Passengers traveling on Air Canada will be subject to a thermal temperature scan for all flights beginning next week. The move, along with requiring passenger face coverings and blocking middle seats from sale, aims to deliver a safer environment for travelers and crew.
Air Canada CleanCare+ will not only provide protections at the personal level, by better monitoring our customers’ fitness to fly and providing for more personal space in Economy Class, but it also sets new standards for cabin cleanliness and ensures our employees have the best tools to maintain it. Coupled with other new safety practices we implemented earlier in response to COVID-19, Air Canada CleanCare+ will provide travellers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment.– Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer
CleanCare+ in Air Canada’s cabins
The CleanCare+ program aims to deliver stronger assurances to passengers that they are safe on board. This manifests in a variety of ways. Increased aircraft cleaning is one aspect. Requiring facial coverings and a temperature screening prior to boarding is another. CEO Calin Rovinescu suggests that the program will continue to evolve “with best practices from around the world, including increased use of screening tools, such as blood oxygen level testing, as they become available.”
The airline will also block middle seats from sale and cap aircraft capacity to ensure lower density on board. The capping of seats sold is an important distinction, as many airlines announced they would block middle seats from advance assignment but ultimately did sell and fill them if loads demanded it.
These changes are in effect through at least 30 June 2020.
Fleet restructuring, with Rouge hit hard
Is it that long-haul LCCs are doomed overall? Or just that the 767s are too old and inefficient to keep in the skies?? As part of its fleet reorganization Air Canada will permanently remove 79 aircraft from service, including the 25 767-300s operating for Rouge. These 767s were the backbone of the Rouge long-haul operations, delivering tens of thousands passengers to Europe every summer.
The Rouge will also fully retire A319 type from service, with 22 leaving the fleet. All told, more than 70% of the Rouge fleet is slated to retire, leaving Air Canada with only 19 A320/A321 planes flying for its LCC arm. The airline still believes that the low frills segment is important to its business, but that will be refocused on shorter flights within the Americas.
The mainline operation will also retire its 13 A319s, generally removing the type from the Air Canada fleet. A trio of 319s in charter/premium configuration will remain operational for Air Canada Jetz.
Air Canada will also retire its 14 remaining E190s immediately. This move was already planned for 2020 and accelerated owing to the drop in demand. Air Canada joins American Airlines in retiring the type at this time.
In a statement the carrier notes these aircraft retirements will “will simplify the airline’s overall fleet, reduce its cost structure, and lower its carbon footprint.”
That the retirement also means at least a short-term exit from the long-haul LCC market is not mentioned, but still significant. Competition there will drop, particularly if the Air Canada/Air Transat merger closes. That Norwegian also expects minimal transatlantic capacity for at least a year also gives Air Canada some breathing room on that front.
More on COVID-19 and the airlines affected
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