24 March 2020 News on the Financial Health of the Air Canada Pension Plans

Many members have expressed concerns over the state of the Air Canada pension plans as a result of the challenges being faced by Air Canada due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Your Pionairs Pension Sub-Committee is following these developments closely and has been in touch with Air Canada.

Air Canada has assured us that this crisis will have no impact on the monthly payment of your pension and that you will continue to receive your monthly pension in the same amount and under the same conditions as before.

We also take this opportunity to remind you that the pension plans assets are held in a trust that is completely separate from the company assets.  In addition, Air Canada’s obligations continue, including pension plan funding.

As usual, your annual pension statement will be mailed out to you at the end of June, and it will disclose the financial situation of your particular pension plan as at January 1, 2020.

We encourage you to read Air Canada’s March 16, 2020 press release which provided an update on the airline’s response to COVID-19.  Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada’s President and CEO, mentioned,  “Most importantly for business continuity, it also has the necessary financial resources, including a solid balance sheet, record liquidity levels, higher debt ratings based on a low leverage ratio, and a significant pension plan surplus.”

Further information relating to the company’s liquidity is provided at the end of the press release, where the status of the defined benefit pension plans is described as follows:

“As at January 1, 2020, the aggregate solvency surplus in Air Canada’s domestic registered pension plans was $2.6 billion.  Total employer defined benefit pension funding contributions are projected to be $100 million in 2020 ($109 million in 2019) and no additional contributions are required as a result of changes in interest rates.  Air Canada has a significantly lower exposure to a decrease in interest rates and reduction in market equity values due to its pension risk mitigation strategy and, as a result, it expects to maintain a significant pension solvency surplus in its domestic registered pension plans for the year.”

You can find the entire text of this press release at

Air Canada will continue to update us on the status of the pension plans. Your Committee will update its members, if, and when necessary.

Air Canada Pionairs Pension Sub-Committee