Ottawa concerned about Air Canada, eyes pensions

Wed Apr 1, 2009 3:10pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government is looking at the pension situation at Air Canada and will keep a watchful eye on the struggling airline, Transport Minister John Baird said on Wednesday.

Baird told Parliament that pensions at Air Canada are federally regulated, and Ted Menzies, parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, was looking at the issue.

Air Canada has a pension deficit of more than C$3 billion ($2.4 billion) and it, along with other companies, has asked for some flexibility in topping up their funds.

Baird said he has asked to meet the new executive team named on Tuesday at the airline. "We're obviously very concerned and we'll certainly keep a watchful eye," he said.

($1=$1.26 Canadian)

(Reporting by Randall Palmer and Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>An Air Canada plane lands in front of a United plane at the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>