Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu appealed to global maintenance, repair and overhaul suppliers to establish or expand operations in four Canadian cities.

The Star Alliance carrier also has unveiled parts of its emergency contingency plan to outsource maintenance work to Canadian and US companies following the financial collapse on 19 March of Aveos Fleet Performance.

Two maintenance firms in Quebec have been assigned work on seven Air Canada aircraft, Rovinescu told the Canadian parliament's standing committee on transport, infrastructure and communities.

Air Canada also will "look to suppliers outside Canada given capacity and expertise constraints," Rovinescu says.

Despite reports in the Canadian press, Rovinescu denied that Air Canada will send any work to Aeroman, an El Salvadore-based subsidiary of Aveos. "Not under any circumstance," Rovinescu adds.

Aveos, which was spun-off from Air Canada five years ago, filed for insolvency protection on 19 March, then ceased operations two days later.

Aveos' management had rejected a $15 million debtor-in-possession loan offer from Air Canada, saying the terms were unreasonable.

For its part, Air Canada has criticized Aveos' management for failing to attract new business from other airlines after the spin-off. Although Aveos was not cost-competitive on the global market, Rovinescu says, Air Canada continued to rely on the firm for 91% of airframe checks and 96% of engine checks.

Air Canada only sent work to outside companies if Aveos was unavailable, he says.

Despite Rovinescu's assurances, some Canadian lawmakers accused Air Canada of violating the terms of the 1998 law that privatized the airline, which stipulates that the airline must continue to operate major maintenance operations in three Canadian cities.

Rovinescu replies that a court in Ontario last year concluded that Air Canada was still in compliance with the privatization law, since the airline itself performed maintenance operations in those cities.

Source: Flight International