Monday, August 25, 2008

Jazz removes life vests to save fuel

Jazz removes life vests to save fuelAir Canada Jazz has removed inflatable life vests from its planes to save weight.(Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Air Canada's regional carrier Jazz has removed inflatable life vests from its planes to save weight, a spokeswoman said.

The airline carries both floatation devices (seat cushions) and life vests, and the "Transportation Canada regulation stipulates only one means of floatation is required when we're operating flights within 50 nautical miles from shore," Manon Stuart said Monday.

Life vests for babies have not been removed, she added. Moreover, the airline has adjusted some routes so that the planes remain within the 50-mile (about 90-kilometre) government limit.

The move bothered Woody French, mayor of Conception Bay South, N.L. He has been advocating for an airline passenger bill of rights, and said the removal of the life jackets is a bad idea.

It's not clear how much weight would actually be saved by removing the vests, "but when you're trying to save every bit of money you can to make the airline more productive, every bit counts," Tom Hinton, a former top aviation official at the Transportation Safety Board, told the Toronto Star.

Like other airlines, Jazz is struggling to save money as transportation costs increase. Profit in the second quarter of 2008 fell to $27.4 million from $40.6 million in the comparable quarter of 2007.

Jazz had 137 planes at end 2007, and its website said it has more flights and flies to more Canadian destinations than any other Canadian carrier.

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