Regional routes of Air Canada: a nightmare for health care in Quebec

Liaisons régionales d'Air Canada: un cauchemar pour se faire soigner à Québec

In remission from a virulent cancer of the breast, a mother of a family of Seven-Islands will no longer be able to rely on the Air Canada flight to Quebec, where she was a part of her treatment.

Vicky Gravel has made the round-trip flight between Québec and Sept-Îles at different times in the last year, to suffer for five weeks his 25 treatments of radiation therapy in the capital.

“I was taking the first flight Monday morning and I could go on Friday evening, to spend the weekend at home with my kids and my boyfriend” shows the mother of two children, who could count on his insurance to take the bill.

“If I had not had it, it would have required that I take the road or I do it by bus. It wouldn’t have made sense, especially with the fatigue of radiation therapy. Or it would have been necessary that I remain in Quebec, and that my joint vienna to visit me with the children. But in the winter, with the school, it would have been difficult, ” she said.

In remission

Now in remission, Vicky Gravel will still need to go back to Quebec this fall for her breast reconstruction.

“I have to go back at least three or four times, to two weeks. I would have liked to use the aircraft, but we will have to find a plan B. It may be the car, ” she says, mentioning with disappointment the length of journey of about eight hours and the road conditions are sometimes difficult.

According to The Marion Hope, surgeon to the hospital of Sept-Îles, the abolition of flights will impact on the lives of patients, but also on the organization of care.

Recruitment more difficult

Marion Hope, a surgeon at the hospital of Sept-Îles.

“In several specialties, it depends on a lot of troubleshooting, among others on the level of anesthesia. In Sept-Îles, there was an anesthesiologist standing, but it was a coverage year anesthesiologists from outside the vast majority of which comes from Quebec, ” she says.

This decision, which is of concern to all the world, she said, could also have a negative impact on the attractiveness of the region with new doctors since the air traffic is greatly reduced.

–With Diane Tremblay

A “big step back”

The suspension of regional flights in Quebec, including the one that linked Montreal to Mont-Joli, is a ” big step back “, writes the president of the Chamber of commerce and industry Mont-Joli-Mitis.

“It is a blow. Regrettably, really the fact that the areas are still restricted in their mobility, ” argues Olivier Fortin.

The impact may be felt in the business community, in addition to affecting the activities of the regional airport, Mont-Joli. Not counting the travellers to the region who travelled to Montreal for a connection to an international flight. “It’s going to be more complicated. We restricted the access to this level, ” he says.

In the Face of declining service of Air Canada – both in quality and quantity –, Mr. Fortin requested a restructuring for the inter-regional flights. “You can’t keep it like that for weeks or months “, he concludes.

—Kathryne Lamontagne

“A decision foolish”

Normand Côté

“This is a decision that is foolish. It looks like it is always the areas that pay. They may well not have volume. It costs us 1000 $ round trip for Sept-Iles–Quebec. One is taken hostage. It costs us an arm and a leg to get out of the region, ” responded Normand Côté, chief financial officer of the council of the Innu of Uashat Mani-utenam in Sept-Îles.

“I hope that there will be pressure for Air Canada to change its mind. It is hoped that there will be the creation of a coalition with decision-makers, ” said Mr. Côté, who is called to travel often for business.

He considers himself “extremely disappointed” Air Canada, and have been for several years since it is no longer possible to make a round-trip between Sept-Îles and Quebec in the same day, with the changes to hours of vol

—Diane Tremblay

The economy will suffer

Nancy Arpin

The director-general of the Office of tourisme et des congrès de Val-d’or, Nancy Arpin, believes that the economic development will be hurt by this decision.

“On the tourist map, we just lose the various opportunities with the Explore program in Quebec,” she says.

Same sound of bell on the side of the Chamber of commerce of Val-d’or.

“Not only the direct flights between Val d’or and Montreal are arrested, but there will be more stops in Val-d’or during flights to Rouyn-Noranda,” said the director-general, Hélène Paradis.

The consequences will be major on the business community, ” says Ms. Paradise. The only other option available remains Air Creebec, a company which is the property of the Crees of Quebec.

—Diane Tremblay

An impact on the customer business in the region

With the suspension of the link between Montréal and Baie-Comeau, it will be more difficult for many business people to meet with their clients in the region.

This is particularly the case of Rachel, who works in finance and who has to travel approximately four times per year to Baie-Comeau, quebec, to visit a dozen customers.

The stay becomes less interesting if the young professional has to walk eight hours of car to go and return. “There must be another company who takes over for these flights-there. It’s going to affect the business relationships, the people who do fly-in fly-out also ” shows-t-it.

—Kathryne Lamontagne

No automatic reimbursement

The airport and Michel-Pouliot Gaspé.

Travelers who had tickets for one or the other of the routes suspended by Air Canada should not expect an automatic return.

The airline says that customers affected will be offered ” certain options that take account of the specific circumstances present.

To believe the past experiences of the customers interviewed by The Newspaper, these options include, among others, a credit, Aeroplan points or a partial refund of the sums involved.

Regarding this last option, a client has been offered recently a refund amounting to approximately 10 % of the value of his airline ticket for a flight to Rouyn-Montreal, expected in June. Air Canada had cancelled its flight to six days after his booking.

—Kathryne Lamontagne

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