Air Canada has announced it will shed 79 of its oldest aircraft as it realigns its operation to cope with the post-COVID hangover. The airline will immediately stop flying its E-190 regional aircraft and phase out A-319s and Boeing 767s. More than half the cuts will come at the airline’s budget subsidiary Rouge, which has been the intermediate stop before retirement of airframes from the main line. Air Canada has invested billions of dollars in fleet renewal in recent years, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A220 along with the troubled Boeing 737 MAX. Some of the aircraft headed for the boneyard or cargo conversion were commissioned in the 1980s.
The fleet announcement came as the airline announced a $1 billion COVID-related loss for its first quarter, it’s first losing quarter in almost seven years. “Our solid January and February results gave us every encouragement that this performance would continue until the sudden and catastrophic impact of Covid-19’s onset in Europe and North America in early March,” CEO Calin Rovenescu said. He also predicted it would take three years for operations to return to the levels recorded just prior to the pandemic.