Air Canada Reveals TCA Retro Livery Airbus A220

Air Canada has revealed its retro livery Airbus A220-300. Inspired by Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), which was the forerunner to today’s Air Canada, the airline is tracing back its roots by painting its newest jet in this livery. This is not the first jet to sport the retro livery harkening back to TCA, but it will be the only airplane that flies this livery in Air Canada’s fleet.

Trans Canada A220
Air Canada has revealed a stunning retrojet Airbus A220. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s retro livery Airbus A220-300

Air Canada has officially revealed the retro Airbus A220-300 that sports the livery of Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA). The aircraft is registered as C-GNBN and is the newest Airbus A220-300 for Air Canada.

In February, Air Canada teased the retro Airbus A220-300 livery while the aircraft had just finished receiving the paint job in Mirabel. The livery itself is stunning, even though it is a little muted with a predominantly gray fuselage and a red stripe running down the length of the aircraft over the windows.

The TCA retro livery took nine days to paint on the Airbus A220-300. Using four colors, a total of 350 liters of paint were needed to fully coat the aircraft with this distinctive livery. Around 75 Air Canada employees from a variety of teams got involved in the painting of this aircraft.

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Trans-Canada Air Lines

Trans-Canada Air Lines was the former flag carrier of Canada. Founded in 1937, the airline flew for around 27 years as Canada’s premier air carrier. However, in the mid-1960s, the airline had become big and well-known.

Trans-Canada Air Lines existed for 27 years before rebranding into Air Canada. Photo: Gordon Hunter via Flickr

Striving to better represent Canada across the world, the airline decided to rebrand itself as “Air Canada.” However, this was not the first time that the airline called itself Air Canada. The name had previously been used for marketing the airline in French-speaking markets.

The TCA logo primarily featured the Maple Leaf, which is synonymous with Canada and arguably the most recognizable feature of Air Canada’s livery and branding. As the airline underwent a rebrand, the new corporate signature and logo were revealed, featuring the well-known Rondelle.

What happened to the old retro jet?

In 1997, celebrating the 60th anniversary of TCA, Air Canada debuted a special livery on a brand new Airbus A319. Registered as C-FZUH, the aircraft was a recognizable special livery that flew with the airline for over 20 years.

After 24 years in service, Air Canada retired the jet in January of 2021. As the airline takes more new jets like the Airbus A220-300 and Boeing 737 MAX, the airline is moving away from operating older and less efficient aircraft like the Airbus A319.

Air Canada, Trans World Airlines, Airbus A220
The livery was previously worn by an Air Canada A319 withdrawn from use in January, after 24 years of service. Photo: Getty Images

In many ways, the Airbus A220-300 is the natural successor to taking on the TCA livery. The A220, before Airbus bought a stake in the program, was a Canadian aircraft, and was designed by Bombardier. Even though it has the Airbus name on it, the initial jet’s design and the initial entry of the aircraft into service happened under Bombardier.

This Airbus A220 is coming to Air Canada from Mirabel, Quebec. Airbus kept an A220 manufacturing line open in Mirabel after purchasing the program, and Air Canada has continued to take a steady stream of jets from the facility.

This aircraft, arguably the most Canadian aircraft in the mainline fleet, is a sight that will delight passengers and avgeeks alike.

What do you think about this Air Canada retro A220 livery? Let us know in the comments!