Air Canada Ferries A Boeing 737 MAX To Arizona For Storage

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Today an Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 is flying from the airline’s hub in Montreal to Marana, Arizona in the United States. The aircraft took off at 13:13 local time and is currently making its way across the continent towards the arid climate of the southern United States. In all likelihood, the aircraft is heading there for storage.

Air Canada originally purchased 61 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2013. Photo: Getty Images

The flight

The flight number is listed as AC2359, flying from Montreal, Quebec to Marana, Arizona. In the air is a Boeing 737 MAX 8 with registration C-FSOI. The relatively new aircraft is just 1.8 years old and has manufacturer serial number 61223.

Interestingly, this is not the first flight of AC2359. On March 13th we saw another Boeing 737 MAX 8 make the same journey to Marana – one with registration C-FSNU. Could we see more of these flights in the future?

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The flight path of AC2359 for aircraft C-FSNU. Today C-FSOI will take the same flight. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

What’s in Marana, Arizona?

Located on the outskirts of Marana is the airport that serves the town. Airport code MZJ, the name of this facility is Pinal Airpark. The airpark’s primary function serves as a boneyard for civilian commercial aircraft. This is because it is located in an arid desert climate, which is less corrosive to aircraft than other places in the world.

Pinal Airpark is the home of Ascent Aviation Services. Ascent one of the largest aircraft storage and heavy maintenance facilities in the world. With 20 million square feet of ramp and storage area, it can accommodate over 400 aircraft.

“Ascent Aviation Services is your premier storage partner featuring nearly 500 acres of secure aircraft storage at both our TUS and MZJ facilities—both located in Arizona’s ideal dry climate. We provide our customers with the flexibility to meet your aircraft needs.” –Ascent Aviation Services website

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Air Canada recently reduced its Boeing 737 MAX order. Now, the Canadian carrier will take 11 fewer of the type than initially planned. Photo: Getty Images

Why would it fly its aircraft to storage?

If these aircraft are indeed headed for storage, it would not be a surprise in the least. Due to the current situation, governments have been putting up travel restrictions and triggering airline flight suspensions. This knock-on effect has seen airlines around the world announce the grounding of their larger jets. So why the smaller 737 MAX?

According to Airfleets, Air Canada has had 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft delivered. However, the 737 MAX is still under a worldwide-grounding while Boeing works with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to re-certify the type. Many reports indicate that the middle of 2020 is when we will see the MAX “fit to fly” once more. However, there is certainly no guarantee that this will happen. Even if it does – there are doubts as to how much demand we will see for the aircraft as the global economy faces a recession.

In fact, Air Canada recently cut its Boeing 737 MAX order by 11 aircraft.

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Conclusion

We don’t have any official confirmation of the purpose of these flights. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that all signs point to aircraft storage. The fact that there is a worldwide decrease in air travel combined with Marana’s reputation for being a destination for longer-term aircraft storage gives us a pretty good picture of what is going on.

Do you think there might be any other reason that these aircraft could be flying to Marana? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Simple Flying reached out to Air Canada to confirm our findings. However, at the time of publishing, we have yet to receive a response from the airline.

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mohave

Goodyear also has a bunch of Max. Cheap storage. Room for some at Kingman.

Martyn

Does this mean Air Canada doesn't expect the 737 Max to be certified this year ?

Murray Henley

Things are pointing towards Air Canada trying to distance itself from the MAX. They know passengers will try to avoid flying on it. When the MAX re-enters service, I expect to see Air Canada selling (at bargain price) the MAXes it has on hand and on order.

The only missing ingredient is Air Canada finding a replacement. Current A320s won’t last forever. Air Canada could increase its order for A220s and order some A330neos as a sweetener to get Airbus to allocate it A320neos in the near and mid term.

Andy

Air Canada ha decided to dump the MAX and will sell them to another airline if they are ungrounded. Marana is a great place to hand them over with repainting etc. If the MAX is never ungrounded, then Marana is a great place to……..

Russ

Air Canada has been storing their fleet of 737-MAX8 aircraft at Marana for quite some time. I logged 12 of them at Marana on October 15th 2019, brought down to avoid the inclement winter weather in Canada. They are not all there, as some ferry up to Montreal or Windsor receive some maintenance or to be used for pilot training. Of the 24 delivered to AC so far, generally 17 or 18 are at Marana at any one time. All 24 have, at some point, spent time at Marana, just not all at the same time.

So, the “news” that C-FSOI and C-FSNU are or have been ferried to Marana is nothing to be excited about. This has been going on regularly since AC’s MAX’s were first moved to MZJ last year. Incidentally, most of the WestJet fleet moved to Marana last month.

Kevin

Here’s one more possibility. FAA has ordered Boeing to re-route the wiring bundles in the Max before it can fly. Marana very likely has the FAA Certification to do that work. Air Canada may be sending them there for the dual purpose of wiring bundle re-route and dry climate storage. Demand for the Max by passenger’s, even after a potential re-certification, will be dismal. Air Canada doubtlessly has figured this out.

Christian

I think AC is permanently removing the MAX from its fleet (and they won’t be the last airline to do so). Once business picks up, there will very likely be some late-model A320ceos and 737NGs that will be available short term until AC is able to get A320neos and (additional) A220s.

Brian

I work at Pinal Air Park, they are here for active storage until The FAA, Boeing, and the FAA equivalent from other Countries clear the planes to fly passenger service.

Ron

Does Boeing receive the bulk of airplane payment when the MAX is delivered? Does anyone factually know if airlines are compelled to accept the 737 MAX’s upon completion? Or could Boeing be going through the motions of trying to get the 737 MAX re-certified and then have them lag for a few years to when there is the appetite in the traveling public to use them?

Georgie bool

Boeing must be punished for the sins they have dumped on the world

Robert Burns

These aircraft need to be stored in a non corrosive environment Therefore Montreal is not a diserable climate to store any type of aircraft for a long period of time. They need to be faired to a location for long term storage.

Jeyapaul Samathanam

The Max 8 was Boeing’s recklessness in aircraft manufacture.It was totally unfortunate, given Boeing’s position in aviation. I don’t think we want to see Boeing sliding any further. Boeing, recover soon.Learn from your mistakes, please.