Quebec could sue Air Canada, Ottawa over Aveos

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:49pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Quebec's government said on Wednesday it was considering taking legal action against both Air Canada and the federal government to keep operations going at the Montreal facility that services the airline's planes.

The facility was once part of Air Canada's in-house maintenance unit and is now owned by private company Aveos Fleet Performance Inc. Aveos obtained bankruptcy protection on Monday and on Tuesday it ceased Canadian operations and laid off all of its Canadian employees. It had about 2,600 employees across the country, including 1,700 workers in Montreal.

Aveos has blamed much of its financial difficulty on Air Canada. It said the airline reduced the work it sent to Aveos, particularly in the last two months, precipitating a crisis.

Air Canada countered on Tuesday, saying it had given Aveos financial and other assistance.

The federal law that has governed Air Canada's operations since its 1988 privatization requires it to "maintain operational and overhaul centers" in Montreal as well as Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Mississauga, Ontario.

"We will do all, all, all we can to keep the operations open, to see how we can help the workers and the company," Quebec Premier Jean Charest told the province's legislature.

"We will examine all the options available, including the possibility of taking legal action against the federal government."

The government of the province of Manitoba, where more than 400 jobs were lost, said it was touch with Quebec on Wednesday morning.

"We are eager to coordinate our response to the situation with Quebec," said spokeswoman Rachel Morgan. She said it was too early to say whether Manitoba would take legal action.   Continued...

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft is seen during a media preview at an Air Canada hangar at Pearson Toronto International Airport in Toronto, March 2, 2012. Air Canada has purchased 37 of the Boeing 787 and are to be delivered in 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch