Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) has announced it will accelerate the retirement of a total of 79 aircraft due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all fourteen E190s leaving the carrier's fleet immediately. Its Air Canada rouge (RV, Toronto Pearson) low-cost subsidiary will, in turn, focus on narrowbody operations with its B767 fleet to be retired.

"Their retirement will simplify the airline's overall fleet, reduce its cost structure, and lower its carbon footprint," the airline said in its quarterly earnings release.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Canada leases all fourteen Embraer regional jets from Nordic Aviation Capital. The aircraft are 12.5 years old on average and are predominantly based out of Toronto Pearson, with a limited number of routes originating from Ottawa Int'l and Montréal Trudeau.

The Canadian airline had already planned to replace the E190s with A220-300s, a move the COVID-19 crisis has only accelerated. Thus far, it has taken four A220-300s with a further 41 on firm order from Airbus Canada.

The remaining 65 aircraft due to retire earlier than planned are comprised of B767-300(ER)s and A319-100s.

Air Canada currently operates thirty B767-300(ER)s, including twenty-five through its low-cost arm Air Canada rouge, of which it owns six (including one through Air Canada rouge) and leases the remainder from AerCap (four), Aviation Capital Group (one), Avolon (two), Castlelake (one), Crane Aircraft Partners (two), GECAS (six), JP Lease Products & Services (two), Kahala Aviation Group (two), and Park Aerospace Holdings (one). The ownership of one aircraft is unknown.

In terms of the carrier's fleet of thirty-eight A319-100s, 16 are operated by the mainline and 22 by Air Canada rouge. Air Canada owns twenty-two and the remainder leased from GECAS (11), AerCap, Aircastle (two each), and Kahala (one).

The airline is replacing the A319-100s with B737-8s, of which it has already taken delivery of 24 with a further 26 on firm order from Boeing.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Rousseau revealed during a quarterly earnings call that the majority of the B767 and A319 leases expire within the next two years.

"They're not coming out necessarily overnight, the one that we said are going to come out immediately are the Embraers. And then we will pick and choose the timing of the exit of the B767s. It could be accelerated. We'll find optimal timing to do that," Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu added.

With its B767s to exit service, Rovinescu conceded that rouge would focus more on narrowbody operations going forward.

"rouge is going to continue to be an integral part of Air Canada albeit primarily a narrowbody operator into leisure markets. It's been extremely successful with both the narrowbody and widebody and so now we would like to have a greater concentration on narrowbody flying as we build the recovery post this COVID-19 environment," Rovinescu said.