by Chris Loh | January 1, 2022
Continuing its slow recovery from the worst of the global health crisis, major Canadian airline Air Canada the growth of its fleet in 2021. Notably, this consisted of the addition of a number of Airbus A220-300s as well as several Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Let’s take a glance at where Air Canada’s fleet stands at the start of 2022.
Air Canada’s fleet composition at a glance
According to data from Planespotters.net, Air Canada has the following aircraft in its fleet. The quantities are noted alongside the type, with the change from last year’s report (published June 2021) in parentheses.
Aircraft from Airbus*:
- A220-300: 27 (+5)
- A320-200: 17 (-1)
- A321-200: 15 (no change)
- A330-300: 16 (no change)
*We should note that the airline ordered the A220 when it was still known as the Bombardier CSeries.
Aircraft from Boeing:
- 737 MAX 8: 31 (+7)
- 767-300BCF*: 3 (+3)
- 777-200LR: 6 (no change)
- 777-300ER: 18 (-1)
- 787-8: 8 (no change)
- 787-9: 29 (no change)
*One Air Canada 767-300 has completed its conversion from passenger to freighter. The remaining two are in the process of being converted.
Growing the short and medium-haul fleet
As you can see from the changes since our last Air Canada fleet report, the carrier has gained five Airbus A220-300s and seven Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
As noted previously, there was a little bit of a back-and-forth when the carrier announced it would be canceling some of its orders in November of 2020, which would have seen orders for 12 A220s and 10 737 MAX 8s axed. However, one condition of the Canadian government’s rescue package was that it would proceed with its planned orders for both aircraft types. As a result, the airline has nine 737 MAX 8s and 18 A220-300s still on the way.
Going big on cargo operations
One surprising standout number from our list was the “addition” of three Boeing 767-300s from last year. This change is, again, a bit of a back and forth. During the worst of the crisis, Air Canada had decided to retire its 767s.
However, cargo demand has been soaring amid increased eCommerce activity, decreased transportation capacity, and global supply chain snarls. These factors led the airline to convert its passenger 767s into full freighters, complete with a large door to handle containers on the main deck. Work was, and continues to be, done at IAI facilities in Tel Aviv.
It’s not just 767s and the bellies of passenger aircraft being used for cargo operations. At the time of this article’s publication, the carrier has four of its 16 A330-300s and seven of its 18 Boeing 777-300ERs operating as “preighters” (passenger freighters). These are passenger aircraft which have had their seats removed in order to accommodate freight. Making use of the fleet’s younger jets for reasons unknown, the airline was able to provide additional cargo capacity to Canada’s west coast, which had its main road and rail supply lines cut off from the rest of the country in November, due to extreme and extensive flooding.