Air Canada to analyze fleet growth options for its low-cost subsidiary

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Montreal - Air Canada discusses the idea of converting its subsidiary Air Canada Rouge's single-aisle fleet into a high-density single-class configuration. The company might decide to move its B737 MAX 8s to its low-cost subsidiary.

Rouge is very competitive, but now we have the bi-class cabin. It's easy for us to convert them to a single class as we mentioned in the past which makes us even more competitive,
said Benjamin Smith, President of Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

According to the terms of its current agreement with pilots, Air Canada is free to develop Rouge's narrowbody fleet without constraints once all B787-9s are delivered to the group in 2019.

The previous agreement had limited Rouge's fleet to 50 aircraft. But the current contract enables for further expansion, which might also include the 737 MAXs of Air Canada. But Calin Rovinescu, the CEO of Air Canada, explained that so far the company has no such plans.

Air Canada believes that its low-cost operator Air Canada Rouge will be well-positioned to compete with WestJet's newly launched low-cost subsidiary Swoop, as well as other players in the low-cost market such as Flair Airlines. Air Canada rouge might also take on some regional routes from Air Canada Jazz, Rovinescu added.

Air Canada has a total of 61, B737 MAX waiting to be delivered from Boeing (49, B737 MAX 8 and 12, B737 MAX 9). Four out of the eight have already been delivered.

Air Canada rouge currently operates 20 A319-100, 6 A321, and 24 B767-300(ER). Two more A319 and one B767-300(ER) are expected to be transferred from the parent Air Canada by Summer of 2018.



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