Air Transport World

Composing jazz: melding four Regional carriers together into an Air Canada subsidiary was no easy task.(Profile)(Company Profile)

JAZZ BRINGS TOGETHER A VARIETY of sounds, blending them into a rhythmic pattern of music, merging a wide range of chords and instruments into what could be called a harmonic convergence.

The same thing could be said about Air Canada Jazz, a Regional carrier that over the past four years consolidated four airlines with disparate fleets, thousands of employees, separate languages and distinct corporate cultures to create a single product.

"We had a lot of complexities," says Jazz President and CEO Joseph D. Randell, describing the period of the merger in a classic understatement. "We had different computer systems, different IT systems, different procedures and different training programs." He ticks off a list that included other barriers such as French and English both spoken and written, 26 separate employee unions, an unprecedented level of government-imposed restrictions and requirements on the merger and the aviation industry's catastrophic post-9/11 dive. To top things off, in 2003 Air Canada filed for protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act, the equivalent to US Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Jazz was included in that filing.

But let's start at the beginning.

In January 2001, four Regionals were merged into a single entity called Air Canada Regional Inc. …

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