Back in 2013, Air Canada first announced their orders of 61 737 MAX’s (33 MAX-8s and 28 MAX-9s) from Boeing to renew their narrowbody fleet of Airbus A320s and A321s.
President of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc, Robert Kokonis said, “It’s about matching supply with demand – putting the right aircraft on a route. Airlines are constantly juggling fleet allocation.”
The airline will receive its first two 737 MAX 8s by the end of 2017 and will receive another 16 in 2018. Air Canada is making their Boeing footprint a lot larger; and replacing their narrowbody fleets with Boeing jets will make the fleet primarily Boeing. The airline currently operates eight A330-300s for long haul routes, but again this widebody fleet is dominated by Boeing with 767s, 777s and 787s.
The 737 MAX 8 is expected to replace the A320, whilst the 737 MAX 9 is expected to supplement the Airbus A321. Bombardier’s new C-Series aircraft are expected to replace Air Canada’s fleet of Airbus A319s and Embraer E-190s, starting in 2019.
“The MAX airplane’s capability and range are something we haven’t had in a narrowbody aircraft of that size,” said Air Canada’s vice-president of global sales Duncan Bureau. “We are extremely pleased with the capability of the aircraft.” The 737 MAX will give Air Canada greater flexibility and versatility within the lucrative North American market, with routes like Victoria to Toronto/Montreal being one of the routes that the plane is envisaged to take on. Trans-border routes into the US, as well as routes to the Caribbean and Mexico are also on the radar for route planners at the airline.
The 737 MAX could also possibly be used to enter smaller markets in Europe and Hawaii.
Boeing has said that the MAX 8 can hold around 200 passengers, with the MAX 9 holding around 220. During a conference with industry analysts in February 2017, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said that the seating configuration of the carrier’s 737 MAX’s are yet to be finalised.
It is currently unknown if the 737 MAX’s will be introduced to Air Canada’s leisure subsidiary Rouge. Ben Smith, Air Canada’s president of passenger airlines has said that he expects the mainline fleet of Boeing 767s to perform well into the next decade, which could signal a long life for the twin at the airline. Air Canada Rouge also operates the 767, with many of them equipped with winglets, unlike the mainline fleet.
We look forward to seeing the new 737 MAX debut with many airlines over the next few years.