Air Canada Adds New California and Seattle Routes in Initial Airbus A220 Plans
Air Canada is preparing to debut the first Airbus A220-300 in the Americas early next year, with plans for new routes to Seattle and Silicon Valley.
The Star Alliance carrier will first introduce the aircraft on existing routes from its Montreal (YUL) and Toronto (YYZ) hubs before launching the new markets next May, Air Canada said Wednesday. The company will take delivery of its first A220 before the end of 2019. Delta already flies the A220-100, but Air Canada will be the first in North America to fly the larger -300 variant.
Air Canada will add daily service to San Jose (SJC) in California from Toronto, and to Seattle Tacoma (SEA) from Montreal on May 4. Airline executives suggested both routes as possible new markets for the aircraft this past January.
“The A220 will further strengthen our position on transborder and transcontinental markets and be instrumental in our continued growth,” Mark Galardo, vice-president of network planning at Air Canada, said in a statement. "The two routes announced today are the first of many future possibilities as the A220 will allow us to further develop our North American network.”
Air Canada's positioning to improve its transborder network comes as primary domestic competitor WestJet seeks a joint venture with Delta Air Lines. Such a pact would allow Delta and WestJet to act as essentially one carrier between Canada and the US, creating a more formidable competitor for Air Canada.
Prior to launching the new San Jose and Seattle routes, Air Canada plans to operate the A220 on existing routes to destinations including Calgary (YYC), Edmonton (YEG), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Ottawa (YOW) and Winnipeg (YWG).
Air Canada will outfit its A220-300s with 137 seats, including 12 business and 125 economy. Each seat will have personal in-flight entertainment, and the aircraft will be outfitted with satellite Wi-Fi.
Air Canada is the first to operate the stretched A220-300 in the Americas. Delta Air Lines debuted the A220-100 in February. AirBaltic was the global launch operator of the A220-300, then known as the Bombardier CS300, in 2016.
The Canadian airline expects just one A220-300 delivery this year, followed by 14 in 2020, its latest fleet plan shows. It has orders for 45 aircraft, which will replace its fleet of Embraer 190s.