Air Canada's plans to establish an aircraft MRO Centre of Excellence (COE) in Western Canada have been put on hold for now the country's Winnipeg's Free Press newspaper has reported quoting informed sources.

The Manitoba government last year pledged to drop a lawsuit against Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) concerning its labour activities in the province if it established a local COE with three Manitoban firms - Hope Aero Propeller & Components Inc., Airbase Services Inc., and Cargojet Airways (W8, Hamilton, ON).

However, despite the announcement, an Air Canada spokesman has since confirmed that only the partnerships with Hope Aero Propeller & Components Inc. and Airbase Services Inc. remain on track to open in 2017.

That with Cargojet, which entailed the freight specialist leasing one of Air Canada's hangars at Winnipeg International to set up its own MRO activities, has yet to proceed.

Free Press reports that Cargojet was offered a start-up loan of about CAD10 million (USD7.5 million) by the Manitoban government but this was not accepted for unclear reasons. As such, the project has remained on hold until further notice, it said.

Had it gone ahead as planned, the MRO venture would have created approximately 400 jobs.

Neither Air Canada, CargoJet, or the Manitoban government responded to queries on the matter.