Thrilled to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel from my home away from home in beautiful Nova Scotia, alongside Elmer Kim and Natalie Kalata. Our discussion included thoughts on Air Canada’s flight schedule cuts, Canada’s latest economic numbers, and the Cineplex fee that has would be movie goers talking. You can watch our segment here, and below are some thoughts on our discussion.
The travel industry has been hard hit by the COVID19 pandemic and it’s not surprising that after more than two years, people are eager to get out and explore again. It has been well reported that many air travel entities are short staffed, including airports, security, and airlines, resulting in numerous delays and cancelled flights. Air Canada announced a schedule cut of approximately 15% of its Summer schedule, while Westjet proactively scaled back its own schedule. This is analogous to making the playing field smaller, in an attempt to achieve successful operating outcomes within a larger system that has been challenged and is not able to operate at full capacity. This situation is a good example of the many challenges of implementation, and businesses that face significant deviation from the plan can find themselves in a host of excess costs and resource drains in an attempt to recover. It will be interesting to see the degree of operating success that airlines are able to find over the Summer, as well as what the Fall might bring.
Canada’s economy experienced a slight decline in May, as preliminary numbers indicate that GDP fell by 0.2%. Although in contrast to earlier months, the recovery is not expected to be a straight line; ongoing monitoring is the approach that should be taken here. Of note, the housing market continues to cool, demonstrating that interest rate hikes have had an impact, and manufacturing and construction are sectors to watch, as staffing and supply chain issues are likely to continue to have an impact. The services sector is also one that suffered during the pandemic, and the relatively slow recovery could be a function of staffing concerns, but also consumer choice tradeoffs, as inflation continues to soar.
Cineplex’s new online ticket fee hasn’t impressed some movie goers, as the company says it plans to invest and evolve its digital infrastructure. Although the fee doesn’t apply to all ticket purchases, such as those bought in person at the box office, it seems to be a counterproductive move at a time when entertainment and events companies should be doing what they can to welcome customers back. It might not seem like a lot of money, but the reality is that consumers have a lot of choices, and once they are lost, it can be very difficult to get them to return. This is an important reason why business leaders should think carefully when making decisions that impact customers directly, as well as their company’s competitive position in the marketplace.
It’s been great to join from Canada’s Eastern shore; thanks for watching!