Air Canada Selects Pratt & Whitney GTF™ Engines to Power Up to 44 Airbus A320neo Family Aircraft

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., April 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX) and Air Canada have announced the selection of Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power 30 firm and 14 purchase right Airbus A321XLR aircraft. Pratt & Whitney will also provide Air Canada with engine maintenance through an EngineWise® Comprehensive service agreement. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2024.

Air Canada has selected Pratt & Whitney's GTF engines to power 30 firm and 14 purchase right Airbus A321XLR aircraft. Pratt & Whitney will also provide Air Canada with engine maintenance through an EngineWise® Comprehensive service agreement.

“The Pratt & Whitney GTF family of engines have saved operators more than 600 million gallons of fuel and helped avoid six million metric tons of carbon emissions since it entered service in 2016,” said Rick Deurloo, Chief Commercial Officer at Pratt & Whitney. “What’s good for the environment is also good for business, and marquee operators such as Air Canada will continue to serve their customers with the most efficient engines on offer today.” 

In 2020, Air Canada became the first airline in Canada to operate the Airbus A220 family and the first in North America to operate A220-300 aircraft. The airline currently operates 28 A220-300 aircraft with an additional 17 on order. Pratt & Whitney has a long history with Air Canada, dating back to the airline’s first aircraft, a Lockheed Model 10 Electra with Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines. Prior to the A220, Pratt & Whitney powered Air Canada’s fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft.

“Air Canada is pleased to be partnering with Pratt & Whitney by selecting GTF engines for our new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft. The GTF’s efficiency and reliability will help us lower costs and also allow us to expand our network. As well, the GTF’s state-of-the-art technology will advance our environmental program by reducing emissions and noise,” said Richard Steer, Senior Vice President, Operations and Express Carriers, at Air Canada.

The Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine is the only geared propulsion system delivering industry-leading sustainability benefits, mature dispatch reliability and world-class operating costs. GTF engines for the Airbus A320neo family reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 16 percent, regulated emissions by 50 percent and noise footprint by 75 percent. The engine’s revolutionary geared fan architecture is the foundation for more sustainable aviation technologies in the decades ahead, with advancements like the Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage™ engine and beyond. Learn more at pwgtf.com.

About Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. To learn more visit www.prattwhitney.com.

Air Canada Announces the Acquisition of 26 Airbus A321neo Extra-Long Range Aircraft

  • Stateoftheart, single-aisle aircraft offers greater comfort and range
  • Projected fuel efficiency gain of up to 23%yielding environmental benefits
  • Order drives corporate priorities to elevate customer experience, expand network and lower costs
Air Canada Announces the Acquisition of 26 Airbus A321neo Extra-Long Range Aircraft (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Source Air Canada

MONTREAL, March 22, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it is acquiring 26 extra-long range (XLR) versions of the Airbus A321neo aircraft. The aircraft has sufficient range to serve all North American and select transatlantic markets, while offering customers added comfort and improving the carrier’s fuel efficiency to advance its environmental programs. 

Deliveries are to begin in the first quarter of 2024 with the final aircraft to arrive in the first quarter of 2027. Fifteen of the aircraft will be leased from Air Lease Corporation, five will be leased from AerCap and six are being acquired under a purchase agreement with Airbus S.A.S. that includes purchase rights to acquire an additional 14 of the aircraft between 2027 and 2030.

Air Canada Announces the Acquisition of 26 Airbus A321neo Extra-Long Range Aircraft (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Source Air Canada

“Air Canada is committed to further strengthen its market-leading position, especially through investments in new technology. The acquisition of the state-of-the-art Airbus A321XLR is an important element of this strategy and will drive our core priorities of elevating the customer experience, advancing our environmental goals, network expansion and increasing our overall cost efficiency. This order also shows that Air Canada is emerging strongly from the pandemic and is ideally positioned to grow, compete and thrive in a reshaped global aviation industry,” said Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

Air Canada’s A321XLRs will accommodate 182 passengers in a configuration of 14 lie flat Air Canada Signature Class seats and 168 Economy Class seats. Among the aircraft’s amenities, customers will enjoy next generation seatback entertainment, access to inflight Wifi and a spacious cabin design featuring generous overhead baggage storage bins. With a range of approximately 8,700 kilometres and an ability to fly up to 11 hours, the A321XLR can operate non-stop anywhere across North America and, pending Transport Canada approval for overseas operations, also fly transatlantic missions, bolstering the carrier’s hubs and network. Air Canada is in the process of selecting an engine manufacturer for its A321XLR aircraft.

GHG reductions

The A321XLR will be used both for incremental growth of Air Canada’s fleet and to replace older, less-efficient aircraft expected to exit the fleet. As a result, the new aircraft will yield significant operational cost savings and environmental benefits. Air Canada projects it will have up to 17 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than the previous generation narrow-body on a typical transcontinental flight and a projected reduction of up to 23 per cent versus previous generation wide-body aircraft on a transatlantic flight. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help Air Canada fulfill its environmental commitments, which include the achievement of net carbon neutrality by 2050. The A321XLR is also expected to be quieter for passengers and airports than the aircraft being replaced with the A321XLR.

As of December 31, 2021, Air Canada had a combined 214 aircraft in its mainline and Air Canada Rouge fleets, including 136 single-aisle, narrow-body aircraft.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, the country’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 from the independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which in 2021 also named Air Canada as having the Best Airline Staff in North America, Best Airline Staff in Canada, Best Business Class Lounge in North America, as well as an Excellence award for its handling of COVID-19. Also in 2021, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the third 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. 

Air Canada reportedly in talks to add Airbus A321s as COVID subsides

From BNN Bloomberg News 🔗 link to source story

Charlotte Ryan, Siddharth Philip and Layan Odeh, Bloomberg News | 23 February 2022

Air Canada is in talks with Airbus SE about adding longer-distance A321neo jets alongside its fleet of Boeing Co. 737 narrowbodies as travel demand rebounds, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The carrier is looking at ordering 10 to 20 aircraft, one of the people said. The negotiations are preliminary and may not lead to a deal, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing matters that aren’t public.

While Air Canada was an established operator of Airbus’s original A320 family, it chose the Boeing Max in the contest between new-generation planes. Adding a small fleet of A321neos would bring a further boost for an Airbus model that can carry 220 people in two classes over longer distances than the rival Max 10.

Air Canada is also talking with jet lessors about sourcing the A321s, one of the people said.

An Airbus spokeswoman declined to comment on any discussions the company may have with customers. 

Air Canada referenced a Feb. 18 conference call, when Chief Executive Officer Michael Rousseau discussed fleet renewal initiatives as the airline emerges from the pandemic. Last May, the CEO said that Airbus A321LR, or long range, models “potentially have a place in the Air Canada fleet as we go forward.”
 

AIRLINE PIVOTS

Other airlines have also returned to growth mode, looking ahead to fielding newer, less-polluting planes in the post-pandemic era as the drag on demand caused by the coronavirus starts to lift.

Qatar Airways, JetBlue Airways Corp. and Allegiant Travel Co. are among carriers making fresh narrow-body commitments since the start of the year. 

IAG SA, the parent of British Airways, is in advanced talks on a mixed order for dozens of single-aisle jets, including up to 50 Boeing Co. 737 Max and Airbus A320s also being discussed, Reuters reported earlier, citing industry sources. 

The order would be a step down from the 200-plane Max commitment to announced with fanfare at the Paris air show in 2019, yet it would still mark a victory for Boeing after IAG reopened the contest last year. IAG currently operates Airbus narrow-bodies.
 

AIR CANADA PLANS

Air Canada, which said Tuesday it will relaunch 34 international routes, announced last week that it had reinstated a commitment for 12 Airbus A220s, a smaller jet originally designed and built by Canada’s Bombardier Inc. 

The deliveries were canceled in 2020 after the virus stifled demand and Air Canada struggled to secure pandemic aid from the government. The carrier also scaled back its Boeing Max deal by a third to 40, and deferred some of those handovers. 

In November, Air Canada changed course, accelerating Max deliveries and reversing two of the A220 cancellations to restore its network.

As it stands, the fleet comprises around 170 aircraft, including older A320s and a Boeing-dominated wide-body lineup.

The A321, prized by airlines for its combination of capacity and range, is in short supply with yearslong production backlogs. Airbus’s cancellation of a Qatar Airways order amid a contract dispute could free up some capacity, though a London judge has ordered the manufacturer to hold the slots for now.

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.

How Annick Guerard is leading the fightback at Canada’s Air Transat

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Pilar Wolfsteller | 28 September 2021

With a little help from new partners and a determination not to dwell on a punishing 18 months for the business, Annick Guerard is plotting a secure future for Air Transat

Montreal winters are painfully, unspeakably cold. Within minutes of exposure, uncovered skin could succumb to frostbite and wet hair freezes into icicles. Canadians know that it is unwise to spend long periods outdoors in such conditions.

But on a ridiculously frigid day back in 2001, a young Annick Guerard found herself on the apron of a Montreal-area airport, shadowing Air Transat maintenance professionals who were about to inspect and repair the wing of an aircraft. The temperature was -35°C (-31°F), and Guerard was bundled up in the warmest clothes she could find.

“I was dressed to go to the North Pole, and the mechanics began to remove their gloves to work,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it.”

She was there as a senior consultant for Deloitte, and Transat was her client. A civil engineer who had earned a degree at Polytechnique Montreal, and who holds a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Montreal, Guerard had specialised in logistics management and implementing continuous-improvement programmes in the transportation and manufacturing sectors.

OBVIOUS PASSION

During two weeks embedded in Transat’s line maintenance department, she watched in astonishment as mechanics forged on in the sub-zero climate, day after day. And despite the brutal, surreal weather, she felt an immediate connection with the workers and their company. Their passion for the airline was tangible, several even sporting tattoos of the carrier’s star logo.

Barely a year later, perhaps in part as a result of her grit on that icy assignment, Air Transat hired her as its senior director for strategy and customer experience. Two decades on, she’s now the chief executive.

Air Transat

Source: Benedicte Brocard

Guerard laughs at the story of her first encounter with the airline that would propel her to the top of her profession. But it is clear she holds deep respect for the employees who made Air Transat the company it is today.

“I love this company. I love everything about it. I love the people, and I love to come to work every day,” she says.

Guerard, now 50 years old, took the controls at the airline in May, as it faced twin crises, either of which could have signalled the end of the 35-year-old brand: a global coronavirus pandemic that seemed to never end, and the termination of a blockbuster deal with cross-town rival Air Canada that had been conceived to rescue the ailing carrier.

“It has been very tough these past few months,” she says, reflectively. “Sometimes we didn’t know if we would make it to the end of the day.”

The worst part, she says, was making the painful decision to shut down temporarily and lay off workers.

From the beginning of the pandemic through to August of this year, Canada had some of the strictest and longest-running pandemic-driven travel restrictions anywhere. Federal entry requirements for passengers arriving from outside Canada – including a required quarantine period in a government-authorised facility at the travellers’ cost – and regional regulations made travelling to or within Canada a complex undertaking.

Transat was forced to suspend flight operations twice since the beginning of the global health crisis. It first ceased operations from 1 April until 23 July 2020, joining numerous other airlines that quickly and radically slashed costs, battening down hatches as the still-little-known virus portended disaster for the global aviation industry.

IMPOSSIBLE TASK

“Trying to forecast demand at one point was just impossible. Our teams were redesigning the programme week after week, adapting to the new border restrictions and requirements,” she says.

Transat shut down again in February 2021, this time at the government’s request, in an attempt to quash any chance of infected passengers entering from abroad.

The de facto cancellation of Canada’s all-important spring-break travel season, when many Canadians seek out sunny destinations and warmer weather, hit the holiday specialist particularly hard. And still, the federal government declined to provide the industry with financial relief.

On Guerard’s first earnings call as chief executive in June, she reported an entire quarter without revenue.

In addition to dealing with the biggest industry crisis of our time, Transat spent much of the past two years attempting to close a deal with Air Canada that promised to strengthen and stabilise the brand. The timeline of the planned marriage, announced in 2019 and originally expected to close by mid-2020, was thrown off by the pandemic. Covid-19 also forced a radical rework of terms.

The legacy carrier initially offered to buy Transat for C$18 ($14.26) per share, making the deal worth about C$720 million. But following the precipitous decline in air travel demand, Air Canada slashed the price to C$5 per share. Transat’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved the new offer in December 2020, seeing it as a last-ditch means to salvage the company.

The Canadian government approved the transaction in early February, subject to conditions including job assurances, a commitment to maintain a significant presence in French-speaking Canada, the launch of new destinations within five years and what the government called “a price-monitoring mechanism”.

But two months later, after significant foot-dragging, the European Commission effectively nixed the deal because of competition concerns on European routes, leading the companies to call it off completely.

At the time, both airlines expressed frustration at the drawn-out process and the Commission’s conditions, which Air Canada called “onerous”, and “beyond commercially reasonable”.

A separate offer from an independent investor was also retracted, and negotiations ended shortly thereafter.

Canada’s number three airline was left to founder, and figure out how to go it alone.

Guerard does not look back, and does not spare a word for the deal that might have been. The company finally received C$700 million in federal financial aid in April – C$390 million to keep it operational, and C$310 million to reimburse customers whose flights had been cancelled.

Air Transat

Source: Benedicte Brocard

“Honestly, we wish the government had shown more concern for the industry from the beginning of the crisis, like we saw early on in Europe and the USA,” she says. “But we are grateful for the financial support that we got in the spring. It gave us the breathing space we needed to move forward.”

Transat’s speciality is selling package tours and operating flights to popular tourist destinations, particularly those in Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Before Covid-19, the company had 5,200 employees. At the height of the crisis it had laid off up to 85% of the workforce, and currently has just 1,300. Guerard says that the airline is targeting to grow back to 4,300 employees by the end of 2023.

The pauses forced the carrier to critically review its processes and structures, and to do more with less. In 2018, Transat had launched a transformation project that saw it begin moving away from its tour operating business and travel agency network, and investing more in its airline. In the past year and a half, the company accelerated the project’s key initiatives, which include simplifying the fleet, flattening workforce hierarchies, centralising functions and implementing other cost-saving measures.

Transat, which had been one of the last airlines operating Airbus A310-300s, retired the last of the widebody twinjets in 2020. It also stopped operating Boeing 737NGs, leaving it with just two Airbus types: A321s and A330s.

After restarting flight operations on 30 July and spooling up in August, the airline had nine of its 10 4,000nm (7,410km)-range A321LRs in operation by September. Transat holds orders for seven more of the type, which it expects will enter the fleet in the next two years. The carrier also has seven A321ceos, which it hopes to reactivate by November, helping ensure the airline has enough jets to serve a network expected by winter to encompass 50 destinations

COCKPIT COMMONALITY

In addition, the airline has 12 widebody A330s – all are currently in storage, but Transat anticipates returning them to service in December.

“With this mix, we have attained cockpit commonality which provides several advantages, including that pilots have the ability to be current on more than one aircraft type at a time,” Guerard says.

Of course, the return of those aircraft depends on the return of Transat’s customers. And customers will come back only when movement becomes easier, and virus mitigation strategies are co-ordinated, especially across national borders.

“Today, it takes a PhD with a speciality in ‘travel restrictions’ to understand how to travel between countries,” she says. “Even if we are all vaccinated, the demand won’t come back because it will still be too complicated for people to travel.”

And with Canada’s federal election coming up in October, the tourism industry is currently not the government’s top priority.

In five years, though, Transat hopes to grow to 55 aircraft. Guerard is eyeing the 4,700nm (8,704km)-range A321XLR, which she calls a “superstar single-aisle” that is best suited for the routes Transat operates.

“Fifty-five aircraft is still a small fleet… We don’t want to go back to where we were, with a complex and not-well-adapted fleet, which in the past caused us many efficiency and utilisation problems,” she says.

So it is natural that in this new post-pandemic, post-failed-merger normalcy, Transat is looking to optimise its resources, to punch above its weight. Guerard alludes to something more ambitious than existing as just another low-cost leisure airline ferrying winter-weary Canadian snowbirds to sun-soaked Caribbean beaches.

“Our network was designed to serve point-to-point traffic, and we have clearly understood the limitations of operating in isolation,” she says.

“We want to offer more destinations and options to our clients. So we are looking at partners to do that, and alliances are a key part of our network development strategy,” she adds.

Airbus

Source: Liner/Shutterstock.com

A321LRs have re-entered service as Air Transat ramps up its operations

For the moment, she declines to name names. What she does reveal is that both North American and European airlines are in the mix.

“We have a strong asset to offer to potential partners, [and are] looking to increase our footprint between America and Europe and sun destinations. So, our approach right now is to start with simple bilateral agreements, which will give us some quick wins,” she says. “And these partnerships may evolve into something more important and strategic in the near future.”

Guerard says she was well prepared for her promotion to chief executive after spending more than three years as the company’s chief operations officer alongside now-retired former chief and airline co-founder Jean-Marc Eustache. During that time, she got a good look at the top job and spearheaded the fleet modernisation plan, digital and IT upgrades and revenue- and cost-management improvement efforts.

“There were no real surprises,” she says of the transition. “And it’s always great when the succession comes from within [the company]. It shows that the talent development management has worked well.”

STRONG RESOLVE

The past 18 months have steeled her resolve to lead the carrier out of the coronavirus disruption as a stronger, leaner and more-focused airline.

“We have always excelled in adversity. We are fighters, and we have gone to war together,” Guerard says of the company. “At the beginning, we felt comfortable to be able to deal with this kind of crisis, but of course we never expected that we would remain in crisis mode for so long.

“Over the past year and a half decisions needed to be co-ordinated very efficiently, whether it was managing cash flow, paying the bills, co-ordinating the layoffs, organising the recall, parking the airplanes or repatriating our clients. Everything had to be executed perfectly and fast.”

She says Transat’s employees rose to the challenge.

Just like the tattooed mechanics, peeling off their winter gloves on the ice-cold airport tarmac 20 years ago, ready to repair a wing. 

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 Transat inaugurates its first direct flight between Vancouver and Quebec City

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 2, 2021 /CNW/ – Air Transat celebrates the launch of its brand-new direct service between Vancouver and Quebec City, becoming the first and only airline to operate this route. Flights will be offered once a week, on Mondays from Vancouver and on Sundays from Quebec City, until October 25.

From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)
From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

“It was only natural for us to add this route to our summer schedule,” says Joseph Adamo, Transat’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “As we predicted, travellers are showing a strong interest in domestic destinations, so we are pleased to offer them this new route linking two of Canada’s most important tourist hubs.”

This morning, to mark the inauguration of this new route, the 163 passengers of the very first TS969 flight from Vancouver were welcomed in a festive manner at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This comes a day after 185 passengers boarded the inaugural TS968 flight from Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB).

“We are thrilled to welcome Air Transat back to Canada’s skies with its new service connecting YVR to beautiful Quebec City,” says Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancouver International Airport. “The addition of this seasonal flight provides travellers with more options when flying domestically from YVR and is a strong signal of confidence from Air Transat as it rejoins Canada’s airlines in the effort to reopen travel and tourism across the country, safely and in a measured approach. At YVR, we are ready to welcome back all passengers to the airport and are committed to delivering a safe and seamless experience to our passengers who, thanks to Air Transat, now have another great destination to visit direct from Vancouver.”

“Now that we can start travelling again, Air Transat is inviting people from Quebec City to discover Western Canada starting this summer,” says Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport. “The addition of flights to Vancouver meets a demand expressed by the population for many years and is aligned with our objective to improve air service from Quebec City. We welcome Air Transat’s confidence in our market. We hope that passengers will choose YQB as their departure point for their next trip.”

The route will be operated by next-generation Airbus A321neoLR aircraft, which feature spacious cabins and state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment systems and have the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in their class.

This summer, from Vancouver, Air Transat will also offer direct flights to Montreal and Toronto. 

About Air Transat
Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand established nearly 35 years ago that offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada as well as international flights to destinations of choice in the Americas and Europe. Air Transat and its personnel strive to serve travellers with enthusiasm and friendliness, emphasizing safety at all stages of their travel experience. The carrier’s multiple initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon emissions include operation of a fleet of new-generation Airbus aircraft and development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Transat has been voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tourism company headquartered in Montreal that was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments. Visit airtransat.com or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

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.

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. 

Transat ponders ‘plan B’ should Europe reject Air Canada takeover

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Pilar Wolfsteller | 11 March 2021

Transat AT, parent of Canadian holiday-focused airline Air Transat, is working on a “plan B” in case its planned acquisition by Air Canada falls through.

The Montreal-based low-cost carrier, which has suspended operations due to Canada’s coronavirus mitigation measures, on 11 March says it has developed plans that will allow it to stand alone if the European Commission (EC), the last regulatory body to decide on the transaction, declines to green-light its deal with Air Canada.

The deal could also collapse if either company decides to back out.

The marriage of Canada’s number one and number three airlines, announced the transaction in 2019 and delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic, is currently in a state of limbo after a deadline expired on 15 February. Since that date has now passed, it can be terminated by either party at any time.

AIr Transat Airbus A321neo
Source: Shutterstock

An Air Transat Airbus A321neo taking off from Montreal in December 2020

“The agreement lives on with each party being able to walk away from the deal at any time as long as the EC approval has not been obtained,” says Transat’s chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache during the carrier’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call. “The clock on the Commission’s investigation has been stopped for a while but we expect it to restart very soon.”

“A decision will come before the first half of the year is over,” he adds. “We are fast approaching a resolution, whichever it is.”

The airlines had initially expected the deal to close by mid-2020. But the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing industry crisis threw that plan off track and forced a rework of terms.

The precipitous decline in air travel demand prompted Air Canada last October to slash the price it was willing to pay for its Montreal-based competitor to C$5 ($3.98) per share from its original offer of C$18 per share. Transat’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved the new offer in December, seeing it as a lifeline for the ailing company.

The Canadian government approved the merger in early February, subject to several conditions, including job assurances, a commitment to maintain the airline’s aircraft in Canada (preferably in Quebec), the launch of new destinations within five years and what the government called “a price-monitoring mechanism”.

In January, Canadian billionaire investor Pierre Karl Peladeau made another takeover bid for Transat, allegedly for more than Air Canada’s offer. At the time, Transat rejected it outright, calling it a public relations ploy.

“The transaction with Air Canada is still active, and prevents us from having discussion with any other parties. But should the agreement with Air Canada come to an end, we will actively consider all other options,” Eustache says.

“There is no need to worry about the plan B, a lot of work is being done in the background and all of it will come into the foreground if and when the time is right,” he adds.

’LEANER AND MEANER’ 

Executives did not disclose details about Transat’s contingency plan, but chief operations officer Annick Guerard says the company is reviewing its long-term strategy, to “fix what might have hindered us in the past”.

“We are constantly updating and fine-tuning a restart plan for a leaner and meaner Transat that will be in a position to play its best cards in a post-pandemic world,” Eustache says. “There is still no certainty as to exactly when and how fast this recovery will happen, but it will. The vaccine is there, we can now expect to have hit the bottom and we can move up now.”

Eustache adds that Transat has used the pandemic-driven pause to improve operations and processes, and to streamline its fleet to reduce cost and complexity.

The airline retired its six widebody Airbus A310s last year and accelerated retirement of Boeing 737s, as it transitions to an all-Airbus fleet.

Transat is acquiring A321neos, a type Guerard calls efficient and well-suited to Transat’s network. A321neos have “spectacular performance” on long-haul routes, she adds.

The airline anticipates accepting seven of those jets this year. Transat has 17 A321neos on order with Airbus and may order more, Guerard says.

”This choice of aircraft is by far the best fleet decision we have made in years,” she adds.

CANADIAN RESTRICTIONS

Transat’s recovery – and that of Canada’s broader air transport industry – has been severely hampered by Canadian travel restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of the highly-contagious virus. Travellers inbound to Canada must test negative for Covid-19 and, upon arrival, are subject to 14-day quarantines. Those, and province-specific rules, have made domestic and international travel difficult and complicated.

Canada’s federal government has not offered sector-specific pandemic-relief aid to airlines. In response to the pandemic, airlines have shed thousands of jobs and repeatedly trimmed their networks.

In January, the government asked all major carriers to suspend operations to so-called “sun destinations” through 30 April, meaning airlines have been unable to capitalise on demand for flights to warm winter holiday destinations.

Transat is unsure if those routes will resume at the end of next month, making long-term planning difficult.

“We expect to restart our operations in mid-June, which marks the start of summer demand,” says Guerard. Depending on travel restrictions, Transat plans to ramp up a “modest” operation that would include domestic routes, flights to some US cities and routes to “a few medium-haul sun destinations and some key European destinations”.

“We are ready to increase capacity in a short period of time,” she adds.

Transat’s revenue during the fiscal-year first quarter (which ended on 31 January) fell 94% year-on-year to C$41.9 million, down from C$692.8 million one year earlier. The company posted a first-quarter loss of C$109 million.

“These results are for a quarter where it was once again impossible to operate our business in a sustainable manner,” Eustache says.

“Our priority for the current quarter, while continuing to work on obtaining EU approval, is to secure financing, finalise our recovery plan and review all our options in the event the transaction with Air Canada will not take place,” Eustache adds.