Air Canada & PCIAW® Uniform Solutions at APEX/IFSA Expo

Outfitting flight crews and ground staff in functional and professional uniforms is a major undertaking for airlines, and it’s important airlines have the opportunity to explore what the industry has to offer.

In this interview, Air Canada discusses how they spearheaded efforts to bring the first uniform exhibition to the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO in 2024, partnering with the Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide (PCIAW®) and Uniform Buyers Network (UBN), sharing insights into the challenges uniform buyers face and how the professional clothing industry can contribute to the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO.

What motivated Air Canada to work with PCIAW® and the UBN to bring professional clothing into APEX / IFSA Global EXPO and how did this project begin?

Air Canada recognized early on the lack of support offered to Uniform Buyers. While every other facet of the airline industry has a summit or conference dedicated to bringing suppliers and end-users together, uniform buyers were left out. So, we started lobbying APEX to include a section for Uniform Buyers in 2018. However, it took getting the PCIAW® and the UBN involved before we were able to get any traction for the idea.  

How will the PCIAW® co-located exhibition enhance the one-stop-shop offering of the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO for airline and aviation professional clothing buyers?  

Having the uniform exhibition as part of APEX/IFSA completes the full airline experience picture. Now, every aspect of the industry will be represented at the summit.

As a uniform buyer, how has working in the UBN and PCIAW® helped Air Canada achieve specific goals in your professional clothing programs?

Being involved with the UBN and attending the PCIAW Summits have helped us gain much-needed insight into upcoming regulations, and innovations in textile, sizing and design products and have introduced us to wonderful people from every facet of the industry. Additionally, we have been able to meet other uniform buyers from diverse organizations who all share similar concerns and issues. It has been very helpful seeing that we are not alone and we now have other uniform buyers with whom we can benchmark, bounce ideas off of and simply talk to if we need feedback on a particular topic.

What scope of solutions are airline professional clothing buyers looking for – cabin crew uniforms to ground crew protective clothing, plus fabrics and PPE from head to toe?  

Airline uniform buyers need every kind of uniform available – from PPE to formal suiting. Given the range of job functions we need to outfit, we need solutions for everything from finding proper predictive sizing solutions to offering a range of protective footwear to ensuring our professional clothing is also functional and durable.

What are the biggest challenges that Air Canada faces in uniform programs that you hope can be solved by networking with exhibitors at APEX / IFSA Global EXPO 2024?  

Our biggest challenge is finding ways to reduce our footprint. We recognize that uniforms contribute large amounts of textile waste to landfill each year and, while we have created programs to reclaim/redistribute and/or recycle end-of-life uniforms, we are still only scratching the surface of what needs to be done.  

PCIAW Uniform Networks Buyer, Trusted member