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WestJet CEO says it hopes to recruit Swoop pilots from mainline operations



WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s chief executive said the airline hopes to recruit pilots from its mainline and Encore services to fly planes for its new ultra low-cost carrier Swoop, but that it will hire externally if necessary — a move that the company’s new pilots union said it is against.

“I will say, first and foremost, that it is Swoop’s preference to hire as many pilots from WestJet and WestJet Encore as are interested in the career advancement opportunities that Swoop provides,” CEO Gregg Saretsky said in a conference call with analysts after the company reported fourth-quarter results on Tuesday.

“That matter is in the hands of (the Air Line Pilots Association, International). It is a matter that is being discussed at the bargaining table.”

More than 1,400 WestJet pilots joined the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), an international pilots union, after 62 per cent of the 97 per cent of eligible pilots voted in May to unionize.

Saretsky said under WestJet’s existing contract with pilots, which is in place until a new agreement is ratified, there is a provision that will allow those interested in flying for Swoop to take a leave of absence and do so. Those pilots would still be able to return to WestJet or WestJet Encore after flying Swoop planes, he said.

“If there are an insufficient number of pilots that would like to pass on the opportunity … we have no shortage of pilot applicants from across the Canadian jet marketplace,” Saretsky said.

But Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of the WestJet unit of ALPA, said the company has “not properly engaged” with the union when it comes to Swoop.

“ALPA has been given a strong mandate from our membership that planes owned by the WestJet company should be flown by WestJet pilots,” he said in an emailed statement to the Financial Post.

“ALPA has been eager and willing to negotiate on this and other important pilot issues, but WestJet has not properly engaged ALPA as the certified representative of the pilots who have helped build this airline over the past 22 years.”

Saretsky said the company wants to maintain one seniority list for all of its pilots, which currently includes both WestJet mainline and Encore.

“We don’t know yet if ALPA intends to do that, so until that is clarified, we are offering the pilots the opportunity to move on a leave of absence to Swoop,” he said.

“But like Encore, Swoop will have different rates of pay and benefits which are commensurate with the ULCC space in which that carrier will compete.”

Chris Murray, an analyst with AltaCorp Capital, said the ongoing discussions between WestJet and its pilots union “presents some concern” when it comes to the launch of Swoop.

“It doesn’t seem as simple as just moving forward without any repercussions,” he said.

“However, the company suggested that it will meet the planned into-service date. We’ll have to see, but it’s an issue that presents some concern.”

When asked on the conference call by Murray about whether pilot recruitment could potentially delay the launch of Swoop, Saretsky said “absolutely not.”

“We will be airborne in June, one way or another,” he said.

Last week, WestJet began selling tickets for its ultra low-cost carrier, the first major step in the airline’s plan to build up the price-sensitive segment of Canada’s air travel market. Edward Sims, WestJet’s vice president of commercial, told analysts on Tuesday that interest in Swoop is not coming at the expense of its mainline operations.

“Clearly what we’re seeing is Canadians like low fares,” Sims said.

“It’s been six days since we went on sale, we’re tracking Swoop’s growth on an hourly basis, and we’ve seen no signs of cannibalization.”

WestJet will launch Swoop with three Boeing 737-800 jets flying between five destinations, before expanding to six aircraft in September and 10 jets in the spring. Saretsky said that based on the company’s assessment of the size of the market, Swoop could eventually expand to flying between 30 and 40 aircraft.

WestJet reported net earnings of $48.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, a 12.2 per cent drop from the same time last year, as operating expenses increased due in part to rising fuel costs as well as incremental increases to staffing. Revenues in the fourth quarter hit $1.12 billion, up from $1.02 billion from last year.

Operating expenses increased from $3.69 billion last year to $4.06 billion in 2017, driven by capacity growth and increased fuel costs.

WestJet’s fuel expense, which represented 23.4 per cent of its total operating expenses in 2017, jumped by 24 per cent from $765.9 million to $950 million this year. The company said the increase was due to the increase in the Canadian market price cost of fuel — from 54 cents per litre last year to 64 cents per litre this year — as well as capacity growth of 5.8 per cent.

Going into the first quarter of 2018, WestJet said it expects fuel costs to range between 72 and 74 cents per litre, a year-over-year jump of 13 to 16 per cent.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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