Air Canada’s Fleet In 2021

From Simple Flying – link to source story

As Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada has a diverse fleet based across its four hub airports. The network airline has a mix of both widebody and narrowbody aircraft coming from both Airbus and Boeing. The carrier has gone through some changes in the past few years, with more significant upheaval taking place during the global health crisis. Let’s take a look at Air Canada’s fleet as it stands in 2021.

The Boeing 787 is Air Canada’s flagship aircraft. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s fleet composition

According to data from Planespotters.net, Air Canada has the following aircraft in its fleet. The quantities are noted in parentheses.

Aircraft from Airbus*:
  • A220-300 (22)
  • A320 (18)
  • A321 (15)
  • A330-300 (16)

*We should note that the airline ordered the A220 when it was still known as the Bombardier CSeries.

Aircraft from Boeing:
  • 737 MAX 8 (24)
  • 777-200LR (6)
  • 777-300ER (19)
  • 787-8 (8)
  • 787-9 (29)
The average age of Air Canada’s A330-300s is 16 years. Photo: Air Canada

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Outside of regular passenger service

There are aircraft within the Air Canada fleet that are outside of the airline’s passenger operations.

Notably, we have the airline’s private/charter subbrand, Air Canada Jetz. This sub-group consists of four Airbus A319s. This fleet traditionally consisted of three A319s, but it appears a fourth was added in December 2020.

Used to transport touring musicians, sports teams, or private groups, these aircraft have an all-business configuration of 58 seats. With the exception of a short pandemic run, these aircraft tend to stay out of Air Canada’s regular passenger operations.

The Jetz jets flew an all-business-class service during the Winter of 2020 but are typically reserved for special charter operations. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia Commons 

As we will mention further in this article, Air Canada retired its 767s at the start of the health crisis. However, some of these are slated for a full conversion to freighters. The airline says that two freighters are expected to be in service in time for this year’s fourth-quarter peak airfreight season.

With seven 767s on the list for conversion, it looks like the remaining five will be converted next year, in 2022. This was confirmed by the carrier’s current Chief Financial Officer and future Chief Executive during the earnings call in which Simple Flying attended:

“We’d love to have all seven up and operating by the end of next year. These are typically little bit of a longer process and slots are not really available, but we are certainly working on having all seven up and running by Q4 of next year.” – Michael Rousseau, Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada

Coming and going

On the outgoing side of things, it was in May 2020 that Air Canada announced the early retirement of 79 aircraft. 

Retirements included five 767-300ERs, 16 A319s, and 14 E190s in the mainline fleet. Another 25 767-300ERs and 22 A319s that made up Air Canada Rouge were also retired.

Air Canada took delivery of its first A220 back in January 2020. Photo: Air Canada

Looking at future aircraft, Air Canada has a decent number of Boeing 737 MAX 8s and Airbus A220-300s yet to be delivered. There was a little bit of a back-and-forth when the carrier announced it would be canceling some of its orders last November. The plan would have seen the airline cancel orders for 12 A220s and 10 737 MAX 8s.

However, one condition of the carrier’s government rescue package was that it would proceed with its planned orders for both aircraft types. As it stands, 16 737 MAX 8s and 23 A220-300s are still on the way.

As you can see from the list of aircraft, Air Canada has a fairly diverse fleet- which is quite typical of a large network carrier that operates both short-haul and intercontinental service.

Flair Airlines Begins Service with the First of 13 New Boeing 737-8 Aircraft

The growing ULCC starts passenger service with inaugural flight from Edmonton to Toronto

EDMONTON, Alberta, June 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), begins service today with the first of 13 new Boeing 737-8 aircraft joining the fleet as the airline begins rapid growth to provide affordable, low fare air travel to 19 Canadian destinations.

“Today marks a huge milestone as Flair grows to bring affordable travel options to more Canadians,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Canadians have been paying too much for too long, and Flair is changing that thanks to the addition of the new 737-8 aircraft which provide us the efficiencies and ability to scale our service. Today’s inaugural flight kicks off our rapid growth.”

The inaugural flight of Flair’s first new 737-8 will depart Edmonton at 5:30pm MT and arrive in Toronto at 11:20 pm ET. Piloting the inaugural flight will be two veteran leaders at Flair: Captain Matt Kunz, Vice President, Business Transformation and Operations, and Captain Harold Knop, Regulatory Compliance and Certification Manager.

The new aircraft allow Flair to achieve the lowest cost per seat mile of any Canadian airline. The aircraft will deliver fuel savings and cut the airline’s CO2 emissions by 14%. Lower per passenger emissions are a vital step in lowering Flair’s carbon footprint as it works to become Canada’s greenest and most sustainable airline.

Flair’s pilots, maintenance professionals, flight attendants and safety officers have been conducting extensive testing and training programs to prepare for the addition of the new aircraft. Flair’s team has been working closely with Boeing and been on-site throughout the testing and delivery phase of each aircraft.

Flair began taking delivery of the 13 new aircraft in May. The 737-8 aircraft are joining Flair’s existing fleet of 737-800 aircraft and deliveries continue throughout 2021. By the middle of next year, Flair will have a fleet of 16 aircraft and be well on the way to achieving its “F50” ambition of growing to 50 planes within five years.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com

What Airlines Still Fly Boeing 737 Combis? Canada istopping the list!

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Linnea Ahlgren | May 25, 2021

While the past year has seen the rise of the ‘preighter’, cargo-passenger combination aircraft have slowly declined. With a history spanning over half a century, how many Boeing 737 Combi airplanes are still active in the skies today?

Air Inuit 737 Combi
Most civilian 737 Combis still in operation are flying to remote locations in the north of Canada. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

The Boeing 737 was the world’s best-selling aircraft for decades before the Airbus A320 overtook it in total orders in November 2019. It was the first commercial jet ever to surpass the 10,000 milestone in 2012, and as of April 2021, Boeing had received a total of 14,693 orders for the 737 family.

Boeing also offered a few of its versions in a combi variant. The plane maker produced a total of 125 of the 737-200C, 737-300C, 737-400C, and eventually the 737-700C. However, only a handful of operators of the Boeing 737 Combi remain.

Government missions

According to data retrieved from the ch-aviation database, 13 carriers are operating a total of 36 active Boeing 737 Combi aircraft. Nearly half of these, all 737-700Cs, are the military version known as the Boeing C-40 Clipper and operated by the United States Navy.

Another two, both Boeing 737-400Cs approaching 32 years old, are in the care of the United States National Nuclear Security Administration, a federal agency ‘responsible for safeguarding national security through the military application of nuclear science’.

Chrono Aviation 737 Combi
Chrono Aviation operates a 737-200C. Photo: Airline12 via Wikimedia Commons

Canada topping the list

The remaining 19 Boeing 737 Combis are in service with carriers operating in remote locations, the majority of them located in Canada. With its main base at Kujjuaq Airport in Quebec, Air Inuit has three active 737-200Cs in its fleet, all close to or just over 40 years. Air Inuit operates domestic services to Labrador, Nunavik, and Nunavut.

Canadian North operates one 737-200C and two 737-400Cs. It acquired the latter two when merging with First Air in November 2019. The holly Inuit-owned airline also operates scheduled passenger services to communities in the Northwest Territories, Nunavik, and Nunavut, with a slogan reading ‘Fly the Arctic’.

Charter airline Chrono Aviation, based out of Québec City International Airport, also has a 38-year-old 737-200C in its fleet. Two Combi 737-200s are also deployed by Canadian commodities corporation Glencore.

Meanwhile, Montreal-based charter carrier Nolinor is still operating as many as four 737-200 Combi aircraft. Two are just over four decades old. However, one has passed the 45 mark, while another is still just over 36. The youngest of the group is a 737-200QC, which allows for conversion for either 130 passengers or a combination of passengers and cargo.

Canadian North 737 combi
Canadian North operates three 737 combis, two of which it inherited from the merger with First Air. Photo: Gordon Leggett via Wikimedia Commons

In service of the UN

In other parts of the world, Philippino leisure carrier SEAir International owns one active 737-200C, delivered just this January after a 40-year long history with FedEx, Alaska Airlines, and South African carriers Bionic Aviation and Fair Aviation.

Meanwhile, in Africa, Aviatrade Congo still operates a 737-200C over half a century of age. A younger model, a 28-year-old 737-400C, is owned by South African Safair but leased to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service.

January 2020 runway overrun in Halifax, Nova Scotia highlights longstanding TSB Watchlist issue

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 20 May 2021 – In its investigation report (A20A0001) released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found that changing runways without recalculating the landing distance required based on the changes in wind and runway surface conditions, led to a runway overrun in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2020.

On 5 January 2020, a WestJet Boeing 737-8CT aircraft was conducting flight WJA248 from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, to Halifax/Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia, with 172 passengers and six crew members on board. The flight crew had originally planned to conduct an approach for Runway 05. However, due to a lowering ceiling and reduced visibility, the crew requested to change to the Runway 14 instrument landing system approach, which allows for landing with lower minimum ceiling and visibility requirements than the approach to Runway 05. The aircraft then touched down with a tailwind component on the wet, snow-covered runway. The aircraft could not be stopped and it overran the end of Runway 14, coming to rest in snow with the nose wheel approximately 91m beyond the runway end. There were no injuries and no damage to the aircraft.

The investigation found that, while preparing for the runway change, the flight crew mentally assessed that the head wind for Runway 05 would become a crosswind for Runway 14. As a result, they did not recalculate the effects of the wind for the approach to Runway 14, but rather considered that the landing distance and the target approach speed calculated for Runway 05 were still appropriate. However, the reported wind speed and direction changed as the flight progressed, resulting in a tailwind component that exceeded the operator’s limitation, a lower required approach speed, and a landing distance that exceeded the runway length available. None of this was recognized by the flight crew and, as a result, they continued the approach to Runway 14. The unchanged target approach speed combined with the tailwind component resulted in the aircraft touching down at a faster groundspeed, thus requiring a longer stopping distance. The wet snow contamination on the runway reduced braking effectiveness, which also contributed to an increase in landing distance.

Runway overruns have been on the TSB Watchlist since 2010. When a runway overrun occurs during landing, it is important that the aircraft have an adequate safety area beyond the end of the runway to reduce adverse consequences. In this occurrence, the aircraft stopped within the 150m runway end safety area, which meets current international standards.

Following the occurrence, WestJet highlighted to its pilot group the importance of using the actual runway intended for landing when making pre-landing performance calculations. The company also revised its emergency response checklist to include the requirement to pull the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder circuit breakers after an incident, and is now monitoring for landings that exceed the maximum tailwind component in its flight data monitoring program.

See the investigation page for more information.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Air Canada Supports India Relief Efforts by Transporting Critical COVID-19 Medical Supplies

Cargo-only flight to ship ventilators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators and PPE to Delhi

MONTREAL, May 18, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it is supporting India relief efforts in collaboration with the Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) and the Government of Ontario by operating a cargo-only flight to Delhi, providing urgent medical supplies to the Indian population which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all deeply saddened by the devastating situation in India, and no one can remain indifferent to what is happening now in that part of the world,” said Jason Berry, Vice-President, Cargo at Air Canada. “When flights to India were suspended on April 22, the movement of essential goods between the two countries was also halted. Today, with this exceptional cargo-only flight, we are grateful to be able to help and contribute to these relief efforts by shipping critical medical supplies. We worked closely with the Toronto Business Development Centre and the Government of Ontario to ensure timely support, in solidarity with the affected communities.”

Air Canada

“We share a strong and deep relationship with India, and we stand with its people and frontline workers during these difficult times. India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and has so far shipped over 66 million doses around the globe. We invite the global community to help them fight the pandemic because unless everyone is safe, no one is safe.” Vikram Khurana, Chairman Toronto Business Development Centre.

An Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will operate a cargo-only flight today with 40 tons of essential supplies from Toronto Pearson Airport to Delhi. The freight includes critical medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Air Canada will also be carrying 100 ventilators donated recently by the Saskatchewan Government.

The medical equipment donated by government agencies and partners is new and these supplies will be consigned to the Red Cross upon arrival in India.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2020, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Boeing 737 Classic Operator Canadian North Wants Three -700s

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Sumit Singh | May 12, 2021

Canadian North president and CEO Chris Avery has shared that his airline is expecting three Boeing 737-700 aircraft this summer. The carrier plays a crucial role in serving communities across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It is now looking to make the most of the unexpected opportunities brought about by the pandemic by upgrading its fleet.

Canadian North 737-300
The company is a wholly Inuit-owned airline based in Kanata, Ontario. Photo: Canadian North

Overcoming the challenges

Boeing 737s make up the biggest portion of Canadian North’s fleet. The airline has a mix of -200, 200C -300, -300(QC), -400, and -400C aircraft in its holdings. Despite the diverse range of 15 737s, the carrier is interested in upgrading to meet its sustainability and efficiency targets.

In a talk with CAPA Live, Avery highlights that the industry conditions before the pandemic made it a challenge for his airline to get hold of an aircraft such as the 737-700. The 737 MAX was grounded, and passenger demand was at an all-time high across the continents. So, getting hold of a -700 at a reasonable price was, understandably, a tough task.

Moreover, the regions that Canadian North serves generally have low populations. As Avery explains it, adding another flight to Clyde River is not the same as providing an extra service to Las Vegas. Therefore, the carrier has to be more reserved with its fleet renewals.

Canadian North Aircraft
Avery emphasizes that the communities that his airline reaches see the impact of climate change first hand. Photo: Canadian North

Ready to take the leap

Nonetheless, the pandemic caused a significant shift amid the downturn in passenger activity. So, the situation is allowing for the operator to transition.Advertisement:

“Getting hold of 737 NG aircraft was cost-prohibitive for us because our scheduled business is reliant on low utilization … We also have a sizable charter business in the West, specializing in workforce movement for the oil sands, and more recently, liquefied natural gas work in northern BC. And again, that’s low utilization flying because we’re flying for the customers when they want,” Avery told CAPA Live.

“… but because of COVID, we’re now able to access next-generation 737 aircraft at lower ownership costs, which are more fuel-efficient and better for the environment than the classic aircraft that we operate. So, we’re moving up the chain and moving up to more fuel-efficient aircraft.”Advertisement:

KLM Boeing 737-700
The 737-700 is a favorite in the industry. Photo: KLM

Keeping in communication

Canadian North also holds 13 ATR 42s. It also has a British Aerospace BAe 146, which it inherited from First Air. These turboprops are praised by airlines working in remote areas for their ability to take off and land in tough conditions.

Altogether, the airline in talks with ATR and Boeing about further renewing the fleet. The two manufacturers understand the economics of the airline. So, after the parties conclude on the right solution in the next chapter, there may be further additions this decade. Until then, Canadian North will be looking to put the 737 NG’s promoted superior, efficiency, reliability, and high-value returns to the test.

Canadian North to phase out jet service to western Nunavut hubs

From Nunatsiaq News – link to source story

Boeing 737-200 jets to be replaced by turbo-props

Canadian North plans to retire its two Boeing 737-200 Combis, which can land on gravel runways where other similarly sized jets can’t. (File photo)

By  Jane George | 29 April 2021

Canadian North plans to end its jet service to Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk because these two communities’ runways are not paved.

The airline’s two Boeing 737-200 jets that can land on gravel are nearing the end of their lives.

“To extend [their lifetimes] further would require prohibitively expensive capital investments,” said Andrew Pope, the airline’s vice-president, customer and commercial.

“Our intention is to instead invest those funds into new aircraft acquisitions to support our entire network, including the Kitikmeot region.”

The first 737-200 will be retired in May and the second will be retired as early as 2022.

Once that happens, Canadian North plans to use a new ATR42-500 turbo-prop aircraft for its service to the Kitikmeot. The airline will use a different, unspecified plane for cargo.

Turbo-prop aircraft may be slower than jet aircraft, he said, but the flights will only be around 20 minutes longer.

Ticket prices or cargo rates for the Kitikmeot region will not rise after the change in aircraft, Pope said.

Air Canada Eyes The A321LR As More A220s Set To Be Delivered

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Jake Hardiman | May 7, 2021

While Air Canada does fly the Boeing 737 MAX series, most of its narrowbody aircraft belong to Airbus families. These include the five-abreast A220 series, of which the airline is set to receive a further 15 examples by the end of 2022. Interestingly, the Canadian flag carrier has also revealed an interest in Airbus’s long-range A321LR model.

Air Canada Airbus A220
The A220 has become popular among Air Canada’s passengers. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Four A220s delivered in Q1

Air Canada announced today at its first-quarter earnings call that it has continued its short-haul fleet modernization despite the industry’s present challenges. The Airbus A220 is leading the way in this regeneration, with Air Canada favoring the A220-300 variant.

This next-generation narrowbody has won favor among both employees and passengers for its enhanced efficiency and comfort levels. According to Planespotters.net, Air Canada presently has 19 137-seat A220-300s in its fleet, of which 17 are active. Of these, more than 20% arrived in Q1 of 2021. Indeed, the airline confirmed on the aforementioned call that “we took delivery of four Airbus A220 aircraft in the first quarter.”

Air Canada TCA A220 Retrojet
C-GNBN sports a stunning retro TCA livery. Photo: Air Canada

These four first-quarter arrivals came in the form of the following aircraft.

Next 15 deliveries also secured

The introduction of the A220 has played a significant role in the regeneration of Air Canada’s short-haul fleet. The type will replace its remaining A319s, which have an average age of 24 years. Amid the pandemic, it has not been unusual to see carriers defer orders. However, regarding its remaining A220s, the airline confirmed that:Advertisement:

“In March 2021, Air Canada concluded a committed secured facility totaling US$475 million to finance the purchase of the next 15 Airbus A220 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2022.”

Air Canada A220
Air Canada will receive its remaining A220s by the end of 2022. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Potentially a place for the A321LR as well

In the longer term, Air Canada will be hoping that it can resume its longer-haul services to transatlantic destinations such as the UK and mainland Europe. However, ongoing uncertainty remains regarding different countries’ restrictions and vaccination rates.

As such, it may not see the demand levels that it had become accustomed to before coronavirus. With this in mind, the airline is open to trying new aircraft types in order to adapt to market fluctuations. For example, it stated that:Advertisement:

We’ve done a pretty good job covering ourselves for growth beyond our expectations, but certainly also for even further fine tuning. (…) That gives us the opportunity to then potentially step into new types of aircraft. Like the A321LRs, for example, that we like, and that certainly have a potential place in Air Canada’s fleet as we go forward.

Air Transat Airbus A321
Air Transat operates both first-generation (pictured) and ‘neo’ variants of the A321, including the latter’s ‘LR’ version. Will Air Canada follow suit in this respect?  Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Of course, the carrier would not be the first Canadian airline to deploy this long-range version of the Airbus A321neo series. Indeed, Air Transat, whose merger with Air Canada was recently canceled, has operated the type since 2019. Last October, Air Transat even set the record for the world’s longest flight using the aircraft.

This saw it fly non-stop from Montréal, Canada to Athens, Greece. This represented an impressive distance of 7,600 km (4,100 NM), although it has since been beaten by Azores Airlines. Nonetheless, with the aircraft being an ideal fit for ‘long thin’ transatlantic markets, Air Canada’s interest is understandable. 

Inaccurate Airborne Status Transmitted by Transponders and its Effect on Runway Monitoring and Conflict Alert Systems – Civil Aviation Safety Alert

Transport Canada

Purpose:

The purpose of this Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is to raise awareness to aircraft owners, operators and Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSP) on an issue related to operation of aircraft equipped with the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system transponders.

Background:

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) recently advised Transport Canada of an occurrence at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport (CYYZ) where immediately following a rejected takeoff, an Embraer 190 (E190) equipped with a Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system transponder incorrectly transmitted that the aircraft was in airborne status but remained on the runway.

A second aircraft, a Boeing 777-300 (B777) readying for take-off had been issued a take-off clearance while the E190 remained on the runway. Although the E190 flight crew made a radio call to the tower that they were aborting the takeoff, at the same time the B777 read back its take-off clearance on the same control tower frequency and commenced its take-off roll. The simultaneous radio transmissions went undetected and neither air traffic control nor the B777 flight crew heard the abort radio call of the E190.

Immediately after beginning its take-off roll the B777 flight crew observed that the E190 was still on the runway and initiated a rejected takeoff. The B777 came to within 3800 feet from the E190.

In the initial assessment in its investigation (TSB investigation A20O0029) the TSB has found that the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system in the E190 uses software logic that determines the aircraft to be airborne when the aircraft’s indicated airspeed exceeds 50 knots. The result being that the aircraft transponder may transmit that the aircraft is airborne when the aircraft may still be on the ground.

Additionally, the runway incursion monitoring and conflict alert system (RIMCAS) used by the air navigation service provider (ANSP) at CYYZ was configured to use data from the aircraft’s transponder transmission as the primary indication that an aircraft had become airborne. Therefore when the E190 exceeded 50 knots on its departure roll, the RIMCAS identified the aircraft as airborne even though it was not. As a result of this system logic, the RIMCAS did not detect a conflict when the B777 began its take-off roll, and did not issue an alert until well after both aircraft had initiated their respective rejected-takeoff procedures and decelerated.

In December 2020, NAV CANADA published an Urgent ATC Information Bulletin for all Toronto Tower personnel. The bulletin cautioned controllers that RIMCAS Stage 1 and Stage 2 alerts may not be generated when Embraer E-jets and some aircraft manufactured by Dassault, Gulfstream, Learjet, and Textron Aviation (formerly Cessna) are departing. The bulletin also advised that Stage 1 and Stage 2 alerts may not be produced for aircraft or vehicles approaching the active runway when one of these aircraft types is departing, and controllers were reminded to monitor these situations closely. NAV CANADA is investigating options for RIMCAS software mitigations.

Transport Canada is in the process of communicating with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to address the current software logic to identify aircraft airborne status. Additionally, Transport Canada is in the process of communicating with applicable ANSP who have similar RIMCAS that could yield a comparable outcome with aircraft with similarly configured transponders.

Recommended action

  1. Air operators currently operating aircraft equipped with Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system should provide the information found in this CASA to staff and/or flight crew as a means of awareness.