Aimia urges pa­tience in re­vamp of Aero­plan

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - Ross Marow­its

• The op­er­a­tor of the Aero­plan loy­alty pro­gram is urg­ing mem­bers to be pa­tient as it seeks a new air­line part­ner while work­ing to broaden the card’s travel of­fer­ings af­ter its re­la­tion­ship with Air Canada changes in mid-2020.

“We need to be re­al­is­tic around the speed that we can move with po­ten­tial part­ners in the con­text where our cur­rent agree­ment is still in place for the next 21/2 years,” Aimia Inc. CEO David John­ston said on a call to dis­cuss third-quar­ter re­sults.

He said Thurs­day the com­pany is work­ing with “a high de­gree of ur­gency” but won’t be rushed. Air Canada served no­tice in May that it does not plan to re­new its 30-year-plus part­ner­ship with Aero­plan par­ent Aimia when the cur­rent con­tract ends.

The air­line has in­vited key fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to par­tic­i­pate in bids to join its own loy­alty pro­gram and ex­pects to is­sue a re­quest for pro­pos­als early next year.

“I’m not link­ing my tim­ing with Air Canada’s tim­ing,” John­ston said in an interview. “I’m fo­cus­ing on the pri­or­i­ties in my busi­ness.”

Those in­clude get­ting new air­line part­ner­ships. Aimia has been work­ing to broaden Aero­plan beyond just be­ing a flight provider. It signed up Avis Car Rental and launched a pro­mo­tion with Mar­riott ho­tels.

A weaker per­for­mance in its in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions in­creased Aimia’s net loss for the pe­riod ended Sept. 30 to $40.3 mil­lion, or 26 cents per share, com­pared with a loss of $ 1.5 mil­lion, or four cents per share, a year ago.

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