Air Canada Regional resumes BAe 146 operations

Air Canada Regional airlines AirBC and Air Nova are to continue flying their BAe 146s. Air Canada had announced that all ten series 200s operated by the two airlines would be parked as part of the airline’s post-11 September cutbacks, along with all the Fokker F28s operated by Canadian Regional. An initial plan to park all ten 146s rapidly was changed when the impossibility of retraining all the pilots on Dash 8s in time became evident. Instead, it was decided to park the five AirBC aircraft in early November 2001, along with one Air Nova aircraft. The remaining aircraft would then be parked in January 2002. The AirBC aircraft were parked as scheduled, with the crews being displaced onto Dash 8s. In the first of what would be several changes of plan, however, plans to park the Air Nova aircraft were put on hold in mid-November after a new labor agreement was concluded with the Air Line Pilots Association, International. Air Canada Regional used the retention of jet operations as a carrot in the negotiations, along with a stick of substantial layoffs. “This agreement with our pilots enables us to continue to operate regional jets and to provide service to our customers with the economics we need,” said Joseph Randell, President of Air Canada Regional. Air Nova pilots who had been displaced were quickly retrained and placed back on 146 duty, although the airline operated a reduced schedule. AirBC’s 146 pilots, however, continued to convert to the Dash 8. Revised plans now saw AirBC’s 146s moving east, to be used in central and eastern Canada, with six newly-acquired Bombardier CRJs replacing them in the west. When the cost this would entail in terms of personnel moves became clear, however, it was decided to retain the 146 fleets in their respective bases at Vancouver and Halifax, with the CRJs being introduced in central Canada. One AirBC 146 has been flying for Air Nova since January, covering for maintenance on Air Nova’s own 146s, including the engine mods needed to lift the icing restrictions.

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