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Outstanding Service Award

Air Canada's Heathrow-based customer services team honored

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eTN  Jun 05, 2008

OAG (Official Airline Guide) has announced that five members of Air Canada’s Heathrow-based Customer Services department have been awarded the Outstanding Service Award at the 26th OAG Airline Industry Awards held on Wednesday, June 4 at The Bloomsbury Ballroom in central London.

The Air Canada team, who received their award from Robert Atkinson, Air Canada’s General Manager UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, have helped make a real difference in the lives of young children living in South Africa by helping to refurbish a school.

“I am extremely proud of Air Canada’s Heathrow-based employees who took the initiative to pursue this worthy cause,” said Gary Cross, Air Canada’s General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at the Award ceremony. “Their dedication and can-do attitude is a lesson for us all in assisting children less fortunate than our own. I am equally proud of their colleagues who joined them in a team effort to show they care and make a positive difference to others.”

The project started after a chance remark from Peter Kemp, Air Canada’s General Manager for Customer Service about his sister’s involvement with a school in a South African township. This set his team leader,Fiona Puglia, into thinking about how she could help. Fiona and four colleagues – John Choules, Shabana Khokhar, Wayne Bernie and Ahjaz Osman – took the project to heart and decided to use a week of their holiday allowance to visit the school and offer practical help.

In January 2008 the Air Canada team set off for South Africa, funding the trip entirely from their own money. They took bags full of children’s clothes and toys. The team purchased supplies, carpets and tools and set to work. It wasn’t just cleaning that was needed; there were repairs to make inside and out, to ensure the children were safe and secure. HIV was also rife in the township and many of the children were orphaned because of AIDS.

Around 120 children, all under nine years old and many just babies, have been helped directly by the Air Canada team’s efforts in South Africa, and the team is planning a return trip in November to do more.

Air Canada’s Peter Kemp said, "I've lost count of how many employees have been involved in supporting this initiative, but needless to say I'm extremely proud of every one of them."

The annual “OAG Airline Industry Awards” sponsored by Boeing, celebrate the very best in global air travel and publicly recognizes the highest standards within the industry.

Air Canada's Heathrow-based customer services team honored

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