Given the type's usefulness in the low-demand environment, Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) has put the brakes on its planned retirement of its A319-100s but is still intent on eventually retiring the type, Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said during the carrier's quarterly earnings call.

"We're going to hold [the A319-100s] a little bit longer because most of them are owned. And they give us a little bit of flexibility to gauge up or to add more capacity and they're very, very low cost from our perspective. And so right now, our focus is returning B767-300(ER)s and the E190s. And we'll deal with the A319 a little bit later," Rovinescu said.

Earlier this year, Air Canada announced plans to retire 79 aircraft, including the immediate phase-out of all fourteen E190s. The remaining 65 aircraft slated for early retirement were a mix of B767-300(ER)s and A319-100s. By early June, Air Canada completed the phase-out of all B767s from its mainline unit, although low-cost arm Air Canada rouge (RV, Toronto Pearson) continues to have twenty-five of these in its fleet.

Of the carrier's fleet of thirty-eight A319s, 16 are operated by the mainline (including three flying under the executive charter brand Air Canada Jetz (AC, Montréal Trudeau)) and 22 by rouge. The majority are owned by the airline and 16 are dry-leased - 11 from GECAS, two each from AerCap and Aircastle, and one from Kahala Aviation Group, according to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module. None of the owned aircraft has been sold yet.

During the earnings call, Rovinescu also warned that the airline was contemplating fresh cost-cutting measures, including cancellations of orders unless the government provides some form of assistance.

"Without government industry support and as travel restrictions are extended, we will look at other opportunities to further reduce costs and capital, including further route suspensions and possible cancellations of Boeing and Airbus aircraft on order, including the Airbus A220, the former Bombardier C Series manufactured at Montréal Mirabel, Québec," Rovinescu said.

The threat to cancel the order for thirty-eight A220-300s would be particularly poignant in Canada given the economic importance of the Airbus Canada plant in Montreal. Air Canada currently operates seven A220-300s.

The airline's Boeing firm order book currently consists of twenty-six B737-8s, due to join 24 already delivered to Air Canada. Earlier this year, the airline cancelled eleven B737 MAX orders.