[np_storybar title=”Air Canada gets CAW backing on pension request” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2012/10/25/air-canada-gets-caw-backing-on-pension-request/”%5DThe Canadian Auto Workers union said on Thursday it would back Air Canada’s request to the Canadian government for further relief on funding its deep pension deficit, becoming the final union at the airline to give its blessing to the proposal.Read the full story. [/np_storybar]Air Canada’s pilots have selected new leaders to oversee the 3,000 member union, a few months after losing an arbitration ruling that imposed a new collective agreement with the country’s largest airline.Craig Blandford was elected president of the Air Canada Pilots Association and will replace Paul Strachan, whose two-year term ends Dec. 31.Geoff Wall was elected to complete the term of Jean-Marc Belanger as chairman of the association’s master executive council through 2013.Strachan and Belanger didn’t seek re-election, choosing instead to resume their flying careers.Chris Cox replaces Jon Webster as secretary-treasurer. His term ends in December 2014.Blandford joined Air Canada in 1998 following 20 years of service in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Newfoundland and Labrador native lives in Winnipeg.Wall also joined the airline in 1998 after flying military Sea King helicopters.A federal arbitrator chose Air Canada’s final offer in July over the one submitted by the pilots union, ending 19 months of negotiations between the two sides.The airline says the five-year collective agreement, effective until April 2016, gives it the flexibility it needs to compete. Among the key features are provisions that have allowed Air Canada to launch a low-cost carrier next year that will ramp up over time to 50 airplanes to service the leisure market.The association is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing the 3,000 pilots who operate Air Canada’s mainline fleet.