1:50 Update and Refresher

Some of the information contained in this bulletin is specific to ACRouge, but much of it is relevant to both carriers and includes the important refresher on the differences between the two crew ratios that many of you have requested.

Incapacitated flight attendant SOP differences between 1:50 and 1:40

Under 1:40 regulations an option exists to replace an incapacitated crew member with a non-qualified employee when departing a destination.  This is only allowed if no other qualified flight attendant is available, would be someone employed by the airline, who is provided a special briefing on emergency procedures including how to operate an exit, under the supervision and authority of the Captain. They would assume a flight attendant station for the duration of the flight.
Under 1:50 regulations, replacing an incapacitated flight attendant with non-qualified staff for departure is not permitted. All ACRouge flights, and Air Canada Mainline narrow-body flights operate under the 1:50 ratio.

How ACRouge is handling this:

Because of this, ACRouge has come up with some creative ways to maintain minimum crew complement, while ensuring that flights are not cancelled when a crew member falls ill on layover. This is especially the case for international destinations where it may be difficult to deadhead in a replacement crew member. These measures include:
  • ACRouge  is creating pairings with “destination reserve”. This involves being positioned into a destination, where you then sit on reserve in case someone books off while on layover.
  • The Union is also aware that ACRouge is now engaging in a practice of getting flight attendants travelling on personal passes, without their manuals, identification or uniform, to replace incapacitated crew members. The Union does not agree that this is a request that should be made of our members, as it completely defeats the purpose of removing the replacement provisions from the 1:50 regulations. This was to ensure that crews did not go below minimum. Since a replacement FA remains at their station for the duration of the flight, the Union’s position is that this leaves the operating crew short-staffed for the remainder of the service, and significantly reduces monitoring of the cabins for safety and security, and driving up fatigue which the Union maintains is an important workplace hazard.

What is the Union doing?

  • As “destination reserve” does not exist in collectively bargained language, a policy grievance CHQ-rouge-17-22 has been filed by the Union and will be heard at arbitration in the near future.
  • The Union filed a complaint with the Minister of Transport in August 2017 about the use of Fa’s on pass-travel to replace incapacitated crew, arguing that they are lacking the tools necessary to work, and therefore operating as unqualified flight attendants which is a violation of the regulations regarding operations under the 1:50 ratio. Disappointingly, the Minister did not respond in our favour, stating that anyone who has completed flight attendant initial training and line indoc at the respective air carrier is exempt from the acting flight attendant definition. Furthermore, the Minister stated that as long as there is one copy of the FAM onboard, the regulations are satisfied.
  • The Union has also filed grievances on behalf of crews who were forced to operate short-staffed as a result of having a takeoff/landing FA.

What can you do?

  • While the Union is only aware of these measures taking place at ACRouge, should you work at ACMainline and experience them, please let us know.
  • If you are asked to act as FA for takeoff/landing, please bear in mind that it may be extremely difficult for the Union to enforce any promises of compensation or reimbursement made to you by the company, as any deals may represent bargaining outside of the Collective Agreement.
  • We remind members that in order to operate a flight they must be briefed, and in compliance with all SOP’s regarding fitness for duty. Those returning from vacation should take note that these not only include proper rest and sobriety, but also important flying restrictions related to vaccinations, medications, as well as common vacation activities such as scuba diving.
  • You cannot be forced to operate a flight when on a scheduled vacation day.
  • At Mainline, you cannot be forced to operate a flight when on reserve guaranteed day off (GDO).
  • At ACRouge, you cannot be forced to operate a flight when on an untouchable guaranteed day off (untouchable GDO).
  • If you are asked to replace an incapacitated flight attendant (whether you actually do or not), or if you are a crew that had to work with one less flight attendant for in-fight service, please contact the Union as soon as possible in order to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible and that you receive proper compensation for any short-crewing, if applicable.

1:40 versus 1:50 Refresher:

1:40 1:50
ONLY at ACMainline on widebody ALL ACRouge / ACMainline Narrowbody
One flight attendant for each unit of 40 passengers or for each portion of such a unit.
EX: A plane with 160 seats, but only 120 passengers onboard will need at least 3 flight attendants (1 for each 40 passengers). No more passengers can embark unless a fourth flight attendant is present.
One flight attendant for each unit of 50 passenger seats or for each portion of such a unit.
Ex: A plane with 160 seats installed must have 4 crew members onboard prior to accepting any passengers.
Subject to minimum crew requirements as per the FAM. Subject to minimum crew requirements as per the FAM.
Unqualified replacement staff can be used to replace an incapacitated flight attendant for purpose of departing a destination, subject to certain conditions (see references). Unqualified replacement staff cannot be used to replace an incapacitated flight attendant.
ACMainline collective agreement states that all widebody aircraft doors must be staffed for overseas flights under 14 hours. L60.04.01

References:

CARS 705.201, CARS 705.221, Collective Agreement L60.04.01Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have further questions, or comments regarding the 1:50 crew ratio.In solidarity,Your Union Health and Safety Committee, in collaboration with Component and Local 4098 leadership