New Year Prospects: Air Canada’s Fleet In 2022

From Simple Flying – link to source story

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.

B737_Max_8_Water-1538
It appears that Air Canada took delivery of seven Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft during the 2nd half of 2021. Photo: Air Canada

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.

B777-300ER-4
It appears that one Boeing 777-300ER left the fleet. Photo: Air Canada

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.

A220-300-2
The airline continues to grow its A220 and 737 numbers. Photo: Air Canada

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.

Canada Jetlines Receives First A320-200 Aircraft from Jackson Square Aviation

TORONTO, ON, Dec. 27, 2021 – Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (NEO: CJET) (“Canada Jetlines”) is thrilled to announce the delivery of its first A320-200 aircraft from Jackson Square Aviation, a leading global commercial aircraft lessor, offering customized fleet solutions and proactive services. With a projected growth of 15 aircrafts by 2025, Canada Jetlines aims to offer the best-in-class operating economics, efficient aircraft design, and accessible flight options without sacrificing quality or convenience. 

The newly established all-Canadian carrier will provide convenient air travel options offering more value and travel choices than competitors to coveted sun-destinations, with launch slated for Spring of 2022.

“This is a milestone day for our team as we get to witness the inception of our branded fleet, with the delivery of our first aircraft,” shared Brad Warren, VP Maintenance Operations for Canada Jetlines. “We have collectively been building towards this moment and we couldn’t be happier to partner with Jackson Square Aviation as we prepare for take-off early next year.”

“We are excited to be a part of Canada Jetlines journey to launch operations as Canada’s newest charter airline, and are delighted to welcome the airline as our newest customer,” said John Yanney, JSA Head of Americas Marketing & OEM Relations. He added, “We look forward to developing a long-term partnership with Canada Jetlines as the airline begins to flourish and build upon its future successes as they commence flying in 2022.”

Please visit www.jetlines.com to sign up for email updates and follow on all social media platforms to join the Jetlines family.

About Canada Jetlines
Canada Jetlines is a well-capitalized leisure focused carrier, utilizing a growing fleet of Airbus320 aircraft starting in early 2022, subject to Transport Canada approval. The carrier was created to provide Canadian consumers with more value choices and travel options to fly to coveted sun and leisure destinations in the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. With a projected growth of 15 aircrafts by 2025, Canada Jetlines aims to offer the best-in-class operating economics, customer comfort and fly-by-wire technology, providing an elevated guest centric experience from the first touchpoint. The efficient aircraft design merged with the experience of the all-Canadian management team, allows for accessible flight options without sacrificing quality or convenience. The carrier will use a state-of-the-art web booking platform, making the turnkey solution available to Travel Agents, Tour Operators, and consumers, with the capability of generating revenue on reservations and ancillary sales. We aim to provide more revenue opportunities to express our gratitude to current and future agent partners and all the work that they do. We look forward to working with you to create memorable travel experiences for consumers. To learn more, please visit www.jetlines.com and follow on all social media platforms for news and updates.  

All Airbus: Air Canada Rouge Goes Full Narrowbody

From Simply Flying – link to source story – Thanks CW

by James Pearson | September 20, 2021

Air Canada Rouge, the lower-cost subsidiary and leisure airline of the Canadian flag carrier, took to the skies again in September. With the B767-300ER gone, its 39-strong fleet is now exclusively Airbus. They’re used on 60 routes until the end of the year as it rebuilds its network.

C-FJOK_Air_Canada_Rouge_Airbus_A321-211
The A321 is crucial to Air Canada Rouge, with this example delivered directly to the carrier in 2015. Photo: Liam Allport via Flickr.

Air Canada Rouge has resumed flying

Air Canada Rouge relaunched with an initial three routes from Toronto: Las Vegas, Orlando, and Regina, in the distant province of Saskatchewan. These were joined by Toronto to Cancun and Tampa a few days later, with all five routes using 200-seat A321ceos.

These were its first flights since February, with the seven-month grounding due to Canada’s non-essential travel ban and the suspension of all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico – two of its essential markets – at the request of the Canadian government. Rouge’s resumption coincided with Canada reopening its borders on September 7th to fully vaccinated foreigners.

Air Canada Rouge A321
Most international routes are by the A321 with stronger economics than the A319/A320. Remember, it is a lower-cost airline, i.e. about the cost of production rather than fares. Photo: Air Canada.

Now exclusively Airbus

Rouge’s fleet is now entirely narrowbody, ch-aviation.com shows, with 20 A319s, 14 A321s, and just five A320s. This follows the retirement of its B767-300ERs, of which it had 25 at one point.

Its 767s were, of course, mainly used long-haul, including across Europe and South America, and the type’s routes had an average of 2,378 miles, OAG indicates. At 5,063 miles, Toronto-Athens was its longest-ever 767 route, but Toronto to Las Vegas had the most flights.

Air Canada Rouge A319
Air Canada Rouge has 20 A319s, with an average age of 23.5 years. Photo: Air Canada.

Currently, five aircraft are active

According to Planespotters.net and confirmed by Flightradar24, only five of its 39-strong fleet – some 13% – is currently active, all A321s. Its A321 fleet has an average age of just 6.1 years, far younger than its A319s (23.5 years; to be retired) and A320s (14.2 years). The younger A321s were delivered directly to Air Canada Rouge.

No widebodies go hand-in-hand with Rouge previously saying that it’ll concentrate on routes within narrowbody range. Air Canada will instead operate suitably good-performing long-haul routes – many have already switched – in a rejigging of networks and focusing on relative strengths.

One of many examples is Toronto to Edinburgh, which was by Rouge’s 767s and from 2022 will instead be by its parent’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s from June 1st. It’ll compete directly with WestJet. Another: Toronto to Bogota, in Rouge’s hands from 2016, is now by Air Canada’s B787s and A330-300s.

Air Canada Rouge
Air Canada Rouge had up to 25 B767-300ERs. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

What’s the plan to the end of the year?

Between September 20th and December 31st, Rouge has scheduled 60 routes. Thirty-nine of these are to/from Toronto, with most of the rest from Montreal. With over 2,700 outbound flights planned, the domestic market has almost four in ten departures, comprising eight routes from Toronto.

Air Canada Rouge's network Sept 1st to Dec 31st
This is Air Canada Rouge’s network between September 20th and December 31st. Image: OAG Mapper.

Toronto to Québec City has the most flights

Some 13 international countries will welcome Rouge’s flights, with the US the most-served, followed by Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. Toronto to Miami has the most international flights, as shown below, although the 456-mile domestic link from Toronto to Québec City (YQB) is the most-served, with 28 weekly departures from November.

  1. Toronto-Québec City
  2. Toronto-Moncton
  3. Toronto-Thunder Bay
  4. Toronto-Miami
  5. Toronto-Las Vegas
  6. Toronto-Tampa
  7. Toronto-Fort Myers
  8. Toronto-Fredericton
  9. Montreal-Orlando
  10. Montreal-Miami

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.

Ignition risk spurs order to replace older A320s’ fuel pumps

From Flight Global – link to source story

By David Kaminski-Morrow | 23 April 2021

Operators of older Airbus A320-family jets are being urgently ordered to replace certain fuel-pump components over concerns about potential ignition sources.

As a result of a quality inspection, says the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the locking key of the impeller drive shaft was found to be loose in a cavity beneath the impeller.

EASA says that, if the pump was operated while not fully-immersed in fuel, it could pose an ignition risk within the fuel tank – potentially resulting in an explosion.

It has published an emergency directive prohibiting particular maintenance-related actions which would involve using the pumps – such as engine ground runs, fuel transfer, or taxiing – until the parts are replaced.

EASA says the replacement of parts must take place within 10 days or 50 cycles.

It says the directive only affects A320-family aircraft manufactured after 30 June 2015, as long as no relevant affected part has since been fitted.

A320-c-Airbus
Source: Airbus

Opinion: The Boeing 737 MAX remains a risky ride

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

BRIAN A. BARSKY CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL | JANUARY 21, 2021

A Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft lands during an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, on Sept. 30, 2020.LINDSEY WASSON/REUTERS

Brian A. Barsky is Professor of the Graduate School in the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a Warren and Marjorie Minner Faculty Fellow in Engineering Ethics and Professional/Social Responsibility and Emeritus Professor of Computer Science. He has been teaching a course since August, 2019, at UC Berkeley on “Boeing 737 MAX: Money, Machines, and Morals in Conflict.” He is writing from Montreal.

Less than a week after Omar Alghabra was appointed Minister of Transport, he has put the safety of the flying public in jeopardy by returning the unsafe Boeing 737 Max to Canadian airspace. Could this be related to the fact that Air Canada and WestJet have dozens of these airplanes in their fleets and more on order? Mr. Alghabra’s assertion that all safety issues have been addressed rings hollows because it misses the elephant-sized jet engine in the room: The Boeing 737 Max has ill-positioned engines, situated too far forward on the wings, a design that causes unstable flight.

More precisely, this engine configuration effectively behaves like an extra forward wing and creates unwanted additional lift. The lift causes the airplane to rotate about its centre of gravity, located far behind the engines. This rotation results in the nose pitching up, impeding level flight. This can lead to an aerodynamic stall, in which the airplane can no longer stay aloft.

Boeing’s newest model, the 737 Max, suffered two fatal crashes with similar characteristics within five months of each other during its short 22 months of commercial flight before it was grounded worldwide in March, 2019. The crash rate (crashes per million flight miles) of the 737 Max is 44 times higher than that of the 737-600/700/800/900 series.

Transport Canada announced that it is imposing “unique Canadian” measures in addition to those recently mandated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its recertification of the 737 Max. Canada’s measures include enforcing safety standards for physical separation of wiring, putting colour caps on circuit breakers, requiring that a vital warning light not be an extra-cost option, ensuring maintenance, increasing training for the flight crew and updating software. Although such improvements are laudable, this airplane cannot be rendered safe merely by remedying some glaring issues which never should have escaped notice in the first place.

The software in question is the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, known asMCAS. The raison d’être of MCAS is to counteract the tendency of the 737 Max to pitch up. The system was developed to activate automatically and control flight if it detects that the wing is tilted too much relative to the airflow direction (known as angle of attack, or AOA).

It is indeed mind boggling that MCAS was developed to take input from only a single AOA sensor, even though there are two on board – one on either side of the nose. These angle of attack sensors are just little weather vanes, which can be easily become faulty. MCAS did not validate the basic plausibility of incoming data before it wrested control away from the pilots in both crashes.

But more important is to question why MCAS should exist at all on the 737 Max. No other commercial passenger airplane has similar software; rather, they fly level without it because their physical designs adhere to fundamental aerodynamic principles.

The FAA ungrounding directives retain MCAS, but with several modifications. It will now take input from both onboard sensors. If a fault is detected, such as a discrepancy between the two sensors, MCAS will be shut down for the entire remainder of the flight. Unfortunately, the directives stop short of requiring a third sensor which could provide valuable information in the case of disparate sensor readings. The competing Airbus A320neo has a third sensor in the tail of the airplane, even though Airbus doesnot use a dangerous software system like MCAS. Note that with such a shutdown there would then be no MCAS available to assist the pilots should a pitch-up situation arise.

Because accidents are often the result of multiple simultaneous problems, some other failure occurring while MCAS is not operating could spell disaster.

Although Boeing claims pitch-up rarely occurs, the FAA has not released information to substantiate this assertion, raising questions about the existence of data or the possibility that the assertion is an exaggeration and that unstable flight could actually be a more frequent occurrence.

The ungrounding decision of the FAA is based on secret data and testing. Flyers Rights, the largest nonprofit airline consumer organization, filed a U.S. Federal Freedom of Information Act request. However, the FAA’s arrogant response was to provide documents from Boeing that have page after page completely blacked out.

When Transport Canada originally certified the 737 Max in 2017, it did so by relying on information provided by the FAA. But that information failed to disclose the existence of MCAS which subsequently figured prominently in both crashes. Transport Canada had put its trust in the FAA, but that turned out to be dead wrong, costing 346 lives.

Unfortunately, the FAA is far from the objective watchdog that it should be. It surrendered its regulatory authority to the business world in what economists call “regulatory capture.” Specifically, the FAA relinquished direct oversight of much of the certification process to Boeing management in 2005 under the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program.

Boeing influenced the FAA to certify the 737 Max in 2017, even though the agency identified a variety of legacy physical design details that did not comply with its current safety regulations and despite the airplane having an aerodynamically unstable design.

The first tragedy occurred on Oct. 29, 2018, when Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Then on March 10, 2019, my friend’s granddaughter was among the victims of the second tragedy when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

It quickly became apparent that this second tragedy bore similar characteristics to those of the first crash. Consequently, by Tuesday, March 12, at least 40 countries in Europe and Asia grounded the 737 Max, but Canada and the U.S. were conspicuously absent from the list.

Instead, that morning, Dennis A. Muilenburg, then CEO of Boeing, one of America’s largest exporters, was personally expressing his confidence in the safety of the fleet in a telephone call with then president Donald Trump.

After Marc Garneau, the Canadian Minister of Transport at the time, announced Canada’s grounding on Wednesday morning, and showed that the vertical profile of this doomed flight was similar to that of the earlier crash in Indonesia, the obdurate U.S. FAA reversed course with Mr. Trump’s grandstanding announcement of the U.S. grounding.

Jim Marko, then a manager in aircraft integration and safety assessment at Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation department with 30 years of experience, opined, “The only way I see moving forward at this point, is that MCAS has to go.” But Nicholas Robinson, Director General of Transport Canada was dismissive of his position.

When I met in Jakarta with the head of the Aviation Accident Investigation Subcommittee of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (known as KNKT) about the Lion Air crash, I was amazed when I learnt the pilots of that doomed flight had never even been told about the existence of MCAS on their airplane.

Incredibly, this was not an oversight but a deliberate ploy to hide this information. The explanation of MCAS was removed from the pilot’s manual as a result of Boeing’s chief technical pilot for the 737 Max, Mark Forkner, manipulating the FAA, his former employer. He boasted in an e-mail, “Looks like my Jedi mind trick worked again!”

Moreover, Boeing did not provide the FAA with an accurate specification of the actual MCAS installed in the 737 Max airplanes. The FAA had a description of an earlier design, but Boeing implemented a more powerful and dangerous version, which could activate at high speed and not only at low speed, make large adjustments to the horizontal trim and deploy without regard to g-force (acceleration) data.

This deception led to criminal fraud charges for which Boeing agreed earlier this month to pay US$2.51 billion as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The FAA had pandered to Boeing by classifying the Max in the same “type rating” as previous 737 aircraft. This critical ruling allowed pilots who had flown any of the legacy 737 models to fly the Max. Pilots would not need to undergo any flight simulator training for the Max. The FAA approved Boeing’s request that training on an iPad for about an hour would suffice. Thus, pilots could fly the Max with no knowledge of MCAS. Boeing even offered airlines a rebate of US$1-million per airplane if 737 Max simulator training were to be needed.

Boeing’s disastrous short-term focus on the bottom line, prioritizing profits over safety, forms the genesis of the poor design of the 737 Max. The dismantling of Boeing’s once-great engineering culture began with its 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas.

The tragic story of the 737 Max starts in 2011, with Boeing scrambling to develop an airplane to compete with the Airbus A320neo. Creating a new modern aircraft requires a design and development process costing billions of dollars and taking many years, involving extensive approvals from the FAA, and simulator training and certification for pilots.

Boeing management decided to short-circuit the process by reconfiguring one of its existing aircraft, the 737. It is the oldest aircraft series still in commercial passenger service, launched in 1965, before Hockey Night in Canada was broadcast in colour. Back then, Boeing designed an aircraft with a built-in folding stairway to the tarmac and direct access to stowed luggage from the ground. The result was, and remains today, an airframe that sits lower to the ground than other commercial passenger jets do.

This legacy design is a critical problem for the 737 Max. To compete with the fuel-efficient A320neo, the Max uses modern high-efficiency engines with larger diameter than on previous 737 models. But this is problematic because the low-to-the-ground design lacks sufficient ground clearance to allow the larger engines to fit under the wings. To circumvent this issue, Boeing positioned the engines for the Max forward and higher on the wing, which engenders the pitch-up problem.

However, absent from the changes mandated by the FAA and Transport Canada is any requirement to modify the aerodynamic design to solve this intrinsic instability. Also, the FAA should be forthcoming and provide full and complete information so that independent subject matter experts can objectively evaluate the safety of this airplane. Transport Canada should address these critical issues to ensure that the safety of the Boeing 737 Max is commensurate with the other commercial passenger airplanes that share the Canadian skies.

Lone Boeing 737 Max criss-crossed Canada for pilot checks during grounding

News provided by The Globe and Mail – link to full story & audio, plus updates

by ALLISON LAMPERT AND TIM HEPHER, MONTREAL/PARIS REUTERS PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

Two Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts are seen on the ground as Air Canada Embraer aircraft flies in the background at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto on March 13, 2019.CHRIS HELGREN/REUTERS

While the world’s Boeing 737 Max fleet remains grounded after two fatal crashes, a solitary Air Canada plane has been spotted in the skies, shuttling between Quebec and Ontario.

In a rare exemption, approved by Canadian aviation regulator Transport Canada, the 11 flights in August and September were partly to maintain the qualifications of senior training pilots, Air Canada told Reuters in response to a query about flight tracking data.

A spokesman for Air Canada said the airline was not able to use similar 737s within its fleet “to maintain check pilot authority in alignment with (Canadian aviation regulations)”.

“So we are utilizing the 737 Max during planned maintenance movements to maintain qualification.”

Between Aug 28 and Sept 8, the Air Canada Max plane criss-crossed between Montreal, Val d’Or, Quebec and North Bay, Ontario, data from Tracking website FlightRadar24 shows.

Then last week, it was flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona to be parked in a desert storage site.

Although unusual after the grounding imposed worldwide in March amid concerns over an anti-stall system, the flights highlight growing pressures facing some airlines as they prepare for the return to service of the 400-plane Boeing fleet.

The planes have been sitting idle since March following two crashes in the space of five months.

For airlines like Air Canada, which did not have earlier versions of Boeing 737s in their fleets, this has made it difficult to make sure pilots can demonstrate the skills required to retain their licenses.

As North America’s sole Max operator which had not flown the earlier 737NG, Air Canada cannot use that model to maintain the qualifications of its check or trainer pilots, the company said.

So regulator Transport Canada authorized a select group of Air Canada’s check pilots to fly the grounded jet, which was also conducting maintenance flights, the airline said.

All the jets have the same control software suspected of contributing to the accidents, which Boeing is now in the process of revising to smooth its impact. However, some pilots have said existing procedures can prevent similar accidents.

Boeing declined to comment.

MARKET BATTLE

Transport Canada said in an e-mail that it authorized the flights “because the carrier does not operate the Boeing 737 NG aircraft, but the pilots still need to maintain currency.”

However, one U.S. carrier questioned by Reuters said such flights would not be possible in the United States where pilot training was not included in a list of exemptions to the ban issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Pilot currency isn’t a listed exemption in the U.S. order,” an FAA spokeswoman confirmed.

North American Max operators, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Canada’s WestJet Airlines, said they would only move their Max jets for maintenance and storage purposes.

Air Canada’s position as a newly-converted 737 operator follows a seven-year battle between Boeing and Airbus over the introduction of airplanes offering bold new fuel savings.

The introduction of the Max, an upgrade of earlier 737 models with advanced new engines, coincided with a bitter contest for market share between Boeing and Europe’s Airbus, which was offering its similar A320neo.

The feud saw both plane makers use the transition to a new generation of jets to try to poach each other’s customers, and traders said Air Canada’s 2013 decision to switch from Airbus’s A320 family to Boeing’s 737 Max stood out as a major defection.

Now, the decision to switch suppliers potentially weighs on some of those same airlines as they cope without a 737 fleet.

Boeing has predicted that the 737 Max will be cleared to take passengers early next quarter.

The FAA, facing growing international scrutiny over its certification processes, has said it cannot give a precise date for the approval of software and training changes carried out in the wake of the two accidents, which killed 346 people.

FAA chief Stephen Dickson plans to fly to Seattle this week to test modified 737 Max software in a simulator.

Engine failure on Air Canada flight leads to emergency landing at YVR

News provided by Vancouver Sun – link to full story

Flight AC 538 departed Vancouver International Airport at 1:10 p.m. Sunday and was scheduled to make a three-hour flight to Anchorage, according to flight records.

STEPHANIE IP & DAVID CARRIGG, Vancouver Sun – Updated: June 23, 2019

An Air Canada flight bound for Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday was delayed when it made an emergency landing in Vancouver. FRANCIS GEORGIAN / PNG

An Air Canada flight bound from Vancouver to Anchorage, Alaska, returned mid-flight on Sunday after an engine loss.

Flight AC 538 departed Vancouver International Airport at 1:10 p.m. Sunday and was scheduled to make a three-hour flight to Anchorage, according to flight records.

Just over halfway into the trip, the flight turned around and requested an emergency landing at YVR.

YVR spokeswoman Andrea Pham confirmed the flight landed safely.

In a prepared statement, Air Canada said the flight had 112 passengers and had returned to Vancouver after an engine shutdown.

“Aircraft are designed to fly on one engine and our pilots are trained for such situations,” the airline said.

Flight Aware shows that the plane, an A320 aircraft, touched down around 3:06 p.m. in Vancouver.

sip@postmedia.com

Air Canada prepares rouge subsidiary for ULCC competition

From Air Transport World – 9 August 2018 – 

Rouge-Boeing-767-300-Coastal-5As the Canadian ULCC market heats up, Air Canada said it is prepared to leverage the significant flexibility of its rouge subsidiary to ward off competition, from adding flights in major domestic markets to re-configuring aircraft to match rivals’ all-economy offerings.

“We have been preparing to ensure that we have all the tools necessary to offset [low-cost competition] and ensure that we are not negatively impacted,” Air Canada passenger airlines president Ben Smith said.

Set up five years ago as a leisure-destination operation, rouge’s network is heavily transborder and international, with only a handful of year-round and seasonal routes within Canada. None of them link any of the country’s six largest metropolitan areas—Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton—part of the carrier’s strategy to preserve mainline margins.

Calgary-based WestJet and its ULCC subsidiary Swoop are following a similar network strategy, but unlike rouge’s two-class aircraft, Swoop operates 189-seat all-economy Boeing 737-800s.

Fast-growing ULCC Flair Airlines is taking the strategy a step further, operating single-class, 158-seat 737-400s on popular domestic routes such as Toronto-Calgary and Vancouver-Calgary. The Edmonton-based carrier’s recent announcement to move its Hamilton services to Toronto will make it even more prominent, and it plans to follow rouge and Swoop into transborder services.

While Montreal-based Air Canada set up rouge as a hybrid low-cost leisure carrier, the company has flexibility to transform its subsidiary to meet market needs, thanks in part to a 2017 amendment to its pilot agreement. The deal lifted Rouge’s fleet-size cap of 50—25 widebodies and 25 narrowbodies—by permitting more narrowbodies based on Air Canada’s mainline operation and permits rouge aircraft to replace regional feeder flying.

Air Canada is already taking advantage of the narrowbody cap’s removal. Its 53-aircraft fleet includes 22 Airbus A319s and six A321s, and it plans to add three A320s next year. It also is evaluating its rouge deployment strategy in light of shifting market dynamics.

“We have not deployed one of our options, which is rouge on any of the major markets. We can do that,” Smith said. “We can also modify the rouge model …. We can densify the rouge aircraft to bring down the CASM. So, a lot of flexibility.”

Usage of the A320s will be determined by the best opportunities. While the strategy could change, Smith said three options are being considered: adding domestic capacity, flying attractive “southern” routes to Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean, or replacing regional-feeder flying.

“We’re quite pleased with the position we’re in,” he said.

, sean.broderick@aviationweek.com

Canada Jetlines Prepares for Takeoff with Definitive Lease Agreement for Two Airbus A320 Aircraft

Jetlines_aircraftVANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada Jetlines Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has partnered with AerCap, a global leader in aircraft leasing and aviation finance, and has signed a Definitive Lease Agreement for two Airbus A320 aircraft, effective June 12, 2018. Delivery of the two aircraft is expected by the first half of 2019.

AerCap is the world’s largest independent aircraft leasing company with a well-diversified portfolio of high-quality aircraft. They provide aircraft to a global network of approximately 200 airline customers in approximately 80 countries and is recognized as the most active aircraft trader globally. AerCap’s President & Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Scruggs commented, “We are very pleased to welcome our new customer airline, Jetlines, and particularly pleased to play a role in the start-up of their new operations. We wish the board and management team every success and we look forward to working with the Jetlines team as they begin operations.”

Incoming CEO Lukas Johnson stated, “AerCap has a proven reputation of leasing high-quality aircraft and we look forward to continuing to build a positive relationship with them. Through my experience with Airbus, I believe that these planes are the right aircraft to commence operations with. The majority of ultra-low cost carriers worldwide operate with the Airbus A320 fleet based on its fuel-efficient narrow-body framework that supports a high-density seat configuration.”

The two committed Airbus A320’s are sister aircraft, having virtually identical conformity in design, features, and equipment, allowing Jetlines to expedite the necessary training and maintenance processes to commence operations at an earlier date. The sister aircraft are 12 years old.

Executive Chairman Mark Morabito stated, “Our operations team has worked diligently on securing quality aircraft, carrying out a meticulous vetting process to ensure that the aircraft are fit for Jetlines and our future passengers.” Mr. Morabito continued, “I am pleased to report that we are now positioned to carry out the remainder of work to complete our licencing process and that we are continuing to advance our financing initiatives, personnel recruitment, and airport agreements.”

The pre-existing purchase agreement with Boeing for the 737-MAX’s for delivery in 2023 remains in place. Jetlines plans to use the Airbus planes to support its start-up operations and is not limited from securing a Boeing fleet in future, should the Company decide to do so.