AIR CANADA: Canadian Flag Carrier Airline
Only one airline in a country can carry its national flag. In Canada, the privilege of enjoying the preferential rights of carrying Canadian flag belongs to Air Canada, the largest airline of Canada. The airline provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world’s ninth largest passenger airline by number of destinations.
Air Canadais one of the founding members of Star Alliance – the world’s first and largest airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany, that provides the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. The alliance was founded in 1997 by five of the world’s leading airlines: Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines. The five-point star logo of Star Alliance represents the five original founding airlines. Air Canada’s corporate headquarters are located in Montreal, while its largest hub is Toronto Pearson International Airport. Air Canada has passenger revenues of about CA$10 billion. Together with its regional partners, the airline operates on average more than 1,370 scheduled flights daily. Air Canada’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), was founded in 1936 by Canadian federal government and inaugurated its first flight on September 1, 1937. The 50-minute flight aboard a Lockheed L-10A carried two passengers and mail between Vancouver and Seattle. Airline began operating its first transcontinental flight routes in 1938. By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada’s national airline; it changed its name to Air Canada. Following the 1980s deregulation of the Canadian airline market, the airline was privatized in 1989. By 2006, 31 million people flew with Air Canada as the airline celebrated its 70th anniversary. Today, Air Canada is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world, with approximately 22,900 full-time equivalent employees.
Air Canada FleetThe Air Canada fleet consists of 204 aircrafts. Air Canada operates a fleet of Airbus A330, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777 wide-body jetliners on long-haul routes, and uses Airbus A320 family aircraft, including the A319, A320, and A321 variations and Embraer E170/E190 family aircraft on short-haul routes. Fleet modernization On 31 October 2004, the last Air Canada Boeing 747 flight landed in Toronto from Frankfurt as AC873, ending 33 years of 747 service with the airline. It was replaced by the Airbus A340 fleet. On 19 October 2005, Air Canada unveiled a new aircraft colour scheme and uniforms. Air Canada has made a change in uniform by changing the dark green for a midnight blue colour. The uniforms were designed by Canadian fashion designer Debbie Shuchat. At a presentation in the Toronto Pearson International Airport hangar, Celine Dion helped the newly-solvent airline debut its new image. In November 2005, Air Canada entered into an agreement to renew its wide-body fleet by purchasing 18 Boeing 777s, and 14 Boeing 787-8s. Air Canada has also taken delivery of 15 Embraer 175s and 45 Embraer 190s. Project XM Started in July 2006, and now completed, Project XM: Extreme Makeover, is a $300-million aircraft interior replacement project to install new cabins on all aircraft. New aircraft such as the Boeing 777 are being delivered with the new cabins factory installed. The new interior is a revamp of the cabin and the installation of individual video displays in both Executive First and Economy classes. New cabin features include:
- In Executive First, new horizontal fully flat Executive First Suites (on B767s, B777s and A330s).
- New entertainment options.
- Personal AVOD (8.9in/230mm touch-screen LCD)
- Larger AVOD (12in/300mm touch-screen LCD) equipped with noise-cancelling Sennheiser headphones available in Executive First Suites.
- Interactive games and XM Radio Canada at all seats in Executive and Economy;
- USB ports to recharge electronic devices and for game controllers; plugs for laptops in both classes.