Air Canada Operates First Flights With New A220 RetroJet

Air Canada rolled out its new A220 Retrojet today, sending the plane off on its first official Air Canada flight. The eye-catching vintage livery pays tribute to Trans-Canada Air Lines, the original name of Air Canada. Soon, the aircraft will be turning heads at airports around Canada.

Air Canada is rolling out its distinctive A220-300 RetroJet. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada welcomes the RetroJet to official service

Over the past week, the A220-300 (registration C-GNBN) has made several flights around Montreal’s Mirabel Airport. The most recent was on Monday when the plane spent three and a half hours in the air.

Today, via social media, Air Canada announced the RetroJet had made its first official flight for Air Canada. However, the flight-tracking website, has the plane still firmly on the ground at Mirabel. Other flight tracking sites support that. Simple Flying has reached out to Air Canada to clarify exactly what the “first official Air Canada flight” means.

The RetroJet is the 19th A220-300 to start flying for Air Canada. The nimble Airbus aircraft replace Air Canada’s pre-existing mainline fleet of smaller, older narrowbody aircraft, support the airline’s hub and network growth, and are helping create a younger and more fuel-efficient fleet.

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The right plane for the times at Air Canada

The first A220-300 landed at Air Canada in early 2020 just before things went pearshaped. Air Canada had big plans for its new aircraft type. The A220-300 has the capacity to fly from big Canadian airports like Montreal to west coast cities like Seattle. The aircraft would help open new markets and fuel growth at Air Canada.

In a roundabout way, the A220s came at the perfect time for Air Canada. People stopped flying. In addition to substituting for the now-retired Embraer ERJs,  the smaller A220 proved a better fit for many markets than Air Canada’s bigger Airbus A321 aircraft. In a year when every dollar counts, the A220-300 has a 20% lower fuel burn per seat than industry standards.

It helps explain why Air Canada remains enthusiastic about its fleet of new A220-300 aircraft. And with the airline continuing to attract criticism over refunds, some good PR is always welcome. As Air Canada rolls out their RetroJet, the airline is working hard to embed the A220 into the Canadian aviation scene, saying;

“Designed and built in Quebec, the Airbus A220-300 is an integral part of Air Canada’s fleet modernization, and each A220 includes parts from 30 companies that are based in or have activities in Canada, making this aircraft a true testament to the importance of the aviation sector in Canada.”

The A220-300 is the right plane for the times at Air Canada. Photo: Air Canada

Painting the A220-300 gets a bit more environmentally sustainable

As far as the A220-300 RetroJet goes, Air Canada says the distinctive look used 350 liters of paint and took a team of 75 employees nine days to complete. The airline is also keen to point out that even painting planes can be greener than it used to be.

When preparing the plane for its final coats of paint, Air Canada is now using a surface treatment solution that is chromium-free and has a low volatile organic compound content. While improving paint application and adhesion, it also has the benefit of significantly reducing the amount of water used in the painting process, saving more than 10,000 litres of water per aircraft.

What do you think of Air Canada’s new A220-300 RetroJet? Post a comment and let us know.