Industry Bids A Fond Farewell To Lucie Guillemette

The atmosphere was definitely celebratory as 200 of Air Canada’s top travel trade partners gathered at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel to bid a fond farewell to Lucie Guillemette and get to know some of the newer members of the airline’s executive team.

Guillemette admitted that while the prospects of retirement were exciting, it was also a moment that was bittersweet as she said she’ll miss the industry, her colleagues and her travel trade partners.

And she thanked those partners for opening their doors to her, adding that she appreciated their feedback, both good and bad.

She also introduced the crowd to Mark Galardo, Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning; Lisa M. Pierce, Vice President, Global Sales and Air Canada Vacations; Virgilio Russi as Vice President, International Sales; and Nino Montagnese, Vice President, Air Canada Vacations.

Guillemette pointed out that Air Canada is emerging from the pandemic better equipped to handle the ups and downs of this industry than at any time in its history; noting the work it did on Aeroplan, technology, the fleet and more during that time.

“Our future is bright,” Guillemette told her audience, before thanking them for their business, loyalty and friendship during her 36 years in the industry.

As for Mark Galardo, he was quick to admit that he has big shoes to fill, noting that he will miss working with Guillemette.

Galardo told that crowd that Air Canada is stronger today than it has ever been; its fleet has been modernized; it has built three strong hubs in Canada; and it has a huge opportunity to expand.

As for Lisa M. Pierce, she pointed out that the recovery is being shaped by a new mix of traffic and Air Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of the new opportunities that it is being presented with.

Technology is driving changes at Air Canada Vacations as Nino Montagnese told the crowd about the work the tour company has been doing to improve the distribution of its products. There’s a group booking tool set to be rolled out this fall; there are more self-serve options available; and there’s a new B2B portal coming soon.

Virgilio Russi talked about the importance of Toronto as an international gateway as well as pointing out that the carrier’s transatlantic and Latin America business was recovery nicely and the expectation is that Asia will see a recovery in 2023 and 2024.

Earlier this week, Air Canada had hosted a similar event in Vancouver and will be hosting an event in Montreal today (April 14).