Air Canada celebrates Black History Month with heritage-proud flight
Flying Montreal to Halifax, Flight AC660 paid homage to Black History Month by being operated and supported by an all-black team. This team consisted of pilots, flight attendants and ground workers.
Being Canada’s largest airline, the country’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, it’s suffice to say that Air Canada is the world’s most comprehensive air travel network. With this influence comes great responsibility and Air Canada holds this to high regard, ensuring good passenger experience and a supportive work environment for their team.
Their recent show of support to black crew members is testament to this. Black people make up a solid component of Air Canada, with nearly 700 black employees working across various levels of senior management, leadership and ground-support crew.
In both recognition for their efforts, and to commemorate Black History Month, Air Canada flew Flight AC660 from Montreal to Halifax – a flight planned and operated by black pilots, flight attendants and managers. This special flight, running for a second year, allowed passengers onboard to experience special guests and visit Africville upon touchdown in Halifax. This helped immerse travellers in black culture and the historical roots of African American diaspora.
Commenting on the reasons for this honouring, Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Chief Human Resource Officer at Air Canada, said: “Air Canada salutes its black employees who have proudly championed their identity and pride to showcase their achievements and contributions to aviation. This is the second year in a row we have applauded black excellence with a celebration flight, and we are thrilled to highlight our employees’ professional achievements. They are incredible ambassadors and role models for the next generation of black youth.”
Arielle Meloul-Wechsler was not the only one singing praises to the commemoration. Team members who helped organise Flight AC660 extolled about the flight, recognising the pride they felt and the potential it had to inspire younger generations. Andrew Free, who works as a STOC Manager for Montreal, said that:
“I am proud of the example we are setting and showing (the) black community…we are highlighting to aspiring young black kids that there are people in the aviation industry that look like them and that they, too, can be a part of this incredible industry. We are demonstrating to them that Air Canada celebrates black history and that ‘You are Black History.’”
Service Director of Air Canada, Mendoza Jolly, further remarked that “some of my best memories are when I meet little black kids and I see how their eyes light up when they realise that not only am I working on their flight, I am the one in-charge.” Jolly’s comments affirm how well the airline is doing in being a model for younger black youths.
These cultural events are imperative in ensuring that more ethnic communities feel empowered to take that initial step into the aviation industry. Seeing black role models in the airline industry from a young age was what motivated Sharyn Prevost, Air Canada’s Customer Experience Specialist, to launch her aviation career. She said that “my aviation career feels like a family tradition as I followed the footsteps of my late father, who joined TransCanada Airlines in 1957. As a black woman and an ambassador for the Air Canada brand, it is wonderful to see Air Canada providing leadership on a project as important as Black History Month.”
Hear more about what Air Canada’s Black employees have to say about the importance of being seen, on race and adversity in these three short videos.
Air Canada has been named one of Canada’s best Diversity Employers for many years. Its Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) details the airline’s diversity and community initiatives.