The chaos at the airport has mainly resulted in disrupted holidays, but it is also causing turbulence outside of the major centres. It’s not easy running a business when you’re dependent on the plane and it’s delayed or grounded.
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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 Sept-Îles-based Intelle Corporation. Before the pandemic, we rarely saw cancellations. »
The presence of this Côte Nord company, specializing in turnkey contracts (engineering and construction) and construction, is diversified. In addition to its Quebec operations, it has a subsidiary in Mexico.
Fermont, Montreal, Mexico City…Mme Boudreau has no choice but to travel to get around and meet clients. The pace has changed since spring. In the absence of certainty, the entrepreneur has resigned herself to a travel brake.
“If I plan meetings and don’t show up on the first day because everything is delayed, it looks like a lack of seriousness towards the customers,” she regrets. I am in the process of acquiring a factory in Mexico. I should go there for anything related to due diligence. We do everything remotely. We’re wasting time, it’s not easy. »
Waiting for remote workers who can’t come or go can also be a headache. The scenario also occurred at Intel for a railway maintenance contract with mining company IOC. The contingencies cost at least $50,000 in hotel expenses and overtime, including according to Mme boudeau
“It’s a big problem,” she said. Air disturbances lead to overloads. If an employee gets stuck here, I have to pay them. It’s not free. It’s a logistics of trying to know who will arrive on time. These are lost profits from the contract. »
The strength of the recovery in the airline industry, combined with staffing shortages at airlines and airports, has triggered a spate of cancellations around the world, including in Canada.
Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, grounded an average of 154 daily flights over the summer. These disruptions do not only affect international and cross-border connections.
Flights that need to connect Montreal-Trudeau to regions like Sept-Îles and Rouyn-Noranda have also suffered. For example, Jazz Aviation, a Halifax-based company that provides regional flights for Air Canada, has canceled about 240 of its scheduled flights (17%) from Dorval, according to data company Cirium.
In Sept-Îles, Air Canada’s daily flight – which isn’t the only company serving the region – to Montreal-Trudeau took place a dozen times in June.
Normally, the Développement économique Sept-Îles (DESI) team flies between three and five flights a month to the major centers to meet with the project promoters. General Manager Russel Tremblay plays it safe, even when it comes with an invoice: DESI representatives come at least one day before an appointment.
“It’s a completely different kind of logistics,” he says. It is 11 hours by car from Sept-Îles to Montreal. We need the plane. If you arrive earlier, the costs are higher. There is one more night in the hotel, at least three more meals. »
At the recent board meeting, held in Montreal, Eric Beaupré, President and CEO of Rouyn-Noranda-based Technosub, turned his back on the plane. For the 600 kilometers to the metropolis, the businessman opted for his car instead.
Return travel in one day between Montreal and Rouyn-Noranda has not been possible since May.
“Not long ago we had a nasty surprise,” says Mr. Beaupré. An employee left on Thursday and did not return on Friday because the flight was cancelled. He finally returned by car on Saturday. It’s a long drive, but we’re not taking the risk anymore. »
With 12 service bases in Canada and an American branch in Arizona, the specialist for pump solutions for industry and mining is reorganizing its schedule. A team from Technosub planned to visit field offices over the summer. That was postponed to the end of August, says Beaupré.
- Air Canada has cut more than 15% of its scheduled flights in July and August as a result of its summer schedule revision.
Source: Air Canada