Air Canada to start charging for 2nd checked bag

Wed Dec 2, 2009 5:13pm EST
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Air Canada will start charging economy-class passengers for a second checked bag on flights between Canada and several key international destinations, the airline said on Wednesday, matching a growing industry trend.

As of January 19, Canada's biggest airline will levy the charge on flights to the United States, Europe and Israel.

Several of Air Canada's U.S. and European rivals have already implemented such fees as airlines search for new sources of revenue during the global economic slowdown.

"This change in baggage policy to match our U.S. and European competitors is an important step as we work toward sustained profitability," said Ben Smith, Air Canada's executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.

Economy-class passengers flying within Canada, or on flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Asia and Australia, will still be able to check two bags without the extra charge, Air Canada said in a statement.

The airline will charge C$30 ($28.50) for a second bag on flights to the United States and C$50 to Europe and Israel.

That is less than major U.S. carriers, several of whom are charging for all checked bags.

The new fees, which apply to tickets purchased from December 2 for travel from January 19, won't apply to Air Canada and Star Alliance premium club members.

Air Canada, the world's 13th largest airline, teetered on the edge of bankruptcy earlier this year but is on a firmer footing now after raising more than C$1 billion and reaching agreements with its unions.

($1=$1.05 Canadian)

(Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson)