Which Canadian Airlines Have The Largest Fleets?

Unlike the United States, Canada’s aviation market is dominated by just a couple of carriers. Things are far more diversified down south. But in Canada, just two airlines pack a punch when it comes to fleet size – Air Canada and WestJet. But, there are also a few other airlines worth a mention when it comes to aircraft fleet size in Canada

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Air Canada is the biggest airline in Canada. Photo: Air Canada

Of course, there are different ways you can measure “big” when it comes to airlines. You could go by market share. In 2018, Air Canada had a 46% domestic market share in Canada. WestJet followed with a 34% market share. But we’re going to evaluate Canada’s biggest airlines by fleet size. Why? Because fleet size information is more current than market share information.

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Air Canada takes the top spot

Canada’s biggest airline is Air Canada. According to planespotters.net, as of Tuesday, Air Canada had 166 aircraft across its fleet. Not all of those planes are flying at the moment. The same website says 69 of Air Canada’s planes are parked.

Of those 166 aircraft, there’s a mixed bag of types. There are a dozen A220-300s and A319-100s each. There are 15 A321-200s and A330-300s each. Air Canada has slightly more A320-200s, having 26.

Shifting away from the Airbus collection, Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAXs, 25 Boeing 777s, including six Boeing 777-200s and 19 Boeing 777-300s. Finally, there are the Dreamliners. Air Canada has eight Boeing 787-8s and 29 Boeing 787-9s.

Nipping at Air Canada’s heels

Another high profile Canadian airline is WestJet. It is nipping at Air Canada’s heels, with 123 planes. According to planespotters.net, as of yesterday, 49 of those planes were flying, and 74 were parked.

WestJet has a more simplified fleet, operating only two primary types. That simplified fleet may be one of the secrets to its success. WestJet has six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that it was using on long-haul international flights. The airline also has 117 Boeing 737s.

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WestJet planes at Calgary International Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Across WestJet’s Boeing 737s, there are four sub-types. WestJet has 13 Boeing 737 MAXs, which remain grounded in Canada a week after the US Federal Aviation Administration gave the planes the go-ahead to return to service in the United States. There are also 13 Boeing 737-600s, 52 Boeing 737-700s, and 39 Boeing 737-800s.

Similar in fleet size is Jazz. The Nova Scotia-based airline operates planes for Air Canada under the Air Canada Express brand. Airfleets.net says Jazz has 123 planes, of which 50 are parked. Included in the Jazz fleet are 35 Canadair Regional Jets. Within this aircraft family are nine CRJ200s, 16 CRJ700s, and 10 CRJ900s. Jazz also had 63 Dash 8s. The majority of Jazz’s parked planes are Dash 8s. All up, Jazz has 11 Dash 8-100s, 17 Dash 8-300s, and 35 Dash 8-400s.

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One of Jazz’s CRJ operating under the Air Canada Express brand. Photo: Air Canada

A couple of other airlines worth a look

Montreal-based Air Transat is another substantial Canadian airline with a fleet of 36 planes. As of yesterday, planespotters.net says Air Transat has seven A321-200s, seven rather nifty A321neos, two Boeing 737-800s, and 20 Airbus 330s. Among the A330s are 16 A330-200s and four A330-300s.

That’s an interesting fleet mix, but Air Transat specializes in charter flights to holiday destinations. Normally, it doesn’t have any problems filling an A330 and jetting chilled Canadians off somewhere warm. This year is a little different; 27 of Air Transat’s 36 aircraft are parked.

Like any self-respecting full-service premium airline, Air Canada has a “leisure” spin-off airline, Air Canada Rouge. It is a much smaller airline than Air Canada, with only 21 aircraft in its fleet, and 16 of those planes are not currently flying.

According to planespotters.net, Air Canada Rouge has 14 A321-200s, four A320-200s, and three A319-100s.

Are there any other Canadian airlines you think should be on the list? Post a comment and let us know.

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