The federal government is urging Air Canada to spend millions of dollars to quieten its A320-family aircraft, which it is gradually retiring, mainly for the benefit of the neighbours of Pearson Airport in Toronto. Transport Minister Marc Garneau has written airline President Calin Rovinescu urging him to install vortex generators in front of small depressions on the undersides of the wings to eliminate an annoying whistling noise that heralds the type’s multiple arrivals at Canada’s biggest airport. The letter, obtained by the Globe and Mail, was a friendly first request but Garneau apparently has the power to order the modifications if the airline doesn’t take the unveiled hint.
“I believe that a voluntary approach by Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge is the best option,” Garneau said in his letter. “It is reflective of Air Canada’s stated commitment to integrating environmental considerations into its business decisions and to minimize its environmental footprint partly through less noise in our communities.” The vortex generator reroutes air around the fuel overpressure cavities under the wings that cause the whistling. It reportedly cuts up to 11 decibels from the A320’s noise on final. Air Canada has bought non-whistling Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to replace the old Airbuses but it will be several years before the deliveries are complete. Air Canada is considering the request in light of its maintenance schedule and other considerations. Pearson is offering incentives for airlines to fly quieter aircraft.