Surprise: New York sees its first Air Canada Airbus A220
Travelers at New York LaGuardia got a surprise on Saturday with the arrival of the first Air Canada Airbus A220 at the airfield.
The Canadian carrier flew one of its A220-300s on a nonrevenue flight to LaGuardia (LGA) on Saturday, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24. TPG understands that the purpose of the flight is staff familiarization.
Familiarization flights are common for airlines. The practice allows ground staff, including baggage handlers and gate agents, to become accustomed to a new aircraft before they need to service it under the pressure of passenger service.
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Air Canada is due to begin passenger A220 flights to LaGuardia from Montreal Trudeau (YUL) on March 10, Cirium schedule data shows. The jet will operate one of the airline's eight daily flights in each direction on the route.
The A220-300's arrival at LaGuardia is both the first Air Canada A220 at the airport, as well as the first of the larger -300 variant there. Delta Air Lines began flying the smaller A220-100 to the New York-area airport in February 2019.
The Star Alliance carrier unveiled its first A220 on Jan. 15. In a ceremony at its Montreal hangar, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu called the event "historic," citing the Canadian origins of the jet that was developed by Bombardier before being sold to Airbus in 2018.
Related: Onboard Air Canada’s first Airbus A220
Air Canada introduced the A220 to passengers on flights between Montreal and Calgary (YYC) a day later.
The airline operated one A220 with orders for another 44 jets at the end of January, Airbus data shows.
Air Canada was not immediately available for comment on the LaGuardia flight.