Air Georgian wins new regional flying for Air Canada

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Air Canada has chosen Toronto-based regional carrier Air Georgian to replace Jazz Aviation on certain regional flights after undergoing a request for proposals (RFP) process from both Canadian and US-based carriers.

The memorandum of understanding will expand the number of regional routes that Air Georgian flies under its capacity purchase agreement with Air Canada and will include transborder flying.

Under the agreement, Air Georgian will begin operating Bombardier CRJ regional aircraft—a larger model than the 18-seat Beechcraft 1900D aircraft in its fleet today.

Air Georgian first partnered with Air Canada in 2000 and flies more than 350,000 passengers per year under the Air Canada Express banner. Its route network includes 19 cities in the USA and Canada.

Air Canada says it chose the regional operator to take the work based on a “broad range of criteria including operational safety, efficiency, cost and service.” The airline released the RFP in September to reduce costs and diversify its regional partners.

"We are pleased to expand our longstanding commercial relationship with Air Georgian that will allow Air Canada to introduce more cost-competitive operations in a number of our key regional markets," says Kevin Howlett, Air Canada's senior vice-president, regional markets in a statement.

Jazz Aviation continues to operate a majority of Air Canada’s regional flights with its fleet of Bombardier regional aircraft and turboprops, but the airline has made moves to enhance its relationships with other regional carriers. Earlier this year Sky Regional started operating 15 Embraer 175s transferred from Air Canada’s mainline fleet for transborder flights in addition to the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops it flies out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The carrier also has an agreement with Exploits Valley Air Service (EVAS).

Air Canada has said it will “abide by all terms" of its existing capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with Jazz in this process, which has terms effective through 2020. The contract includes a guarantee for Jazz to operate a minimum fleet of 122 aircraft for Air Canada under this agreement.