MIAMI – Air Canada (AC) low-cost subsidiary Air Canada Rouge (RV) has ended its hiatus from operating during the pandemic. The leisure airline flew yesterday from Toronto (YYZ) to Cancun (CUN) landing at 1330 local, as AC1810, and is on its way back to Toronto as this article is being written, under the callsign AC1811.

The flight was operated by C-GJTX, a 3.5-year-old A321 originally delivered to now-defunct low cost Icelandic carrier WOW Air (TF). Said aircraft is only one of two active aircraft making up the entire Rouge fleet.

The other aircraft, C-FJOU, another A321, flew out of long term storage at Marana Pinal Airpark (MZJ) on November 1 and was scheduled to fly to Kingston (KIN) today, but the flight was canceled.

A now retired 767-300. Photo: John Levanditis

Major Fleet Changes for Rouge

Before the pandemic, Rouge operated 66 aircraft, consisting of 25 767-300s, 14 A321s, 4 A320s and 22 A319s. As Rouge’s operations were coming to a temporary halt, all 25 767s and 22 A319s were retired, and all but the two aforementioned A321s are currently in long term storage.

Rouge was planning to utilize its A321 for its transatlantic routes previously operated by 767s, but who knows when those flights will resume now, and eastern European destinations like Budapest and Athens will be impossible to serve.

Photo: Air Canada Rouge

What’s Next for Rouge?

In a statement, VP of Network Planning and Alliances for Air Canada Mark Galardo says “Air Canada Rouge remains an important part of our overall strategy in rebuilding Air Canada’s global network.”

Rouge’s strategy of operating to resort destination may play to the advantage of Air Canada in the long run, with travel restrictions where tourism is necessary easing up.

Featured image: Liam Funnell