Canadian North puts on brave face
Board resignation won't affect service, airline claims

by Marty Brown
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 20/96) - People should stop worrying about cancelled Christmas flights or loosing frequent-flyers point, says Kelly Kaylo, regional director of sales for Canadian North.

"We've had lots of phone calls and so have travel agencies. All I can say is Canadian North will not be affected," she said.

Concern over the fate of the airline became widespread with the news of the resignation of the parent company's board of directors Friday.

Because boards are now held personally responsible for everything from financial well-being of the company to environmental contamination, the resignations were a legal manoeuvre in response to a stand-off with Canadian Airlines unions over a wage reduction.

The directors could be held responsible for the entire payroll of 164,000 employees.

The day-to-day operations are still being looked after by the president and his officers.

Employees were recently urged to accept a 10-per-cent cut in wages to allow the company, which is suffering from a billion-dollar debt load, to restructure itself financially.

Canadian Airlines' pilots have already agreed and management will be voting by the end of this week. Union leaders for the remaining employees have balked at request, although there have been letters of support for the offer from rank-and-file members.

If all goes well, there will be some changes, but primarily down south.

Full Dash 8 airplanes will replace half-empty 737s, there will be increased trans-border flying, non-profitable routes will be cancelled and more Asia-Pacific routes will be put in place.

"The plan will lead to profitability by mid-1997," said Kaylo.

If Canadian Airlines does collapse, however, Canadian North's future is far from secure.