Air Canada seems to find favor with the A220. In November 2020, there was talk of canceling 12 A220s on order. By February 2021, they were back on order again but deferred 18 deliveries. Today the airline announced it is ordering another 15 A220-300s to take the total order to 60. The initial order placed by Air Canada airline placed was for the Bombardier C Series in 2016, with a firm order for 45 aircraft and 30 options. 

Currently, the airline operates 31 of the original orders for 45. “The A220 is the perfect aircraft for our North American network thanks to its economics, and its fuel efficiency also supports Air Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions on the way to its goal of net zero emissions from all global operations by 2050,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “This expanded order for the A220, built up the road from our Montreal headquarters, is an important development in the modernization of our fleet and a clear indication that we are emerging from the pandemic solidly positioned for the future. The A220 has become a mainstay of our narrowbody fleet, and its performance and passenger comfort are enabling us to compete effectively in the North American market,” said Michael Rousseau, president and chief executive of Air Canada.

“This third re-order for the A220 in 2022 confirms the strong confidence that airlines worldwide have for this game-changing aircraft,” said Benoît Schultz, CEO of Airbus Canada and Head of country Canada for Airbus. It sure is a good endorsement after some bumps. The A220 is a hit for Airbus.

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, noted: “…the A220 has established itself as an efficient route-opener, as well as mainline workhorse, strengthening the carriers’ continental network while delivering on Air Canada’s ambitious decarbonization targets…”  The route opener function is a key item. The A220 enables Air Canada to swoop into US cities and gather connecting traffic for long hauls. 

Air Canada gets around the US scope clause that limits so much of the US regional traffic – it can drop the A220 into markets because of its low operating costs and cherry-pick traffic. If you live in “Anywhere USA” and need to connect to Europe (or Asia), hubbing in Toronto or Montreal is probably as effective as Atlanta, Chicago, or DFW.  

This A220 news, by the way, should be considered with Porter’s E2 order in mind.  Air Canada and Canadian LCCs are closing as many opportunities as possible for Porter.  It will get messy up north as fares decline, with seat supply rising and chasing a relatively small market.  This means Air Canada can “hoover up” even more connecting traffic from the US.  That, in turn, will annoy the big US airlines no end.  We’ve said numerous times – the A220 and E2 are disruptive.  Which is, ultimately, good for passengers.  This competition fits perfectly with Joseph Schumpeter‘s theory of creative destruction.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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