Air Canada Retires B767s, and Delta Says 'So Long' to the Mad Dogs
- Airlines are retiring more fleet types in response to the collapse in demand from the Covid pandemic. Air Canada is retiring its five mainline B767s, after 37 years of operating the aircraft. In addition, the company is retiring the 25 of the type operated by low-cost subsidiary Rouge. This leaves a hole in Rouge’s fleet as its B767s were the only aircraft it operated capable of flying transatlantic missions.
- Delta, meanwhile, retired the last of its MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft, two years ahead of schedule. The “Mad Dogs,” beloved by aviation geeks the world over, served as the cornerstone of Delta’s fleet for almost four decades, and was an important part of Northwest’s fleet as well. With the retirements, no U.S. mainline carrier operates the MD-80-series aircraft, which trace their lineage back to the DC-9; American retired its Mad Dogs last year. But don’t fret: Delta (and Hawaiian) continue to operate B717s, the last generation of the high-tail twinjet, rebranded after Boeing bought McDonnell-Douglas.
- Bombardier effectively exited the commercial aircraft market on June 2, when it completed the sale of its CRJ program to Mitsubishi. The airframer said it will complete the 15 CRJs still in its backlog, with deliveries expected in the second half of this year. The deal closed for $550m and included the assumption of debt. Bombardier sold its Dash-8 to Longview Aviation Capital, which revived the de Havilland brand for the type. It sold its CSeries program to Airbus, which renamed it the A220.
- Embraer reported its first-quarter results were, like almost everyone else’s, bifurcated to before Covid and after Covid. The company has not seen any cancellations from airlines due to the pandemic, although it says some carriers have deferred orders. The quarter was marked with some strengths, including an order for 20 E175s from SkyWest, and continuing deliveries of five commercial aircraft. Embraer reported $140m in Q1 revenues but a loss of $104m. It assures investors it has the liquidity to see it through the next quarter. In terms of cost-cutting, 50% of Embraer’s employees are either on furlough or have had pay cuts.
Notably, Embraer’s business aviation and defense units have not been significantly affected by the Covid pandemic. The company warns that the second quarter may be rougher than the first. Most frustrating of all is Boeing’s decision to back away from a joint venture covering its commercial jets.