Canceled flights and delays | Hard, hard to do business in the region

The airport chaos has mostly meant disrupted vacations, but it’s also causing turbulence outside major centers. It’s not easy to run a business when you depend on the plane and it’s late or grounded.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Julien Arsenault

Julien Arsenault
The Press

“I think I easily lost at least $300,000 in sales because I didn’t come,” laments Mirka Boudreau, president and CEO of Int-elle corporation, based in Sept-Îles. Before the pandemic, cancellations, we rarely saw that. »

The footprint of this Côte-Nord company, specializing in turnkey contracts (engineering and construction) as well as construction, is diversified. In addition to its Quebec activities, it has a subsidiary in Mexico.

Fermont, Montreal, Mexico City… Mme Boudreau has no choice but to travel to get around and meet clients. Since spring, the pace has changed. For lack of certainty, the entrepreneur resigned herself to putting a brake on travel.


Mirka Boudreau is President and CEO of Int-elle Corporation.

“If I plan meetings and I don’t show up the first day because everything is delayed, it looks like a lack of seriousness for the clients, she laments. I am in the process of acquiring a factory in Mexico. I should go there for everything surrounding due diligence. We do everything remotely. We’re wasting time, it’s not easy. »

There can also be headaches when waiting for outside workers who do not arrive or cannot leave. The scenario also occurred at Int-elle for a railway maintenance contract with the IOC mining company. The contingencies cost at least $50,000 in hotel costs and overtime, including, according to Mme Boudeau.

“It’s a major issue,” she said. Air disturbances lead to overloads. If an employee is stuck here, I have to pay him. It’s not free. It is a logistics to try to know who arrives in time. These are lost profits on the contract. »

Schedule gymnastics

The strength of the recovery in the airline industry, combined with a lack of staff at carriers and airports, has caused a wave of cancellations around the world, including in Canada.

The largest airline in the country, Air Canada cut an average of 154 flights daily during the summer. These disruptions do not only affect international and cross-border connections.

Flights that must connect Montreal-Trudeau to regions such as Sept-Îles and Rouyn-Noranda have also suffered. For example, Jazz Aviation, a Halifax-based company that provides regional service for Air Canada, canceled about 240 of its scheduled flights (17%) from Dorval, according to data firm Cirium.

In Sept-Îles, the daily flight of Air Canada – which is not the only company to serve the region – to Montreal-Trudeau did not take place a dozen times during the month of June.

Usually, the Développement économique Sept-Îles (DESI) team makes between three and five flights a month to major centers to meet with project promoters. General Manager Russel Tremblay has decided to play it safe, even if it comes with a bill: DESI representatives arrive at least a day before an appointment.

“It’s totally another logistics,” he says. From Sept-Îles to Montreal by car, it’s 11 hours. We need the plane. By arriving in advance, the costs are higher. It’s one more night at the hotel, at least three more meals. »

For the most recent meeting of its board of directors, which was held in Montreal, Éric Beaupré, president and CEO of Technosub, based in Rouyn-Noranda, turned his back on the plane. The businessman instead opted for his car to travel the 600 kilometers to the metropolis.

The round trip in one day between Montreal and Rouyn-Noranda is no longer possible since May.

“We had a bad surprise not so long ago,” says Mr. Beaupré. An employee left on Thursday and did not return on Friday because the flight was cancelled. He finally returned on Saturday by car. It’s a long drive, but we don’t take the risk anymore. »

With 12 service points in Canada and an American branch in Arizona, the specialist in pumping solutions for the industrial and mining sectors is reorganizing its schedule. A Technosub team was planning a visit to outside branches over the summer. That has been pushed back to the end of August, says Beaupré.

Learn more

  • 15%
    By revising its summer schedule, Air Canada has slashed more than 15% of its scheduled flights in July and August.

    source: Air Canada

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