On 11 May 2017, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), which represents professional musicians and their trade unions in more than 60 countries, awarded the newly created FIM Airline of Choice award to Air Canada. The ceremony took place during the opening evening of the 4th FIM International Orchestra Conference hosted in Montreal by the Quebec Musicians Guild (GMMQ – local 406 of the AFM).
FIM and its member unions have been campaigning for several years with the aim of improving airlines’ policies so that musicians traveling with their instrument are treated fairly and are fully informed about regulations governing the transportation of musical instruments. The international jury set-up by FIM established that the Canadian company was clearly ahead of its competitors in this respect.
According to Benoît Machuel, FIM General Secretary, “Air Canada goes clearly beyond the requirements of the FAA regulation in the US – which today is the benchmark – by offering a 50% discount on a second seat for an instrument when necessary, as well as giving priority boarding to musicians and their instruments. Air Canada’s policy towards musicians is in our view exemplary.”
The FIM President, John Smith, declared: “It is satisfying to see that the air transport sector is gradually adapting itself to musicians’ needs. Unfortunately, too many companies still have unthought out policies that are often applied in an erratic and unpredictable manner. This is incompatible with a profession that, by its very nature, involves frequent travelling.”
“The Canadian Federation of Musicians has been working with our airlines for some time”, said AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert. “We are very pleased that Air Canada listened, and has taken steps to greatly enhance the travel experience for musicians and their very valuable tools of trade.”
“For over 35 years Air Canada has been a long-time supporter of orchestral music in Canada. As official airline of eight major symphony orchestras in Canada from coast to coast, we have proudly flown them and their talented musicians around the world from China to Europe and the U.S. on many tours and to world famous concert halls including Carnegie Hall,” said Craig Landry, Senior Vice President at Air Canada. “Our dedication to orchestras and music extends much further than being Official airline of these outstanding organizations. In 2015 we implemented industry leading enhancements designed to support the specific needs of all musicians travelling with carry-on instruments, including pre-boarding benefits and a generous discount when purchasing an additional seat for their instrument.”
The FIM Airline of Choice award 2017 was received on behalf of Air Canada by Senior Vice President Mr Craig Landry, in the presence of 200 international FIM delegates.
Photo: Jacinthe-Lory Bazinet