* CEO says cost cuts necessary for return to profit
* Says to push for C$500 million in savings
OTTAWA, Sept 17 The global airline sector will
need another 12 to 18 months to recover from the recession, Air
Canada ACa.TO ACb.TO Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said
in an interview published on Thursday.
Air Canada last month posted a big quarterly operating loss
and vowed to cut capacity and costs.
"The aviation sector is usually the first to feel the
efects of a recession and the last to escape it," Rovinescu
told La Presse newspaper.
"And for the moment, despite a slight recovery in cargo,
everything indicates that our sector will need another 12 to 18
months to start breathing normally again," he said.
The airline wants C$400 million ($380 million) in cost cuts
and C$100 million in "revenue enhancing" measures by 2011.
Rovinescu said Air Canada's operating costs were too great
when compared to major rivals such as WestJet (WJA.TO). The
cost cuts are necessary if Air Canada is to return to profit
"by the end of 2010 or 2011", he added.
"I'm going to push my people so that we can do better than
our objective of C$500 million (in savings) in two years," the
newspaper quoted him as saying.
Rovinescu also said Air Canada was considering whether to
return next year to Toronto's City Centre airport, which is
currently being used by privately held Porter Airlines. Air
Canada last operated out of the airport in 2006.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)