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.
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?
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
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.
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.