Air Canada is studying the potential for a major expansion of its ultra-long-haul widebody fleet. It is poised, meanwhile, to decide whether the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 will replace its ageing 767 inventory.

The airline operates two A340-500s, serving Hong Kong from Toronto, and is looking to open several more routes requiring the range capability of the -500 or the rival 777-200LR, said Yves Dufresne, Air Canada vice-president international, alliances and regulatory affairs, speaking during last week's Lisbon ceremony marking the induction of TAP Portugal into the Star Alliance.

He said services under consideration include Vancouver to Sydney and points in South-East Asia – understood to be Bangkok and Singapore – as well as the addition of Toronto to Mumbai and Shanghai. Toronto-Delhi is currently operated with the A340-300, but would benefit from a longer-range type, said Dufresne.

He said Air Canada "is hoping to make some decision in the short to medium term, but it is fluid". He declined to specify the number of aircraft sought, but it is understood about eight could be needed, possibly including the replacement of the leased A340-500s. The slow-selling 777-200LR completed its first flight earlier this month.


Source: Flight International