Air Canada is celebrating the first flight of its newly refurbished Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 flew from Montreal to Vancouver on June 24th. In 2018, Air Canada chose to do an interior refit on its A330s. This was in addition to adding more A330s to its fleet to replace its aging Boeing 767 fleet. The final 767 operated its last commercial flight on June 3rd.
The first flight
Air Canada tweeted that it is looking for things to celebrate during this challenging time, and its newly refurbished Airbus A330 is undoubtedly worth celebrating. The aircraft, registration C-GFUR left Montreal a little late at 19:26 local time and landed in Vancouver over four and half hours later at 21:07 local time.
The plane had flown the day before for just under an hour as it moved from Montreal’s Mirabel International Airport to the main Trudeau Airport in Montreal. Eventually, Air Canada has planned on using the new A330s for international routes from Montreal across the Atlantic. However, with travel restrictions still in place due to COVID-19, the aircraft’s first flight was within Canadian borders.
We’re celebrating new firsts! Like AC311 from Montreal to Vancouver, the first flight operated with our newly retrofitted @Airbus #A330 now featuring our newly reconfigured cabin design. pic.twitter.com/M1PE9L6ME7
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) June 24, 2020
Air Canada chose to work with ST Aerospace to refurbish its aircraft and bring them in line with its Boeing 777s and 787s. Despite recent complications, the aircraft have been finished on time. The airline’s A330s have an average age of just over 15 years.
The A330 economy cabin is in a 2-4-2 configuration with Panasonic eX3 touchscreen seatback entertainment screens for all passengers. Premium economy features a 2-3-2 configuration with Signature Class in 1-2-1. Each seat also has its own power outlet and USB charging point.
Overhauling other aircraft
The Airbus A330s aren’t the only planes Air Canada has been overhauling recently. The airline recently repurposed four Boeing 777 jets to carry more cargo to essential workers. One 777 was used to take over 20 tonnes of facemasks for Canadians during the pandemic. By transforming the passenger cabin and removing the seats, Air Canada was able to double each plane’s cargo capacity. The airline also converted three A330s to carry cargo.
Air Canada is also welcoming brand-new Airbus A220s into its fleet. The airline has taken delivery of five new A220s since December of last year, with a further 13 A220s scheduled for delivery later this year. A new A330 should be joining the Air Canada fleet later this year as well.
Air Canada is going through a definite period of change when it comes to its fleet. It recently retired 79 aircraft early and cut the number of Boeing 737 MAX jets it will receive. Currently, the airline’s MAX jets remain grounded. With brand new A220s, newly refurbished A330, old aircraft sent to retirement, the airline should have a robust, young fleet to tackle this period of uncertainty.
What do you think of Air Canada’s fleet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.