What Happened To Air Canada’s Airbus A340-600 Order?

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Sumit Singh, Deputy Editor | May 2, 2021

At the Paris Air Show in June 1997, Airbus shared details about its Airbus A340-600 motives. Amid the excitement, it didn’t take long for Air Canada to order the plane. It was one of the first airlines to place an order for the variant, but it would cancel the deal approximately a decade later.

A340-600 Plane Silhouette
The Airbus A340-600 is increasingly becoming a rare sight. Photo: Getty Images

Grand prospects

During its reveal, the A340-600 was highlighted to transport up to 378 passengers, which was a significant figure as it was only 25 fewer than many variants of the Boeing 747. Air Canada was keen to take on new widebodies that year, ordering eight new A330s and A340s. These planes had a list price of $1.4 billion at the time, which is a figure approximate to $2.1 billion today.

According to The New York Times, the flag carrier of Canada had an option to take on extra planes, starting with five units split between A340-600s and A340-500. It also had options to acquire 10 additional planes from 2002.

Industry woes

A FlightGlobal report from July 2008 shares that Air Canada initially deferred the delivery of three -600s to 2004. This deferral was then extended to 2010. However, the carrier ended up canceling the whole order.

Notably, the 9/11 attacks shook up the aviation industry across the world. Even though the overall financial impact isn’t as considerable compared with the current crisis, for its time, the situation was tough, and numerous airlines struggled. Due to the challenges that carriers faced, there were several fleet reshuffles and strategy changes.Advertisement:

An Air Canada A340 aircraft
Despite not taking on the -600, Air Canada had 15 other A340 variants within its fleet, first joining the firm in 1995. Photo: Getty Images

Air Canada’s approach shift can be noticed with its wider fleet. Several aircraft types had left the carrier in the years after 9/11. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and Bombardier CRJ100 were phased out of mainline operations in 2002. After that, Boeing 737-200 747-400, and 747-200M and Fokker F28 Fellowship left in 2004. Moreover, the 767-200 left in 2008.

Most notably, Air Canada’s other A340 variants were also let go during this period. According to Planespotters.net, the A340-300 stopped service for the airline in November 2008. Two A340-500s also joined the company in the summer of 2004. However, both C-GKOL and C-GKOM left for Brazil’s TAM three years later, in November 2007.Advertisement:

A good call

Looking back, the decision to cancel the A340-600 was the right one. Gargantuan quadjets swiftly struggled to find a consistent place in aviation in the 2010s. Thus, several carriers have been rapidly phasing out the likes of the A340, A380, and 747 in preference of modern, twinjet options.

Virgin A340-600
Virgin Atlantic retired its final A340-600s in March 2020. Photo: Getty Images.

Today, most of the airlines that took on the A340-600 no longer operate the plane. Now, only a handful of major airlines fly it. Looking at Air Canada’s fleet strategy in recent years, the carrier may have found itself also retiring the aircraft sooner than later.

YTO Cargo Airlines nabs 767s, moves into widebody freighters (from Air Canada)

From Cargo Facts – link to source story

Carrier has long had plans for medium widebodies

By Charles Kauffman and Jeff Lee | 10 March 2021

Hangzhou-based YTO Cargo Airlines has acquired a pair of sister 767-300ERs (33423 and 33424, ex-Air Canada) and will have them converted to freighter configuration by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) [FATs 006023-6026]. The freighter redeliveries are expected by the third quarter this year, YTO confirmed to Cargo Facts. Once the twenty-four-pallet-capacity freighters enter service with YTO […]

Air Canada Eyes Completion Of Boeing 767 Conversions Next Year

From Simple Flying – link to source story

By Chris Loh | February 13, 2021

With its continued efforts to diversify its revenue streams and capitalize on the demand for cargo transportation, Air Canada is hoping to convert seven of its retired Rouge Boeing 767s by the end of 2022.  Nearly two years away from this goal, the airline at least hopes to have two of the conversions complete by the end of 2021.

Rouge 767
The 767s come from Air Canada’s budget-leisure brand, Rouge. Photo: Tomas del Coro via Wikimedia Commons 

2020 was a devastating year for many airlines, including Air Canada. As part of its recent earnings reports, the Canadian carrier quantified its heavy losses by showing that it took an overall operating loss of nearly C$3.8 billion (nearly US$3 billion). To Air Canada’s leadership, it was “the bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation.”

Despite the gloomy situation, the airline highlighted some of its successes and achievements over the course of 2020. This included its ability to quickly pivot to cargo-only operations and reduce cash burn. Part of this expenditure-reduction sadly resulted in the retirement of 79 aircraft and the cancelation of some new aircraft orders, namely some Airbus A220 and 737 MAX jets.

As the airline continues to face hard-hitting international travel restrictions imposed by the government of Canada, it is hoping that cargo operations will have a larger part of its revenue stream.

Capitalizing on cargo

The initial pivot to cargo-only flights took the form of modifying its passenger aircraft to allow for freight in the passenger cabin. This was first seen on some of the carrier’s Boeing 777s and carried over to an Airbus A330. These weren’t full-on cargo conversions, however. Instead, the airline removed seats and installed netting and floor-markings (to ensure safe weight-distribution across the passenger deck).

As part of the airline’s Q3 2020 earnings call, it was revealed that there were plans to convert some retired Boeing 767s into permanent freighters. The 767s most recently had flown as part of the Air Canada Rouge brand.Advertisement:

Since that call, Air Canada has managed to strike an agreement with its pilots for an appropriate level of pay for cargo flights. The airline said this had to be done to remain competitive with other freight carriers.

Now, as part of the airline’s most recent earnings call, we have a little more clarity on the timeline for these 767 conversions.

767 conversion timeline

Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s EVP & CCO, noted in the call that the airline’s first 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, deputy chief executive officer & chief financial officer, Air Canada

Rouge 767
The airline’s Rouge sub-brand is currently grounded – particularly as a result of the Canadian government’s restrictions on flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Photo: Lord of the Wings via Wikimedia Commons 

Rousseau’s comments on conversion slot availability allude to the fact that aircraft conversion services are seeing high demand from air operators to convert old passenger aircraft into freighters.

Apart from the two being converted this year, it looks like Air Canada will just have to wait further back in line to have the majority of its old 767s converted.

Air Canada signs up for converted freighters as it targets air cargo

From Air Cargo News – link to source story

By Damian Brett | 14 January 2021

Air Canada will sell two passenger Boeing 767s to be converted into freighters before leasing them back as it targets growth in air cargo.

The Montreal-headquartered company will sell two of its B767-300ER aircraft to ATSG-owned lessor Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM).

The first aircraft will be inducted for conversion in March 2021. Both are expected to be redelivered to Air Canada by the end of 2021.

This is the first sale-leaseback agreement between ATSG and Air Canada.

In November 2020, Air Canada announced its plan to use converted freighters to grow its cargo business in response to “evolving opportunities in the airfreight market”.

“Getting these two [Boeing] 767 freighters into our operation in 2021 is aligned with our announcement in November,” said Jason Berry, vice-president of cargo at Air Canada. “We are excited to be in a position to capture the market opportunities that currently present themselves. Delivering on our commitments is critically important to all of us at Air Canada.”

The aircraft will be converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) of Tel Aviv, Israel.

“It is always a great feeling to gain a new lease customer and we are proud to be able to again support a great airline like Air Canada,” said Mike Berger, chief commercial officer of ATSG. “We are looking forward to delivering these airplanes and extending our special partnership with Air Canada.

“We continue to see growth outside of the US, and ATSG continues to enable great companies to take advantage of growing global e-commerce and mobile-commerce trends.”

Like most carriers, Air Canada has seen cargo become an increasingly important part of its business as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak as passenger demand droped and cargo revenues increased.

In the second quarter of last year, the airline saw cargo revenues exceed those of passenger revenues for the first time in its history.

Last year, the carrier operated more than 4,000 cargo-only flights.

Meanwhile, the conversion market looks set to take off as carriers look to offload unwanted passenger aircraft and there is increased demand for freighters.

The airline also sent out an update today on how it had been preparing for handling Covid-19 vaccines.

As part of its preparation, Air Canada Cargo said it had finalised agreements with additional suppliers of active, passive and hybrid packages, as well as increased capabilities for pharma handling, by undergoing a thorough review of all stations in its network, including those managed by third parties.

“We are seeing shipments of vaccines and vaccine consumables being transported by Air Canada Cargo for distribution in Canada since December. These shipments are a result of close collaboration with our supply chain partners, and our operational readiness to expertly handle them,” said Vito Cerone, vice president, cargo sales and commercial strategy.

Amazon purchases 11 aircraft from Delta and WestJet to join Amazon Air’s network

The expanded fleet supports Amazon’s growing customer base, with the aircraft joining Amazon Air’s cargo network in 2021 and 2022.

Amazon made its first-ever purchase of Boeing 767-300 aircraft, expanding its fleet to continue to serve customers. The purchase includes 11 aircraft, which will join the network by 2022. Amazon Air’s fleet expansion comes at a time when customers are relying on fast, free shipping more than ever.

“Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the U.S. in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal,” said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air. “Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations, which, in turn, helps us to keep pace with meeting our customer promises.”

Amazon Air plays a central role in delivering for customers by transporting items across longer distances in shorter time frames. The four aircraft purchased from WestJet in March are currently undergoing passenger-to-cargo conversion and will join Amazon Air’s network in 2021. The seven aircraft purchased from Delta will enter Amazon’s air cargo network in 2022. These fleet additions will ensure added capacity in Amazon Air’s network for years to come. Amazon will continue to rely on third-party carriers to operate these new aircraft.

Amazon Air continues to expand globally to meet the needs of its growing customer base while investing in jobs and sustainable solutions to power its network. Last year, Amazon launched its first-ever international air hub at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany and new regional air operations at Lakeland Linder International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Richmond International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Kahului Airport, Kona International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Since Amazon Air’s launch in 2016, Amazon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and created thousands of new jobs at Amazon Air locations across the U.S. In 2020, Amazon Air announced its purchase of 6 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel and has already invested in cutting-edge electric ground service equipment and solar rooftop panels planned at some facilities.

Air Canada Provides Update on Cargo Business

  • Jason Berry appointed Vice-President, Cargo
  • Air Canada Pilots ratify collective agreement amendment to enable Air Canada to competitively operate dedicated cargo aircraft in the cargo marketplace.

MONTREAL, Nov. 27, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Berry as Vice President, Cargo effective January 1, 2021.  Mr. Berry will be based at Air Canada’s Montreal headquarters, and will report directly to Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

Air Canada today also provided an update on its cargo business and the next steps in its strategic plan as the airline continues to adapt rapidly to evolving market opportunities. To date, Air Canada has operated more than 3,500 all-cargo flights globally, and the airline is now finalizing plans to convert several of its owned Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to freighters to fully participate in global cargo commercial opportunities.

The carrier has successfully concluded collective agreement amendment with its pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), for contractual changes to enable Air Canada to competitively operate dedicated cargo aircraft in the cargo marketplace, which have now been ratified by the Air Canada pilots. 

“Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo have pivoted quickly to new and unique commercial opportunities in response to evolving market conditions over the past 11 months, and Air Canada was the first airline globally to transform aircraft and double freight capacity by removing seats to enable cargo transport in the passenger cabin.  We now operate up to 100 international, all-cargo flights weekly, and with ACPA’s recent ratification on cargo operating arrangements, we are planning the conversion of several owned Boeing 767-300ERs recently retired from passenger service to all-freighter aircraft, which will position Air Canada to continue growing its cargo business across the global supply chain,” said Ms. Guillemette.

“Jason’s entrepreneurial approach combined with his solid air cargo background is well-suited to operationalize these commercial opportunities, and lead the strategic direction of our cargo business to optimize the growth of e-commerce while leveraging Air Canada’s fleet and global reach,” concluded Ms. Guillemette.

Mr. Berry comes to Air Canada from Alaska Airlines’ wholly owned subsidiary McGee Air Services, where he was President with oversight for all aspects of aviation services ground handling, aircraft grooming, airport mobility services, check-in and gate services. From 2012 until June 2019, he led Alaska Airlines’ cargo business, with direct responsibility for all aspects of cargo operations and compliance including revenue growth.  Prior to joining Alaska Airlines, he held operational positions with increasing responsibility at other air cargo handlers and operators.

Mr. Berry holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business, in addition to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management from Central Washington University, and an Associate’s degree in Business and Commerce from South Seattle College.

About Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline. Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Air Canada is 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, which also named Air Canada the 2019 Best Airline in North America. For more information, please visit: aircanada.com/media, follow Air Canada on Twitter and LinkedIn, and join Air Canada on Facebook.                   

Air Canada Cargo is a multiple award-winning cargo service provider, and it offers global cargo services through scheduled flights and via chartered, specialized flights. In addition to transporting freight on Air Canada’s aircraft operating scheduled passenger services, Air Canada Cargo also transports freight on cargo-only flights using Air Canada’s mainline wide-body aircraft, as well as four transformed Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER and three Airbus A330 aircraft modified to transport cabin freight.  For more information, please visit:  https://www.aircanada.com/cargo/en/ 

Air Canada’s First Refurbished Airbus A330 Takes Flight

News from Simple Flying – link to story

by Emily Derrick, June 25, 2020

Air Canada is celebrating the first flight of its newly refurbished Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 flew from Montreal to Vancouver on June 24th. In 2018, Air Canada chose to do an interior refit on its A330s. This was in addition to adding more A330s to its fleet to replace its aging Boeing 767 fleet. The final 767 operated its last commercial flight on June 3rd.

Air Canada A330-300
Air Canada’s first newly refurbished A330 flew from Montreal to Vancouver. Photo: Air Canada

The first flight

Air Canada tweeted that it is looking for things to celebrate during this challenging time, and its newly refurbished Airbus A330 is undoubtedly worth celebrating. The aircraft, registration C-GFUR left Montreal a little late at 19:26 local time and landed in Vancouver over four and half hours later at 21:07 local time.

The plane had flown the day before for just under an hour as it moved from Montreal’s Mirabel International Airport to the main Trudeau Airport in Montreal. Eventually, Air Canada has planned on using the new A330s for international routes from Montreal across the Atlantic. However, with travel restrictions still in place due to COVID-19, the aircraft’s first flight was within Canadian borders.

Refurbishment details

Air Canada chose to work with ST Aerospace to refurbish its aircraft and bring them in line with its Boeing 777s and 787s. Despite recent complications, the aircraft have been finished on time. The airline’s A330s have an average age of just over 15 years.

The A330 economy cabin is in a 2-4-2 configuration with Panasonic eX3 touchscreen seatback entertainment screens for all passengers. Premium economy features a 2-3-2 configuration with Signature Class in 1-2-1. Each seat also has its own power outlet and USB charging point.

Overhauling other aircraft

The Airbus A330s aren’t the only planes Air Canada has been overhauling recently. The airline recently repurposed four Boeing 777 jets to carry more cargo to essential workers. One 777 was used to take over 20 tonnes of facemasks for Canadians during the pandemic. By transforming the passenger cabin and removing the seats, Air Canada was able to double each plane’s cargo capacity. The airline also converted three A330s to carry cargo.Advertisement:

Air Canada
The airline has removed seating from Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s to carry cargo. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada is also welcoming brand-new Airbus A220s into its fleet. The airline has taken delivery of five new A220s since December of last year, with a further 13 A220s scheduled for delivery later this year. A new A330 should be joining the Air Canada fleet later this year as well.

Fleet changes

Air Canada is going through a definite period of change when it comes to its fleet. It recently retired 79 aircraft early and cut the number of Boeing 737 MAX jets it will receive. Currently, the airline’s MAX jets remain grounded. With brand new A220s, newly refurbished A330, old aircraft sent to retirement, the airline should have a robust, young fleet to tackle this period of uncertainty.

Flying into the sunset: Air Canada’s last Boeing 767 operates final passenger flight on June 2, 2020

From Air Canada | 3 June 2020

Air Canada’s Rapidair flight AC439 from Montreal to Toronto on June 2, 2020 marks the end of an era as the airline retires the last aircraft it its mainline Boeing 767 fleet.

The 767s have been a workhorse for Air Canada since the first one was delivered in October 1982 (a 767-233, FIN number 601, registered as C-GAUB). That aircraft began transcontinental service on February 14, 1983. After more than 20 years in the skies, the aircraft was retired in 2005.

Between 1982 and 1996, Air Canada would take possession of 25 more 767s, with the first extended range variants for overwater operations arriving in 1984. When Air Canada merged with Canadian Airlines in 2001, another 23 of these widebodies would join the fleet.

Air Canada launched its leisure brand Rouge on July 1, 2013 with a total of four aircraft, of which two were 767s flying to Edinburgh, Venice, and Athens. Air Canada Rouge eventually expanded to include 25 of the long-range 767-300ERs that served mainly European and sun destinations. In May 2020, Air Canada announced that in addition to the planned retirement of the remaining five 767s in its mainline fleet, the 767s from Rouge would also be retired from service.

Air Canada’s 767s made history when the first ever air-to-ground telephone service by a Canadian airline was offered on February 9, 1986, during AC915 between Miami to Toronto. Also in February 1986, Executive Class was introduced on the 767s.

Fun Facts:

  • Air Canada Boeing 767 Fin 682 (C-FCAE) registered over 138,000 flying hours before it was retired on August 1, 2019, making it the world leader in terms of flying hours for the fleet type.  The aircraft was sold late last year to another airline which is currently converting it for cargo operations.
  • The 767 was initially designed to be operated with a three-pilot crew. Although Air Canada’s first few 767s had an extra-large flight deck, they were configured to be operated by two pilots.
  • The 767 was the first aircraft to receive 120-minute ETOPS (extended twin-engine operations) approval in 1985, meaning it could operate two hours away from the nearest airport, making oceanic crossings more efficient. This was increased to 180 minutes in 1988.
  • Air Canada flew 23 B767-200 and -200ER (extended range version) aircraft with the variants being retired in 2008. Most of these aircraft were parked in the desert in Mojave, California and some in Roswell, New Mexico.
  • Some 767s were retrofitted with winglets for fuel efficiency. The winglets are 11 feet tall! Winglets reduce drag and increase lift at the end of the wings and reduce fuel consumption by helping jets more efficiently slice through the air.
  • The mainline Boeing 767 has a seating capacity of 24 in Air Canada Signature Class and 187 in Economy. It has a range of 10,549 kilometres at a cruising altitude of up to 41,000 feet and a cruising speed of 853 kilometres per hour. Cargo capacity in the belly is a maximum of 14,800 kilograms.
  • The longest scheduled nonstop flight by an Air Canada 767 was Toronto to Tokyo, which lasted 13:45 and covered 10,324 kilometres.
  • The Boeing 767 served a number of special missions during its time at Air Canada, including for the annual Dreams Take Flight special charity flights from eight cities across Canada giving special children a trip of a lifetime to a world-renowned theme park in California or Florida.

Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

MONTREAL, Dec. 17, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada said today that Rouge Wi-Fi high-speed satellite-based connectivity provided by Gogo is now available across the entire Air Canada Rouge fleet of 65 aircraft that fly globally and across North America.

Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet (CNW Group/Air Canada)
Air Canada Completes Installation of Satellite Connectivity Across Full Air Canada Rouge Fleet (CNW Group/Air Canada)

“Customers now can access Rouge Wi-Fi high-speed internet connectivity on their own devices whenever they are onboard an Air Canada Rouge aircraft anywhere in the world, giving everyone the ability to stay connected to email, surf the web, or stream their favourite movies and TV shows from services like Netflix and YouTube. We are excited to now offer fast, reliable wi-fi options onboard all Rouge aircraft for the increasing numbers of customers seeking connectivity when flying,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada.

Customers can choose from a selection of Wi-Fi packages to suit their requirements with starting prices of $8.50 CAD simply by connecting to the “Rouge Wi-Fi” network onboard and following the instructions.

In addition to the full Air Canada Rouge fleet, satellite based Wi-Fi is already available on all Air Canada Boeing 777s, and most Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s with the remainder to be completed early 2020. Air Canada Wi-Fi connectivity is also available across the carrier’s entire mainline narrow body fleet and the Air Canada Express Embraer 175 and Bombardier CRJ-900 fleets. Air Canada’s new Airbus A220 fleet which it begins taking delivery of before the end of 2019 will come equipped with satellite based wi-fi.

“Stink Fruit” Cargo Spoiled An Air Canada Flight

News provided by Yahoo Finance & Freightwaves

Benzinga October 9, 2019

An Air Canada Rouge flight returned to Vancouver after the Boeing 767-300’s cabin filled with the odor from a shipment of durian fruit – whose odor is often compared to rotting meat.

Details from the flight on Air Canada‘s (TSX:AC)  low-cost subsidiary emerged in the incident report provided to FreightWaves by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSBC) on October 8.  

The troubles arose shortly after the 767 took off from Vancouver International Airport on September 17 with 245 passengers and eight crew, destined for Montreal. Crew members first noticed a “strong odor” while the aircraft was at 7,000 feet above sea level, according to the TSBC report.

The flight crew leveled off at 25,000 feet to troubleshoot the problem after failing to clear the smell from the cabin. They then declared a PAN-PAN, indicating an urgent but not immediately dangerous situation, “donned their oxygen masks and returned to land” in Vancouver, the TSBC report said.

The durian shipment in the forward cargo compartment was identified as the source of the odor and removed from the flight. The aircraft then returned to service. No injuries were reported.

Final thoughts:

The incident aboard the Air Canada Rouge flight isn’t the first time durian has caused problems as a cargo. The smell from two metric tons led to a temporary grounding of a flight in Indonesia in November 2018. 

Needless to say, the airline probably will think twice before accepting a shipment of the prized but noxious fruit.