Air Canada shows reliable operational performance across holiday season

An Air Canada 737 MAX in flight.
Photo Credit: Air Canada.

Air Canada today reported a strong operational performance for the year-end holiday travel period, during which nearly 2.6 million customers were transported safely.

The airline achieved some of its best operational results in a decade, including completing 98 per cent of scheduled flights, with an on-time performance of 70 per cent.

Peak Period Overview


In the world of air travel, where punctuality and reliability are paramount, Air Canada has once again proven its mettle.

The recently concluded year-end holiday travel period saw the Canadian flag carrier demonstrate a solid and reliable performance across key metrics.

During the peak travel period from December 18, 2023, to January 6, 2024, Air Canada transported an impressive 2.6 million customers.

This marked a remarkable 10 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022, reflecting the trust and preference passengers have placed in the airline.

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View of aircraft on Toronto Pearson airport taxiways.
Aaron Davis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On-Time Performance

Air Canada achieved an outstanding on-time performance (OTP) of 70 per cent, a substantial leap from 40 per cent in 2022.

The airline’s commitment to timeliness surpassed even the pre-pandemic holiday period in 2019, where OTP stood at 54 per cent.

Reduced Delays and Cancellations

The average delay, when it occurred, was a mere 37 minutes, showcasing a commendable 43 per cent reduction from the previous year.

With a flight completion rate of 98 per cent, Air Canada witnessed an 80 per cent reduction in cancelled flights compared to 2022.

This impressive performance also translated to a 71 per cent decrease compared to the last pre-pandemic holiday period in 2019.

Baggage Handling

Air Canada’s commitment to customer satisfaction extended to baggage handling. The airline achieved a remarkable 58 per cent reduction in delayed or mishandled bags compared to the prior year.

This translated into an impressive baggage handling success rate of 98.6 per cent. Notably, customers traveling domestically benefited from a new tracking feature on the Air Canada Mobile App, providing real-time updates on their luggage’s journey.

Decade-Best Results


Excluding the challenging peak pandemic year of 2020, Air Canada achieved its best results in a decade.

Flight arrivals within 15 minutes, flight completion, fewest cancelled flights, and baggage delivery all reached new heights, reinforcing the airline’s commitment to operational excellence.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement


Strategic Staffing and Training Initiatives

The Canadian flag carrier’s dedication to operational improvement is evident in its 19.1 percentage point improvement in OTP during the second half of 2023.

The airline has invested in stable staffing levels exceeding those of 2019, coupled with increased experience levels through comprehensive training programs.

Enhanced Schedule Design

To enhance flexibility for customers, Air Canada has revamped its schedule design, allowing for increased ground and connecting time. This strategic adjustment contributes to a smoother travel experience for passengers.

Partnerships Across the Ecosystem

Air Canada understands the importance of collaboration in the complex web of air travel, and airline has engaged firmly with key partners in the travel ecosystem, including airport authorities, security agencies, customs and border processing, air traffic control, and third-party ground handlers.

This collective effort has prepared the entire system for the winter season, ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers.

Customer Experience (ECX)

A systematic focus on customer experience is evident through Air Canada’s internal program, ECX (Elevating the Customer Experience).

This program scrutinizes all key passenger touchpoints, driving improvements through strategic investments in technology, self-service options, and business process redesign.

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Air Canada has turned in a sound operational performance across the peak holiday travel period with strong OTP and near perfect flight completion rate.
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