More cancellations and delays hit Air Canada day after illegal strike

TORONTO – Air Canada’s operations seemed to be returning to normal Saturday afternoon following a so-called “sick-in” by pilots that cancelled dozens of flights and left some passengers stranded overnight.

On its website, the airline said it had resumed its regular schedule Saturday, a day after a number of pilots called in sick, forcing the cancellation of 75 flights.

Toronto’s Pearson airport showed a handful of cancellations and delays by mid-afternoon, though more were listed earlier in the day.

Amanda Champagne waited hours at the airport Saturday morning, hoping to book a new flight to Deer Lake, N.L., after spending the night at a nearby hotel.

But by noon, the Alberta resident still wasn’t sure she’d be able to fly out that day. She said Air Canada staff warned her it could take up to a week.

“They need to make their customers their priority,” she said.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the problems at Pearson were the result of “planes being out of position” due to Friday’s labour action.

The airline said it won an order Friday requiring its pilots to end the work stoppages which caused travel chaos for thousands of passengers across the country.

It said the Canada Industrial Relations Board granted an order, declaring that certain pilots were engaged in an illegal strike.

The order calls on the Air Canada Pilots Association to take all reasonable steps to end the strike and to pressure all participating pilots to return to work immediately.