787 Delivery Delay Forces Air Canada to Lease Planes

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | June 18, 2014 2:04 PM EST

Air Canada has ran into an expected delay in the delivery of its 251-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner, forcing the airline to lease planes for three summer routes, including Spain and South America.

REUTERS/Aaron Harris
Air Canada's Boeing 787 Dreamliner economy section is seen during the unveiling of its brand new international interior product at Pearson International Airport in Toronto May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Aaron Harris (CANADA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

Air Canada has so far only received two of the 37 Dreamliners it had ordered in May. Another is expected but later this summer. Specific affected flight routes include Toronto to Madrid as well as to Bogota, Colombia, and Lima, Peru.

To cope with the demand, the airline firm decided to lease euroAtlantic Airlines 767s instead of Air Canada 767s.

"It is going to be like Russian roulette when passengers show up for their flights this summer," an analyst told the Globe and Mail.

Air Canada said customers who had purchased tickets on these flights but are unhappy about the aircraft change can cancel their reservations. They will receive a full refund.

The airline company had said the purchase of the Dreamliners were essential tools to help the airline turn itself into a consistently profitable company. We have to change what was the status quo," Ben Smith, chief commercial officer, said. "The model we had prior to what we're putting in place today was not working and not sustainable."

The 787s are known to be more fuel-efficient. They can likewise carry more passengers on some routes at a lower cost.

The first two 787s delivered in May will be used to service the daily Toronto-Haneda flights, supposed to start July 1, but now rescheduled to July 15. The third 787 will begin the Toronto-Tel Aviv service on Aug. 6.

Air Canada said in a notice posted on its website that the leased planes from euroAtlantic will fly the three routes between July 1 and Aug. 6.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Aaron Harris / )
Air Canada's Boeing 787 Dreamliner economy section is seen during the unveiling of its brand new international interior product at Pearson International Airport in Toronto May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Aaron Harris (CANADA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)
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