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Air Canada Plans Fleet Shake-Up In 2013

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  • Air Canada Plans Fleet Shake-Up In 2013

    An arbitrator’s decision late last month on a pilots union contract is giving Air Canada a lot more flexibility in how to manage its fleet, with potential consequences for decisions on shifting and ordering narrowbody aircraft and getting rid of Embraer aircraft or other regional jets.
    The arbitrator, compelled to select either management’s proposal or the union’s, selected management’s. One result of that decision, Air Canada executives say, is that it gives them more freedom on deciding the structure of the fleet.
    The airline, for example, says it might gradually shift as many as 30 Airbus A319s and 20 Boeing 767s from its mainline operations to a new low-cost carrier subsidiary, which could start service next year. Many of those aircraft are coming off lease in the next 24 to 36 months, CFO Michael Rousseau says.
    The low-cost carrier, which Air Canada has discussed previously, would be used to maintain or grow the airline’s service in leisure-heavy markets that the mainline carrier still serves, to restore service in leisure markets it was forced to abandon because of competition and its higher costs, and to create new markets. That is likely to include service to places such as Las Vegas, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as some transatlantic routes, Chief Commercial Officer Ben Smith says.

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