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Languages Spoken On Airlines In Canada  
User currently offlineMozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2167 posts, RR: 13
Posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8017 times:

Coming from a multi-language country myself (Switzerland) I was wondering how passenger announcements are handled in Canada. Is it

1. English and French on every flight? (would be weird on some commuter flights within English-speaking provinces)
2. English and French on all longer flights, e.g. transcontinental?
3. English and French only on flights going to a (partly) French-speaking province (which ones would that be)?
4. English and French only on flights to Québec?
5. Do all airlines operate bilingually, or only Air Canada?
6. Are FAs required to be bilingual, or only those of certain airlines?
7. Are there French-speaking airlines (i.e. where the operating language is French, and English is used but more like a "foreign" language)?

I assume that ATC is English-only all across Canada, right?

85 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAnsettB727 From Australia, joined Mar 2004, 215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 8012 times:

Great question! I've only flown AC from Europe, Australia and the States, but every time all announcements were made in English first, then French. Most of them today are obviously pre-records/video presentations, however individual ad hoc announcements were also done in both languages.

I know many, probably mostly Canadians, won't agree with me, but I find this an important recognition of culture and language. It's probably fair to say that it isn't necessary, but the fact that one language isn't taking precedence over another is important to me.

It's the same with Welsh 1st language speakers: they can all speak English, but why neglect thousands of years of culture and linguistic development?


User currently offlineDH8PU From Canada, joined Apr 2007, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7960 times:

1 & 2. English and French should be spoken on every Air Canada flight regardless of length, including those in "English" Provinces, YYC - YEG for example. You would be surprised how many flights have french speaking pax onboard.

3. On any flight going into Quebec, announcements are to be made in French first then English. To comply with the law 101 in Quebec

5 & 6. Air Canada is the only airline that is forced to be bilingual due to the Air Canada act, most other airlines however due have mainly bilingual crews.

7. There are airlines like Air Creebec who operate in a mainly french environment their F/As are usually tri-lingual, English, French and Cree.

And French is widely used by ATC in Quebec, a source of annoyance to English speaking pilots who operate in Quebec.

Any more questions feel free to ask!



Cabin secure and doors checked
User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7935 times:
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Although I don't work in Canada, I remember a gate agent telling me a funny concept about multilingual passengers, or more directly, multilingual passengers who pretend they do not understand English in order to get something out of us. Once in a while, a passenger will pretend to only understand Spanish and not English. It is obvious that they should speak English - they present a drivers license from a US state and/or a US passport. They feign lack of English until someone says "well if you don't get to your gate on time and take this seat, we will cancel your seat and hand it to someone else." All of a sudden, they start to understand English quite well right that instant.

I get the feeling that the same goes for French speakers in Canada. Of course I will get flamed for this one. Disclaimer - I dated a Canadian for many years, I take this perspective from her and others I knew from Canada.



Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2804 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7896 times:



Quoting Acidradio (Reply 3):
I get the feeling that the same goes for French speakers in Canada

Canada has two official languages: French and English. Therefore I find it normal that French speakers can speak French with Air Canada's crew members  Smile



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineDebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7840 times:



Quoting Mozart (Thread starter):
Coming from a multi-language country myself (Switzerland)

Back to you; whats language is spoken onboard in your country by Swiss, Edelweiss etc.?

German, French, Italian, Romansh, Englisch- must be a VERY long safety demo...  bigthumbsup 


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1987 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7810 times:



Quoting Debonair (Reply 5):
Back to you; whats language is spoken onboard in your country by Swiss, Edelweiss etc.?

German, French, Italian, Romansh, Englisch- must be a VERY long safety demo...

Interesting question: I just flew LX SIN-BKK-SIN. On the leg to Bangkok the crew announcements were made first in English, then in German, then in French, then in Mandarin. There was only one announcement (on arrival) made in Italian, which was done between the French and Mandarin announcements.

On the leg back to Singapore, most annoucements were made first in English, then in German, then in French, then in Thai, with the last announcement also including Italian between French and Thai. No Romansch announcements were made.

I guess the reason why the announcements had German preceding French is because the flight originates in Zurich, not in Geneva. Wonder if it would be the other way round if it originated in GVA?

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | VA SYD-OOL-SYD | JQ SYD-MEL | VA MEL-CBR-SYD | DL SYD-LAX-ATL-MIA | B6 FLL-DCA-BOS | DL BOS-L
User currently offlineStylo777 From Germany, joined Feb 2006, 2952 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7807 times:

usually when I flew LX the annoucements were first in English, then French and German.

User currently offlineKtachiya From Japan, joined Sep 2004, 1792 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7769 times:

What was interesting is that when I flew AC out of YVR to YEG and another time to YYC, there were announcements made in Japanese. I was suprised at this.


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User currently offlineMatt From Canada, joined May 1999, 692 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 7709 times:

In terms of government regulations, all airlines in Canada must have their safety briefing done in English and French.

As for service in official languages, here is the rule (applies only to AC):

Services are to be provided in both official languages on Air Canada routes that start or finish at airports serving the National Capital Region, Montreal and Moncton or that have stopovers at the same airports; as well, routes that start and finish at airports located in the following three provinces: Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Of course, AC offers bilingual services beyond those routes, and as mentionned offers service in other languages as well.



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User currently offlineLXA340 From Switzerland, joined Nov 2006, 2122 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7680 times:



Quoting Stylo777 (Reply 7):
usually when I flew LX the annoucements were first in English, then French and German.

It's quite random between english or german to be anounced first but never french usually. maybe on flights to from GVA. Nevertheless I noticed lately on some flights in or to ZRH crews don't even bother to make french anoucments anymore only English and German.

Regarding AC do all pursers speak french? I was on a flight from YYZ to LGA a couple of years ago and the french anoucment was made by a normal FA who was from quebec. Is there no regulation at AC that all Pursers need to speak french, however there must be at least one crew member on each flight that speaks french inorder to make anoucments in french?


User currently offlineMozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2167 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7631 times:

Swiss on shorthaul flights: usually French is used first on flights to/from Paris CDG. I assume it's the same for Nice, Bruxelles and Luxembourg.

On other shorthaul routes, for instance between Zurich and Germany, they only make announcements in French if they know that there is a French speaker on board (the FAs may know because they have been greated in French or somebody asked for a French-speaking newspaper).

Quoting DH8PU (Reply 2):
1 & 2. English and French should be spoken on every Air Canada flight regardless of length, including those in "English" Provinces, YYC - YEG for example. You would be surprised how many flights have french speaking pax onboard.

This I find interesting. But how is it done: do they make announcements in French on every "English province" flight, or only like LX on those flights where they know that French speakers are on board? BTW, do Canadian airlines carry French-speaking newspapers/magazines on all routes?


User currently offlineChrisA330 From Canada, joined Oct 1999, 630 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7612 times:



Quoting Mozart (Reply 11):
But how is it done: do they make announcements in French on every "English province" flight,

It is a Canadian Government requirement that annoucements are made in both English and French regardless of passengers on board. On many AC Jazz flights, French annoucements are prerecorded as they are still building their bilingual workforce.

In my experience, French newpapers are only offered on flights to/from Quebec, however they may be offered on other flights if they were previously boarded for another flight.


User currently offlinePnwtraveler From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 2225 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7592 times:

It is Canadian law dating back to when Air Canada was a crown corporation that both languages always be represented on every flight. As has been pointed out above, Air Canada is the only airline that this is required of. Most flight attendants, but not all speak some French. If a flight attendant has another language and there are people on that flight (ie. a tour or a lot of connecting passengers to a particular country) then an announcement may be made in that particular language. There are a high volume of Japanese tourists to Banff and Jaspar so there are times when Japanese is used. I have heard announcements in Chinese when a YYZ to YVR flight was connecting on to a flight to China and there were a fair number of non English speaking people on the flight.

User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4913 posts, RR: 43
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7561 times:

Air Canada actively encourages its employees to speak, learn and use both official languages of Canada. This even goes as far as to hold French language lessons at various points around the country, and allow employees to attend. I am not sure about other departments, but Flight Operations employees, (pilots, training, testing and support staff) will even be released from duty to attend these classes and receive full flying pay.

Quoting Ktachiya (Reply 8):
What was interesting is that when I flew AC out of YVR to YEG and another time to YYC, there were announcements made in Japanese. I was surprised at this.

There are many route languages that will have Flight Attendants assigned to satisfy the demand. As stated above, it may not always make sense, however, with the tremendous numbers of Asian passengers travelling with us around the country during the summer, you may well hear announcements you were not expecting. Much like you will hear Japanese announcements on YYG flights! Further, with the number of connections, it is not uncommon to have Spanish and Portuguese announcements on MIA flights.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineOlympus69 From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 1737 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7471 times:



Quoting DH8PU (Reply 2):
And French is widely used by ATC in Quebec, a source of annoyance to English speaking pilots who operate in Quebec

I was at YUL a week ago, my first time there with a scanner, and I was surprised to hear a fair amount of French spoken by ATC. I didn't know it was legal.


User currently offlineRikkus67 From Canada, joined Jun 2000, 1624 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7468 times:

On Canada's #2 airline, Westjet, they originally did their safety announcements in English. 11 years later (and a now national route system), all safety announcements are done in English, with a taped French version played right afterward. I am not sure if they have started using bilingual flight attendants to do announcements, but for hiring they now have a preference for biligual speaking applicants.


AC.WA.CP.DL.RW.CO.WG.WJ.WN.KI.FL.SK.ACL.UA.US.F9
User currently offlineFlyb From Canada, joined Aug 2006, 684 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7461 times:



Quoting Acidradio (Reply 3):
Although I don't work in Canada, I remember a gate agent telling me a funny concept about multilingual passengers, or more directly, multilingual passengers who pretend they do not understand English in order to get something out of us. Once in a while, a passenger will pretend to only understand Spanish and not English. It is obvious that they should speak English - they present a drivers license from a US state and/or a US passport. They feign lack of English until someone says "well if you don't get to your gate on time and take this seat, we will cancel your seat and hand it to someone else." All of a sudden, they start to understand English quite well right that instant.

I get the feeling that the same goes for French speakers in Canada. Of course I will get flamed for this one. Disclaimer - I dated a Canadian for many years, I take this perspective from her and others I knew from Canada.

Like stated, this is not the the general prospective. Canada is bi-lingual, unlike the United States. If we took the attitude you just stated, it would be offensive.


User currently offlineRikkus67 From Canada, joined Jun 2000, 1624 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7439 times:



Quoting Flyb (Reply 17):

In general, most francophones in Canada are bilingual. You will find this to a lesser degree in rural areas, and more so in urban areas.



AC.WA.CP.DL.RW.CO.WG.WJ.WN.KI.FL.SK.ACL.UA.US.F9
User currently offlineChase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7384 times:

I was on DL CVG-YUL a couple years back, and was surprised that the announcements were made in English only. Is this the norm, or did my crew "forget"?

User currently offlineNorthStarDC4M From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2990 posts, RR: 37
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7362 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

US Airlines don't do announcements in French, nor are they required to when arriving in Canada. Quebec can't legislate regulations to them...


Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
User currently offlineGrahamHill From France, joined Mar 2007, 2804 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7345 times:



Quoting Chase (Reply 19):
I was on DL CVG-YUL a couple years back, and was surprised that the announcements were made in English only. Is this the norm, or did my crew "forget"?

Well, a company should speak in the native language of the country it's coming from, as well as English. DL is an American-base company, so they are not required to speak in French if they fly to Quebec. I remember flying JL returning to Paris from Tokyo, and the crew never spoke in French. Only Japanese and English.



"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one" - Moliere
User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4863 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7328 times:



Quoting Ktachiya (Reply 8):
What was interesting is that when I flew AC out of YVR to YEG and another time to YYC, there were announcements made in Japanese. I was suprised at this.

This is not uncommon. A lot of Japanese tourists come to northwestern Canada to experience the northern lights. They are flown in in groups organized by TAs. After flying into Canada they head to YEG/YYC for flights up north so this is primarily for their benefit.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 56
Reply 23, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7312 times:



Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 20):
US Airlines don't do announcements in French

US carriers are only required to do safety related announcements in English. Any other language is a courtesy (if they are done at all or available).



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineThreepoint From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 2129 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7305 times:



Quoting LXA340 (Reply 10):
Regarding AC do all pursers speak french?

I doubt it, nor do I believe the hiring requirements mandate they do (recognizing a second language is almost a must-have for applicants). French is of course a preference, but Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese and a host of other languages are much more useful on certain routes.

Quoting Rikkus67 (Reply 16):
I am not sure if they have started using bilingual flight attendants to do announcements

They have. And often the French announcements will be spoken live, not recorded.



The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
25 AC888YOW : It's not just in Quebec. Here in Ottawa, pilots often communicate in French and all levels of ATC (Terminal, Tower, Ground, Clearance, etc.) always c
26 Jfidler : I flew AC DCA-YYZ a few years ago. It was on an RJ of some type, so there was only one FA. She made the announcements in English, then opened a little
27 Chase : Thanks for the clarification. I guess it just kind of surprised me, since the only other int'l trip I've flown on DL (IND-ATL-STR-JFK-CVG-IND a few y
28 Gooner : I've flown MAN-YYZ with TS a few times and the announcements have always been in both languages
29 Aircellist : In the 70s, it was something of a battle to have French spoken both in working environments (I faintly remember an AC mechanic being fired because he
30 YYZA330 : At Skyservice, all safety announcements are done in English, then French, then the route language. Eg. ENG/FR/ITALIAN on a YYZ-FCO flight. On flights
31 Cubsrule : Didn't Jazz used to have to staff CRJs with 2 f/as because one had to be a native English speaker and the other a native French speaker? I swear I he
32 Mozart : Forgive my ignorance, but isn't Ottawa in the English-speaking part of the country? I know, it's the nation's capital and so has people from both ling
33 Threepoint : No, the lines are very blurred in Ottawa, Montreal and some other places. Ottawa is in predominantly-English speaking Ontario, but only just. Gatinea
34 MAH4546 : Indeed. American Airlines/American Eagle, for example, on all flights going to or from Miami, have all announcements in English and Spanish, the exce
35 Brilondon : AC applicants who deal with the public must speak both English and French fluently and a third language is also given alot of favour. You don't have
36 Cgnnrw : I flew MDT-YYZ on Air Ontario (operated by Air Georgian) a few years ago. There were no FAs on the the plane. I think it was a Beechcraft, only held 1
37 Viscount724 : It seems to vary. On flights within Europe they will sometimes make announcements in the 3 languages and sometimes only 2 including English. In my ex
38 Jamincan : Not quite, Eastern Ontario has always had a large French population, and Ottawa has the largest population of francophones outside of Quebec. In fact
39 CanadianNorth : I fly domestically in Canada a couple times per year. I've always heard the safety announcements in English then French. My father used to do check-in
40 Analog : I'm amazed at how many non-English speakers one runs into in Quebec. It must take significant effort to raise a child that doesn't understand any Eng
41 Post contains images SB : All services within the Montreal FIR are bilingual. As Ottawa is in the Montreal FIR, and it's Terminal controllers are actually sitting in YUL bilin
42 Post contains images GrahamHill : Bloody Tower of Babel
43 JAGflyer : On all Canadian registered airlines I have heard English and French + route langauge(s). On carriers such as El Al (YYZ-LAX-YYZ) annoucements are made
44 Post contains images AF340 : When I am in Montreal, I try to speak french (I know enough to get around) but then they just start talking to me in English. I must sound like an id
45 CRJ200FAGuy : Last week I flew to YYZ and to be funny I used the automated announcements and played them in English, Spanish, French and Japanese. It took forever.
46 Viscount724 : That's not unusual. Many if not most other countries where English is not the native language permit their own language to be used in addition to Eng
47 Post contains images SB : As I just posted francais is only required in units based in the province of Quebec + Ottawa: essentially the Montreal FIR. The rest of the country ru
48 Ayqzbr : As noted in Reply 2, only AC is required by law to have bilingual (English/French) FAs on its flights, but not all FAs are bilingual. As far as I am a
49 YLWbased : not suprising at all, try flying CX to BKK, they make announcements in Thai, to NRT, in Japanese; to Malaysia, in Malay, etc.
50 Threepoint : Hilarious. NO, really. Announcements that take forever are routinely tuned out by passengers who just might find them useful in case of events going
51 Skywatcher : As a Quebec Anglophone I have adifferent perspective from most English speakers. To me it is normal to respect your clients and offer services in what
52 Post contains images Aircellist : That is one of our paradoxes... We say we promote French language, but everytime we have the occasion, we shift... We are sometimes hard to follow Yo
53 AussieItaliano : Being a citizen of both the US and Canada, I have a very different opinion regarding French in Canada as opposed to Spanish in the US. Exactly, the US
54 Skywatcher : There is a special bond in Japan with the Lucy Maude Montgomery "Anne of Green Gables" novels that were written in P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island, the s
55 Post contains links Gte439u : The government privitized Air Canada in 1988 under the Air Canada Public Participation Act. That Act required Air Canada to fully comply with the Off
56 Eghansen : I have flown on aircraft out of LAX where the announcements were in English and Spanish. Of course, now that Spanish is becoming the official second
57 CRJ200FAGuy : No, all announcements are routinely tuned out. When I say them, I routinely have to shout over 40% of the plane who feel the need to talk. The other
58 WarRI1 : I just read in the paper today about a pilot who said that the language for international ATC is english, he flies on international routes with 30 yea
59 Eghansen : Yes it is true. It stems for the days in the 1950's and 1960's when the US made the planes, trained the pilots and ruled the skies. However, if a Jap
60 Tdscanuck : Yes. Pretty much anywhere on earth if you have crews from different language backgrounds, they'll work in English. Tom.
61 YWG : And yet....some still seem to slip through the cracks...
62 WarRI1 : Now that is scary.
63 Post contains images Ryu2 : Actually they speak English in Japan, even Japanese pilots -- at least listening to Channel 9 on United. Also Germany as well with German pilots. May
64 Post contains images Commavia : Yep. At least in my flights on AA, I have always gotten announcements in the route language when flying to non-English-speaking places. Be it Japan,
65 Mozart : Actually, in Switzerland we do this quite well, too. Whenever I go to some "official" place (train station, post office, Swiss, etc) I speak in Frenc
66 Post contains images BE77 : Having worked several years in outlying areas of Quebec, there are in fact some people who speak little or no English...but there are also more that
67 Daihatsu : I have flown on Westjet, Air Canada, Royal Airlines, Canada 3000, Ward Air, Canadian Airlines, Pacific Western, Canadian Pacific and Air Transat and I
68 GrahamHill : Considering all the tensions going on at the moment between Flemish and Walloons, I guess they don't handle it very well.
69 AC888YOW : It's not just the terminal controllers (who up until about 5 years ago were physically located in Ottawa but have since been moved to Montreal) that
70 Olympus69 : Statistically, the metropolitan area is listed as Ottawa-Hull, with Hull being the community across the river in Que. (Gatineau is down-river a bit.)
71 Post contains images EWRCabincrew : One non-teacher French speaking US citizen here. It can be. Also the longer you wait to learn, the harder it is. Personally (and it is a huge minorit
72 Post contains images UTA_flyinghigh : Even coming out/going into GVA, it's usually English first then French for LX. UTA
73 Post contains images Pnwtraveler : Since Hull had a bad image it is now known at Gatineau. Ottawa Gatineau. I believe there was some sort of municipal amalgamation that seems to be in
74 Post contains images B6MoneyGuyJFK : Well, I can say "I TRY". I took French in High School, and again took some French in college. (That was about 25 years ago.) While I am sure I butche
75 LH423 : Not quite. Bilingual flight attendants are required either in English and French OR English and a route language like Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Spa
76 FLYACYYZ : Most route languages on one flight would be YYZ/TLV/YYZ Ex YYZ : English/French/Hebrew/Arabic Ex TLV: Hebrew/Arabic/English/French On flights to Hong
77 Matt : Apart from Ontario's 500,000 Francophones, there are also close to 300,000 francophones in the province of New Brunswick (which represents about 35% o
78 Threepoint : That's reasonable grounds for renaming it 'earst.
79 Post contains images GrahamHill : Haha, I see you there making fun of the French accent . Fair play to you
80 Threepoint : Gentle fun, yes. With full admission that I leave francophones snickering in my wake whenever I speak French.
81 Post contains images LH423 : All in good fun (some of my best friends and Francophones). My personal favourite is the air/hair combo. Hair (like on your head) becomes "air" and a
82 Post contains images GrahamHill : I know, I know! Many of my Irish friends like to tease me on my accent as well . We do struggle with the "h". Same for the "th" (alternatively pronou
83 Ayqzbr : Which still begs the question as to why this only applies to AC when other Canadian based carriers have identical operations.
84 Multimark : No, that was AC. Jazz elected to give French training to all their unilingual FA's. Again, no. You don't have to speak French to be hired as an AC FA
85 AF340 : To what extent do you have to know? Is it totally fluent or a good understanding of the conversational aspects of the language? AF340
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