Air Canada has announced the appointment of Kevin Howlett (pictured, left in photo), currently senior vice-president, Employee Relations, to the new position of senior vice-president, Regional Markets with overall responsibility for the strategic direction of Air Canada’s regional operations and the relationship with current and future regional carriers operating on its behalf.

“I am pleased to announce Kevin’s appointment to this new role,” said Air Canada president Calin Rovinescu (right in photo). “His proven strategic and relationship management skills as well as his experience in regional markets across Canada will be invaluable as we focus on competing more effectively in rapidly evolving regional markets as low cost operators continue to grow, both in Canada and the United States.

“Over the past two years Air Canada has made significant changes to its regional airline strategy including embarking on a carrier diversification program and a re-branding of all regional partners as Air Canada Express. Kevin’s mandate will include a focus on further reducing the cost of Air Canada’s regional lift as well as strengthening Air Canada’s presence in regional communities.”

Based in Vancouver, Howlett will also work in association with Derek Vanstone, vice-president, Corporate Strategy, Industry & Government Affairs, to strengthen regional business and community relationships. Prior to this appointment Howlett oversaw the human resource and labour relations functions at the airline. He has over 35 years of related experience in the airline industry, and previously held the positions of vice-president, Labour Relations with Air Canada Jazz, and vice-president of Labour Relations & Human Resources at Canadian Airlines International.

In another move, Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, currently senior director, Human Resources, has been promoted to the new position of vice-president, Human Resources. In this role, Meloul-Wechsler will assume responsibility for all aspects of Human Resources with the exception of Labour Relations, which continues to be the responsibility of Scott Morey, vice-president, Labour Relations.