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Aug 14, 2019

Air Canada to launch A220 service in May 2020 to boost U.S. market share

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MONTREAL -- Canada's largest airline aims to boost its presence in the U.S. with a pair of Airbus A220 jetliners on two new non-stop routes between Montreal and Seattle and from Toronto to San Jose, Calif.

The narrow-body aircraft, which are set to take off on May 4, are the first two of 10 that Air Canada (AC.TO) expects to receive by the summer of 2020, granting it greater range and cost savings as rival WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.TO) attempts to make further inroads into international markets.

Mark Galardo, Air Canada's head of network planning, says the 137-seat A220 offers better fuel efficiency than some Boeing 737 and Airbus jets and greater range than equivalent-size aircraft like the Embraer E190 which the new planes will replace.

Galardo says the Montreal-based airline will be the second North American carrier, after Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., to fly the A220.

The plane was called the C Series before Bombardier Inc. (BBDb.TO) gave up a controlling stake in the aircraft program to Airbus, which christened it the A220.

In February, Air Canada said it planned to grow its share of the U.S. international transit market to two per cent from roughly 1.3 per cent -- though no timeline was set.