Schulich prof’s report recommends protecting Air Canada

Ottawa is being urged to watch Air Canada’s back until the carrier’s Dreamliner fleet arrives, wrote The Globe and Mail March 29.

The first of Air Canada’s new Boeing 787s won’t be delivered until late 2013 – leaving a two-year window during which the airline will be vulnerable to Emirates’ quest to obtain extra Canadian landing rights, said Fred Lazar, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

The Dreamliner is important to Air Canada because it’s a fuel-efficient jet capable of travelling much longer distances than comparable-sized planes. Overseas flights that don’t make economic sense today will become viable, partly because the Boeing 787 allows airlines to offer non-stop flights to smaller destinations that would normally entail stopovers.

Emirates deploys the 489-seat, double-decker Airbus A380 on its Toronto-Dubai route, which features three round trips a week. To get from Toronto to such destinations as Mumbai, Emirates customers stop over in Dubai, one of seven sheikdoms in the United Arab Emirates. The airline’s request for more landing rights in Canada has sparked a political storm because Emirates may siphon international passengers away from Air Canada.

But if Ottawa stays the course in denying Emirates the extra landing rights, Air Canada’s expansion plans will be poised for takeoff once the new planes arrive.

"When Air Canada finally takes delivery of the Boeing 787s," the carrier "should be able to greatly expand its networks," Lazar wrote in a 98-page report, noting that Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport will be the key Canadian hubs.

"These aircraft should have started being delivered last year," but even with the long delays, Air Canada is fortunate to be in the global line to receive Boeing 787s, Lazar said.

Conflict allegations raised in Brampton

Questions of conflict of interest were raised Monday night as city councillors discussed the controversial Request for Proposals (RFP) process used to select a winning bid for construction of a city hall expansion and downtown revitalization, wrote the Brampton Guardian March 29.

Resident Chris Bejnar pointed out that it was York University Professor James McKellar [Schulich School of Business] who recommended the never-before-used process. He was also hired on as the city’s "fairness" consultant to oversee the process he had recommended. He was paid $70,000 by the city for his work in that capacity. Regional Councillor Elaine Moore raised the issue again during the council debate that followed, saying she sees it as a conflict of interest.

City staff told her and City Councillor Grant Gibson, who also questioned hiring McKellar, that they didn’t have many options. [Professional services firm] Deloitte and Touche were also "very supportive" of the new RFP process, according to staff, and that company was also heavily involved in it.

The process has been used in Europe, but never before in Canada, and city staff said all eyes are on Brampton to see how successful it will be.

Schulich grad’s reporting honoured again

For the second year running, Star reporter Daniel Dale [BBA Spec. Hons. ’08] has been named Canada’s best young journalist for a large-circulation newspaper, wrote the Toronto Star March 30.

Dale, who turned 26 on Monday, won the 20th annual Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists in the 25,000-and-over circulation category.

Dale, who is from Thornhill and graduated from York University’s Schulich School of Business in 2008, first joined the Star as a summer intern in 2007. He was hired full-time in September 2008.

On air

  • Bob Drummond, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the Ontario budget, on CBC Radio March 29.