Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) has signed a Letter of Intent with PAL Airlines (Canada) (PB, St. John's) to wet-lease up to six DHC-8-Q400s for up to five years and will deploy them on routes in eastern Canada as a bridging solution to help address a pilot shortage at Jazz Air (QK, Halifax).

"PAL Airlines has steadily built its extensive presence in Eastern and Atlantic Canada by pursuing the strategic growth of sustainable, essential services that provide connectivity to national carrier networks. This proposed arrangement with Air Canada is a complimentary extension of that strategy. It would support continued growth in our operation, deepen our ability to build regional connectivity, and fortify PAL Airlines' presence in the communities who have always supported our development," PAL Airlines President Calvin Ash said.

The agreement remains subject to finalisation. Air Canada has not revealed where it will deploy the PAL aircraft.

The regional carrier operates seven DHC-8-Q400s, as well as three DHC-8-Q300s, one DHC-8-300, two DHC-8-100s, and two Beech 1900Ds. It confirmed that the Air Canada capacity purchase agreement would operate in tandem to PAL Airlines' existing scheduled operations.

Air Canada Express regional flights are currently operated by Jazz exclusively. The airline deploys fifteen CRJ200s, thirty-five CRJ900s, thirty-nine DHC-8-Q400s, and twenty-five E175s on behalf of Air Canada. Parent company Chorus Aviation said the diversification of Air Canada Express's operations would not impact it financially.

"Chorus understands that Air Canada is increasing capacity to meet travel demand and that the addition of these aircraft is a bridging solution. We confirm that this agreement does not impact Chorus financially," President and CEO Colin Copp said.

"Jazz is our long-term Air Canada Express partner, and we are working together to increase flying activity within the framework of our existing CPA given the current, industry-wide pilot situation. As these efforts continue, and to help meet the needs and expectations of the travelling public, Air Canada has entered into a bridging arrangement with another airline to provide additional regional capacity on select routes in eastern Canada," Air Canada's President and CEO Michael Rousseau said.