Air Canada gives more details on Rouge fleet plan

Washington DC
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Air Canada plans to deploy 42 aircraft into its Rouge low-cost carrier by December 2015, a presentation given by executive vice-president Michael Rousseau and treasurer Pierre Houle shows.

The executives were speaking on 25 February at the J.P. Morgan Global High Yield and Leveraged Finance Conference in Miami Beach.

The Rouge fleet will consist of 10 aircraft by the end of 2013, including two Boeing 767-300s and eight Airbus A319 narrowbodies. The carrier previously announced it would start up operations in July with two of each type and now indicates it plans to add six more Airbus A319s to the fleet by the end of the year.

Air Canada plans to add five more Boeing 767-300s into the Rouge fleet in 2014. The transition will occur as the carrier takes delivery of seven Boeing 787s that year, freeing up older aircraft to move to the low-cost carrier. Air Canada will add five more 767-300s and five more A319s to Rouge in 2015.

Air Canada has said that Rouge could operate up to 20 767-300ERs and 30 A319s as the new Boeing 787s enter the mainline fleet. According to the presentation, all of the planned A319 capacity will materialise by the end of 2015. However, there will still be room for eight more 767-300s in addition to the 12 scheduled to enter the fleet by that time.

Other fleet changes include the planned addition of five more Boeing 777-300 aircraft between the end of 2012 and 2015 and the transfer of 15 Embraer 175 aircraft from the mainline fleet to Air Canada's regional partner Sky Regional.

The combined Air Canada and Rouge fleets totalled 205 aircraft at the end of December 2012 and will contract in December 2013 to 193 aircraft. In December 2014 the fleet will grow to 201 aircraft and eventually reach 207 aircraft in 2015.

Air Canada told investors on a 7 February conference call that Boeing has not indicated it should anticipate any changes in its 787 delivery schedule since issues with the aircraft's lithium-ion battery came to light.