Free LHR slots / assets are just one of the legacy advantages.
If the “cost” of such a legacy advantage is having to abide by more stringent language rules, as laid out in the Act, then so be it.
Have you ever wondered why Aeroplan points are not considered a taxable benefit when the points are earned as part of one’s job?
Most likely because the points have no defined monetary value. The real point value may differ wildly for different plan members. Also it would be so difficult to separate Aeroplan points earned on business travel from the points earned by personal travel and affiliated credit cards that its simply not worth it. Not to mention that there are many other employee perks that also aren't considered a taxable benefit.
No, I don't think the government is doing a special favour to AC in this case.
The points are worth at least what, for example, CIBC, pays Aeroplan per point. That’s not hard for the taxman to quantify.
Going forward, it also wouldn’t be hard to separate personal Aeroplan accounts from accounts with points earned from trips paid for by the employer and tax those points as a taxable benefit, no different than other benefits such as parking etc.
Make no mistake about it. It’s an advantage that has worked for the benefit of AC over a number of decades to lock in loyalty. Sure, others could have copied it , but never with the same burn opportunity. Personally, I’m always reticent to be bribed with my own money, but if it’s someone else’s....(which goes back to the taxable benefit issue). Seduced by the mile.
And make no mistake about it. It’s not going to change any time soon. There are gazillions of voters in places like Toronto and Montreal who use these benefits to underwrite their winter holidays in the sun.
Again, a quid pro quo of these little advantages AC has enjoyed over the years is that they are held to a different standard of bilingualism and other areas than the other airlines.
That being said, I can’t recall the last time I’ve flown on ANY airline domiciled in Canada where any and all required announcements were not in both official languages, and that includes WS since day one. Maybe not live, ie “Pierre in a can”, but always in English and French.
And back to the original topic, I’m pretty sure all airlines in Canada would be more than happy if the two “victims” would simply take the bus in the future.