Air Canada has issued an update on its flight operations and schedules following the widely publicised grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
This has caused significant problems for Air Canada as it had 24 of the aircraft in service. It was also due to receive a further 12 aircraft this summer and deliveries of new aircraft have been suspended by Boeing.
The grounding of aircraft has caused disruption to flights within North America and is also causing disruption to Air Canada’s summer schedule.
As a consequence of this, Air Canada’s routes from London Heathrow to Halifax, Nova Scotia; and St John’s, Newfoundland remain suspended until Thursday 1 August 2019 at the earliest. These were scheduled for resumption on Sunday 2 June 2019 and Air Canada has updated its schedules today, Thursday 25 April 2019.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled will be re-accommodated via Air Canada services from London Heathrow to Montreal and Toronto. However, this obviously involves significant backtracking and extended journey times.
Outside of London, summer seasonal routes have been delayed and some routes have been swapped between Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The airline is also wet-leasing aircraft from Qatar Airways on some routes, subject to regulatory approval.
Over the past couple of years there has been significant growth in routes between London and Canada, notably with the launch of flights by Canadian airline WestJet this summer from London Gatwick to a number of cities in Canada.
Although WestJet’s entry into the long-haul market was far from smooth with significant technical problems with its fleet of 2nd hand aircraft, it is pressing ahead with its long-haul operation at London Gatwick.
Air Canada Rouge, the leisure subsidiary airline of Air Canada, is to launch summer seasonal flights from London Gatwick to Toronto Pearson airport from 19 May 2016.
Flights will operate up to 7 times weekly.
Air Canada Rouge also flies between Toronto and Manchester and Edinburgh on a summer seasonal basis. Air Canada’s domestic rival WestJet also announced this month that it is to fly between London Gatwick and as yet unspecified destinations in Canada in summer 2016.
Air Canada Rouge flights will be operated by a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 24 Premium rouge seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 256 rouge seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Passengers travelling in the Premium rouge cabin have lounge access at the airport, a complimentary checked baggage allowance, complimentary food and drink and free use of a tablet for in flight entertainment.
Passengers travelling in the main rouge cabin have complimentary food and drink and can download an app to watch in flight entertainment on their smartphone or tablet. There is no seat back in flight entertainment.
We have no direct experience of Air Canada Rouge but we would offer the observation that 280 seats is a very dense seating configuration for a Boeing 767. By contrast, an Air Canada Boeing 767 with a traditional business class cabin has 211 seats. Such a dense configuration will have an impact on not only in seat comfort, but also at boarding, access to overhead locker space and washrooms etc.
Flights will be on sale at Fly Rouge from 2 July 2015.
Update: Here’s the timetable with convenient timings for the leisure traveller to maximise their holiday time.
Flight AC1925 Depart London Gatwick 12:00 – Arrive Toronto Pearson 15:00
Flight AC1924 Depart Toronto Pearson 22:10 – Arrive London Gatwick 10:15
Update (2): This route has been suspended from the 2018 summer season.