Jazz removes life vests to save fuel and forgets to inform passengers
I guess i don't need that life vest, the seat inflates right?
Air Canada's regional carrier Jazz has removed inflatable life vests from its planes to save weight, a spokeswoman said.
The airline carries both floatation devices (seat cushions) and life vests, and the "Transportation Canada regulation stipulates only one means of floatation is required when we're operating flights within 50 nautical miles from shore," Manon Stuart said Monday.
Life vests for babies have not been removed, she added. Moreover, the airline has adjusted some routes so that the planes remain within the 50-mile (about 90-kilometre) government limit.
It's not clear how much weight would actually be saved by removing the vests, "but when you're trying to save every bit of money you can to make the airline more productive, every bit counts," Tom Hinton, a former top aviation official at the Transportation Safety Board, told the Toronto Star.
Like other airlines, Jazz is struggling to save money as transportation costs increase. Profit in the second quarter of 2008 fell to $27.4 million from $40.6 million in the comparable quarter of 2007.
Jazz had 137 planes at end 2007, and its website said it has more flights and flies to more Canadian destinations than any other Canadian carrier.
Some travellers at the Charlottetown airport are upset Air Canada Jazz did not tell customers about the removal of life vests from its planes.
Carmel Roberts said the airline should have told customers, for their safety.
"I was not aware of that at all. They didn't tell us. We do fly over water to get here."
The airline cut the life vests, except for infant ones, from all 137 of its planes in June to save money on fuel. Each vest weighs less than half a kilogram.
Transport Canada approved the change because there will still be floatable seat cushions on board. Only one kind of floatation device is required for flights above a body of water that's less than 90 kilometres in length, which includes flights out of P.E.I.
Karine Chicoine who recently took an Air Canada Jazz flight to Charlottetown wasn't aware of the changes.
She said next time she plans to fly to Charlottetown on a bigger plane.
"They should have said something. [It's] strange," she said.
But Clint Buttnor said he's fine with the change, because it was approved by Transport Canada.
"I'm sure they run their own studies, and risk assessment," he said.
Air Canada Jazz did not send out a news release or notify passengers of the change, and they declined CBC's request for an interview.