Air Canada Retires Its Maiden Airbus A320

Air Canada is retiring its first-ever Airbus A320 today, on April 6th. The 30-year-old aircraft first arrived in 1990 and has departed the airline’s fleet for retirement at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona.

Air Canada first A320
Air Canada is retiring its first-ever Airbus A320. Photo: Eddie Maloney via Flickr

Air Canada sends its maiden A320 off to Arizona

According to Planespotters, C-FDQQ is Air Canada’s first-ever Airbus A320. The airframe arrived in the flag carrier’s fleet 30 years ago in 1990.

Air Canada Retires Its Maiden Airbus A320
Air Canada still has another A320 in its fleet delivered in 1990. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

C-FDQQ departed Montreal (YUL) for the final time on April 6th and flew west towards Pinal Airpark (MZJ) in Arizona. Unfortunately, Pinal Airpark is not a sunny retirement village for planes. Older planes are often scrapped for parts to never fly again.

Delta Pinal
Scrapped Delta aircraft at Pinal Airpark. Photo: Getty Images

Older aircraft can reduce an airline’s efficiency. They require more maintenance and are not as reliable or as fuel-efficient as newer planes.

The weather in Arizona is good for storing aircraft. The dry environment means less physical stress on the bodywork. This helps preserve the aircraft. Not too long before this retirement, Air Canada also flew a Boeing 737 MAX to storage there. Although, unlike this aircraft, the 737 MAX will return to service.

Air Canada Retires Its Maiden Airbus A320
Air Canada flew a 737 MAX to Arizona for storage. Photo: Getty Images

The Airbus A320

Air Canada still has other Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet. Although, these aircraft are getting old. Most of these aircraft were delivered in the early 1990s with another batch in the early 2000s. At 20-30 years old, these aircraft are reaching the end of their commercial lifespan.

AC A320 Air Canada
Air Canada’s Airbus A320s are getting old. Photo: Air Canada

To replace the A320s, Air Canada has 737 MAX aircraft on order as well as a number of A220s. Though not perfect replacements in size, these aircraft offer far better fuel economics for the carrier.

Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX
The 737 MAX could replace some of the A320s. Photo: Getty Images

Given the current state of the aviation world, it makes sense for Air Canada to retire older aircraft. Not only does the airline not need the capacity now, but given the amount of maintenance these older aircraft would require, it is better for the airline to cut its costs.

Aircraft retirement

Given the current global slump in air travel, airlines are speeding up retirements of older aircraft. The capacity is not necessary anymore and the costs of maintaining that aircraft do no favor to current losses.

Air Canada also has the larger Airbus A321 in its fleet. Photo: Air Canada


For now, the first-ever Airbus A320 for Air Canada is off to retirement in the desert of Arizona. The plane flew for 30 years under the Air Canada banner and transported a fair number of passengers.

Are you sad to see Air Canada’s first-ever Airbus A320 head for retirement? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Flying reached out to Air Canada for comment. However, the airline was not immediately available. This article will be updated accordingly.