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737 MAX grounding hits Air Canada harder than other airlines

New York - Air Canada says the 737 MAX grounding hit the company harder than other airlines since the aircraft constitutes a large portion of its total narrowbody jet fleet.

The 737 MAX grounding caused a severe decrement in the airline’s existing passenger capacity. Air Canada could only compensate around half of its lost MAX capacity since March, Chief Financial Officer Michael Rousseau said at the annual Cowen & Co. Transportation conference on September 4.

Unlike other Boeing 737 MAX operators, Air Canada has no previous generation 737s in its fleet. The MAX grounding left Air Canada's 737 pilots mostly idle this year except training.

The Canadian flag carrier stopped recruiting pilots until the aircraft is allowed to fly again.

We have a couple of hundred pilots sitting around not doing a lot,

Rousseau added.

Air Canada has 24 737 MAX 8 in its fleet and 26 more in its order book with the American aircraft manufacturer waiting to be delivered.

The operator was expecting to receive 12 additional MAX jets this summer before the aircraft was grounded by global regulators on March 3 following the second fatal crash within five months.

Air Canada is planning to replace older Airbus A320 family jets (16 A319-100, 41 A320-200, 15 A321-200) in its fleet with the 737 MAXs.