Canada.
The nation’s largest airline, Air Canada, cut an average of 154 daily flights over the summer. These interruptions do not only affect international and cross-border connections.
Flights that must connect Montreal-Trudeau with regions such as Sept-Îles and Rouyn-Noranda have also suffered. For example, Jazz Aviation, a Halifax-based company that provides regional services to Air Canada, has canceled about 240 of its scheduled flights (17%) from Dorval, according to data firm Cirium.
In Sept-Îles, the daily flight of Air Canada – which is not the only company serving the region – to Montreal-Trudeau did not take place a dozen times during the month of June.
Normally, the Développement économique Sept-Îles (DESI) team makes between three and five flights a month to the main centers to meet with project promoters. General manager Russel Tremblay decided to play it safe, even if it’s an invoice: DESI reps arrive at least a day before an appointment.
“It’s totally another logistics,” he says. From Sept-Îles to Montreal by car, it’s 11 hours. We need the plane. By arriving early, costs are higher. It’s one more night in the hotel, at least three more meals. »
For its most recent board meeting in Montreal, Éric Beaupré, president and CEO of Rouyn-Noranda-based Technosub, turned his back on the plane. Instead, the businessman opted for his car to travel the 600 kilometers to the metropolis.
The return trip in one day between Montreal and Rouyn-Noranda is no longer possible since May.
“We had a bad surprise not too long ago,” says Mr. Beaupré. An employee left on Thursday and did not return on Friday because the flight was cancelled. He finally returned on Saturday by car. It’s a long journey, but we don’t risk it anymore. »
With 12 service points in Canada and an American branch in Arizona, the specialist in pumping solutions for the industrial and mining sector is rearranging its agenda. A Technosub team was planning a visit to external branches during the summer. That was pushed back to the end of August, says Beaupré.
- By revising its summer schedule, Air Canada has cut more than 15% of its scheduled flights in July and August.
source: Air Canada