MIAMI — Air Canada says it will keep 25 Embraer E190 aircraft it planned to retire in 2015. The decision functionally rules out a possible CSeries order into the foreseeable future.
The Canadian flag carrier currently has 45 E190s in its fleet, each of which seats 97. The airline was considering replacing the jets, and is still ditching 20 as part of a deal with Boeing. Those jets will be replaced by leasing other narrow-body aircraft.
The decision to keep the other 25 airplanes in stock hands Bombardier another CSeries setback. The company was hoping to snag the carrier to spur further interest and program confidence as the order book remains sluggish.
A spokesperson for Bombardier remained upbeat, saying “Air Canada is a valued customer of ours, and we still believe the CSeries is the perfect aircraft for them…We’re just going to wait, and when they are ready to move forward, we will be there. We are fairly optimistic that when the time is right, we will restart discussions.”
Air Canada did not immediately return a request for comment.
The carrier has already committed to a number of fleet changes. It placed an order for up to 109 737 MAX planes valued at $6.5 billion in December, 2013. In the agreement, Boeing will buy as many as 20 E190s from Air Canada. The airplanes will exit the fleet in 2015, according to a statement from the airline.
Amidst the narrow body fleet changes, Air Canada has also decided to convert twelve Boeing 777-300ER and six Boeing 777-200LR aircraft into a more competitive configuration. The airline plans to include a premium economy cabin, and it will also refurbish its International Business Class cabins to match its new 787 cabins. Don’t expect any changes soon, however. The company plans to start rolling out the refurbed jets in late 2015.
Related, the airline announced a first quarter loss of $341 million today (check back tomorrow for our analysis).