It’s no surprise that the registration writ large on the fuselage of Air Canada’s first Airbus A220 aircraft is C-GROV, reports Press Today’s Quebec editor, Mike Dunbar.
It was chosen by employees to honour president and CEO Calin Rovinescu for his leadership over the past decade; a period which has seen the carrier in major expansion mode while turning in unprecedented profits.
The first of 45 A-220s took to the revenue-earning skies on a Montreal-Calgary flight today (Jan. 16), following an unveiling ceremony at the carrier’s base the day before when Rovinescu was praised by officials from both Airbus and Bombardier for, in effect, saving the C-Series program with its US$3.8 billion order in 2016.
Alain Bellemare, the president and CEO of Bombardier, congratulated Rovinescu for “having the courage” to place the C-Series order, stating, “It’s because of Calin that we’re here today.”
He also congratulated Airbus for ultimately taking over the C-Series initiative and for continuing to build the aircraft at Bombardier’s former Mirabel, Quebec facility.
Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer, told several hundred guests at AC’s Dorval Hangar Three, along with the airplane, “Today is a special occasion for our industry. Air Canada showed courage in placing the order and it’s a big honour for Airbus to be here today.”
And Scherer added, “I love this airplane. It sells itself.”
Air Canada’s first Airbus A220-300 was built at Airbus Canada’s (previously Bombardier) Mirabel facility employing close to 2,700 people. Each A220 includes parts from 30 Canadian suppliers.
Air Canada has firm orders for 45 A220s, with a total list price value of US$3.8 billion for the order at the time it was made, all of which are to be built at Mirabel.
Air Canada will be the first North American carrier to operate the larger A220-300 version of the aircraft, which has a range of 3,200 nautical miles.
The two-class cabin has 137 seats: 12 in a 2×2 configuration in Business Class and 125 in a 3×2 layout for Economy passengers. Customers will have more personal space thanks to the widest economy seats in the fleet at 19 inches, and the largest overhead stowage bins for an aircraft this size.
Additional features include larger windows and full-colour LED ambient and customizable mood lighting that contribute to reducing fatigue while travelling. The high ceilings, extra shoulder room and storage make this an unparalleled interior in the narrow-body segment.
Every seat on the A220 features a Panasonic in-flight entertainment system with content available in 15 languages and featuring more than 1,000 hours of high-quality entertainment, including content from Bell Media’s premium entertainment service, Crave, and Montreal-based multi-platform audio service, Stingray. The A220 will also have satellite-based, high speed WiFi access.
The A220 will also further Air Canada’s environmental commitment, with engines projected to yield a 20% reduction in fuel consumption per seat.