Air Canada Rouge joins proposed Canada Jetlines with hiring spree in Vancouver

Air Canada's wholly owned discount airline Rouge has launched a recruitment campaign to hire more than 100 Vancouver-based flight attendants in time for the airline's spring launch of flights out of Vancouver.

Air Canada's wholly owned discount airline Rouge has launched a recruitment campaign to hire more than 100 Vancouver-based flight attendants in time for the airline's spring launch of flights out of Vancouver.

"We're not hiring in Calgary," Air Canada Rouge vice-president of customer experience Renee Smith-Valade told Business in Vancouver. "We're hiring here in Vancouver to serve Vancouver and Calgary because we will shuttle the flight attendants between here and Calgary until such time as it makes sense to have a base there."

Air Canada Rouge began operating in Toronto and Montreal in July 2013 and currently has 220 flight attendants. About 110 new hires will start training on January 20 in Toronto and Montreal.

"By the end of the year we will have about 650 flight attendants," Smith-Valade said.

Most of the new hires being based in Toronto and Montreal.

Unlike Canada Jetlines, which is another airline that is ramping up hiring in Vancouver, Air Canada Rouge will focus its flights on leisure destinations in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico.

Air Canada does not expect to release information about exact routes until the end of January, but Smith-Valade stressed that none of the flights would be within Canada.

Backers of Jetlines, in contrast, believe their proposed ultra-low-cost carrier can tap demand for flights within western Canada.

They have already recruited 31 people for executive positions, its chief commercial officer David Solloway told Business in Vancouver last month.

By the time Jetlines launches, in fall 2014, Solloway intends to have 130 full-time employees. Hiring would continue until at least 2017, when Solloway anticipates employing as many as 780 staff.

As an ultra-low-cost carrier, Jetlines would charge passengers extra for perks such as in-flight iPads as well as expected conveniences such as paying for a reservation with a credit card.

Base fares, however, would be an average of 40% to 50% less than Air Canada, Solloway said.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom