Air Canada is to retain ownership of Canadian Regional Airlines in the absence of bidders for the carrier, inherited via its purchase of Canadian Airlines.

Air Canada was forced to invite bids for Canadian Regional, which provided feed to Canadian, in return for approval of its takeover plan by the Canadian Competition Bureau. But a combination of a high reserve price, the age of the regional's fleet, union vows to fight a new owner and the lack of peak landing slots in Toronto meant no bids were forthcoming.

The estimated C$100 million ($68 million) price appeared high; Air Canada bought the much larger Canadian for C$92 million.

Canadian Regional, with annual revenues of C$580 million, operates to 39 destinations, mostly in western Canada, using 32 Fokker F28s, 14 Dash 8-300s and 10 Dash 8-100s, although Air Canada says this fleet will probably be upgraded when it announces its own C$2.5 billion aircraft requirements in a few weeks time.

Source: Flight International