Air Canada operates several subsidiaries for different purposes. Air Canada Express and Air Canada Rouge are the better-known ones, but there is also a private charter airline, known as Air Canada Jetz. It operates a small fleet of Airbus A319 aircraft in an all-business class configuration.
Available for private hire
Air Canada launched the Jetz subsidiary in 2001. It was intended to offer narrowbody aircraft for private charter in Canada – aiming at corporate clients, sports teams, and touring music groups. This is an unusual move for a major airline to have dedicated private hire aircraft available. There must be some success in it, though, as the model continues 20 years on.
According to Air Canada, previous clients include Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and The Rolling Stones. The main users, however, have been Canadian sports teams. Air Canada has contracts to carry teams for the Canadian National Hockey League (NHL). It has also contracted with some US NHL teams.
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Inside the A319s
The Jetz fleet currently consists of just three Airbus A319 aircraft (they are owned by Air Canada and part of its main fleet). These carry registrations C-GBHN, C-GBIA, and C-GBIK. A fourth aircraft, with registration C-FYKR, has been fitted out with business seats but has yet to enter active service. Previously it also operated the larger Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-200.
The A319s are configured as all-business class, with just 58 seats. For comparison, the A319s in standard service with Air Canada are configured with 106 economy and 14 business class seats. Air Canada Rouge increases this to 136 seats.
These are not luxurious suites or lie flat beds. There are more like long-haul premium economy seats or North American domestic first class seats, arranged 2-2 with a seat pitch of 42 to 29 inches.
The aircraft have one unusual feature – two tables located mid-way along the cabin, between rows 11 and 12. One row of seats is reversed to allow four seats to be arranged around each table.
Appearing on scheduled services
Many things in aviation changed during the pandemic. With the demand for private hire disappearing, the Air Canada Jetz fleet saw use for scheduled service. They only operated for a short period over the winter 2020 season, from Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto to the following destinations:
- Montreal: Barbados and Vancouver
- Toronto: Barbados, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Cancun, Kelowna, and Vancouver
- Vancouver: Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Puerto Vallarta
Explaining the rare chance to book such services, Air Canada VP of network planning and alliances Mark Galardo said:
“Customers booking on a Jetz flight will enjoy such amenities as its all-Business Class seating configuration, upgraded meal service, and shorter boarding and deplaning times. These features, combined with Jetz’s other attributes, create a private-jet-like experience.”
These scheduled Jetz services only operated from December 12th 2020 to January 2021. The A319s are now back in their usual role of private charter.
Have you flown on an Air Canada Jetz A319? Did you get a chance to fly them during their scheduled service in winter 2020? Let us know in the comments.