Air Canada Registers Airbus A220 To Celebrate CEO’s Retirement

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Air Canada has given outgoing CEO Calin Rovinescu one last shout-out. The airline has registered its first Airbus A220-300 after him. The A220 has the registration C-GROV, the ROV tag referring to Rovinescu. In addition, the former CEO’s signature, name, and time served at the airline are distinctively displayed near the flight deck’s windows.

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Air Canada has registered an A220-300 as C-GROV in honor of former CEO Calin Rovinescu.Photo: Air Canada

“Congratulations Calin Rovinescu on your well-earned retirement. Thank you for 12 years of leadership, vision and unwavering dedication to making Air Canada a global champion,” says Air Canada in social media feeds today while showing off pictures of the A220.

Leaving a legacy

Mr Rovinescu announced his retirement last October after heading the airline for 12 years and first joining 30 years ago. Before assuming the top job in 2009, Calin Rovinescu had worked as Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Restructuring Officer.

While at Air Canada, Mr Rovinescu worked on the 1988-1989 privatization, the 1999 hostile takeover attempt defense, the 2000 Canadian Airlines merger, the aftermath of 9/11, the mid-noughties restructuring, the GFC fightback, and most recently, the 2020 travel downturn.

“I am especially proud of the company’s transformation over the last dozen years during which we built Air Canada into one of the world’s leading carriers and a global champion for Canada,” said Mr Rovinescu when announcing his retirement.

“Mr Rousseau played an instrumental role in Air Canada’s transformation,” said Air Canada at the time. The airline is now putting its gratitude on the public record. Every time passengers and crew board C-GROV, they’ll see the airline’s acknowledgment of Mr Rousseau’s service.

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All of Air Canada’s Airbus A220s remain in service. Today, C-GROV operated a return service between Vancouver and Edmonton. On both Thursday and Friday, C-GROV will operate return services between Vancouver and Calgary.

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Calin Rovinescu worked as Air Canada’s CEO for 12 years. Photo: Air Canada

The tribute a rare upbeat note from Air Canada

The tribute to Calin Rovinescu is a rare upbeat note from Air Canada. The airline recently reported a CA$3.8 billion loss following its “bleakest year.” A government bailout package for the wider Canadian airline industry is close to getting finalized. But that’s not a sure thing until the bailout money lands in Air Canada’s bank accounts. Meanwhile, Air Canada’s purchase of smaller rival, Transat, remains up in the air after an acquisition deadline passed just days ago. While neither airline has pulled the plug on the deal yet, either could. Air Canada says the deal remains in place unless and until either party terminates it. But Transat says there is no guarantee the deal, or a new deal, will hold up.

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Air Canada’s former CEO, Calin Rovinescu. Photo: Getty Images

With Air Canada busy juggling these issues this week, Mr Rovinescu might be glad he longer has to head into the office every morning. Calin Rovinescu’s successor is Mike Rousseau, another Air Canada veteran.

“He knows all of our strengths and opportunities and how we can lean into them,” said Mr Rovinescu. Mr Rousseau has a similar career trajectory as his former boss. Mike Rousseau had recently worked as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Air Canada.

Meanwhile, the registration of the Airbus A220-300 to C-GROV is getting a positive reception on social media. Most people are praising the gesture and like the plane’s new look.

What do you think? Does Calin Rovinescu deserve having a plane registered in his honor and a public tribute painted onto it? Post a comment and let us know.

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