Air Canada revealed its brand new Airbus A220-300 in Montreal yesterday, Wednesday 15 January 2020. The gleaming new aircraft, the first of 45 the airline has on order, is due to start flying today. Lucky passengers on AC317 between Montreal and Calgary this morning will be the first to ride the new plane.
The airline is also set to rapidly deploy the A220 onto new international routes, jetting between Montreal and Seattle and Toronto to San Jose.
Best-in-class passenger experience in North America
The airline says its new 137 passenger narrow-body Quebec made aircraft will provide the best-in-class passenger experience for North American domestic flights. The aircraft has 12 business class seats in a 2-2 layout and 125 economy class seats in a 2-3 layout.
All passengers, regardless of where they are seated, will have access to satellite-based high-speed Wi-Fi, personal touch screen TVs that allow gate-to-gate access to on-demand video and audio programs, moving maps with flight path data, and games and wellness applications.
In the main economy cabin, seat pitch is 76.2cm, seat width is 48.01cm, and seat recline is 7.62cm. Also in the economy cabin, every seat has in-seat power for laptops, USB ports for recharging, adjustable headrests and ambient mood lighting. Up the front in business class, seat pitch is 93.98cm, seat width is 52.07cm, and seat recline is 15.24cm.
Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s vice president of network planning, told The Financial Post the A220 is the best airline in its class. In addition to having the widest economy class seat in the market, he cited the larger windows and ample overhead luggage space as key to providing overall greater passenger amenity.
In a statement provided to Simple Flying, Air Canada said;
“This aircraft is a game-changer for Air Canada as there is simply no rival in this category. The A220 will further strengthen our position on transborder and transcontinental markets and be instrumental in our continued growth. Our customers will benefit from innovative design features in a spacious and comfortable cabin.”
Air Canada order put the A220 program onto a more solid footing
The A220 order from Air Canada helped put production of the aircraft onto a more solid footing. Manufacture of the aircraft was passed from Bombardier to Airbus in 2018 and since then sales have increased significantly as the A220 production program was revitalized. And the manufacturer remains appreciative of Air Canada being the first North American airline to put money down and order the A220.
Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer said yesterday;
“I am especially pleased today given Air Canada’s role in completing the 2016 order for the C Series, as it was then called, at a time when the future of this aircraft program was in doubt. We are very proud to have paved the way for orders from other major carriers.”
Not a stopgap or substitute for the 737 MAX
Arguably, Air Canada didn’t need a lot of persuading. While smaller than the 737 MAX, the A220 is more 20% fuel-efficient and more nimble in terms of airports it can access. And while bringing in the A220 will allow Air Canada to begin phasing out their use of aircraft like the 97 seat Embraer E190s, Air Canada says the A220 is neither a substitute or stopgap for the 737 MAX.
Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 MAXs grounded and a further 37 on order. The airline was expecting to have 36 MAXs in the air by the end of 2019. Air Canada says its contingency plans to cover the gaps left by the 737 MAX grounding do not include the A220.
Rather, Air Canada sees the A220 as opening up new opportunities for the airline. They say the aircraft will not only facilitate future growth but also strengthen their existing market share on North American routes.
Deliveries of the A220 to Air Canada will continue throughout 2020 and beyond.
OPEC in trouble as oil outlook worsens – RT
OPEC has worked vigilantly to bring the oil market into balance, but with demand recovering more slowly than expected, the cartel may be out of options.
Just when they thought they had rebalanced the oil market, OPEC members were served an unpleasant surprise from exempted fellow Libya. The country’s warring factions reached a ceasefire, and some long-shuttered oil ports have been reopened, along with the fields that feed them. By the end of the month, the National Oil Corporation plans to boost the average daily output of the nation from less than 100,000 bpd to 260,000 bpd. Meanwhile, OPEC+ has relaxed its production cuts by 2 million bpd. The market, according to Mercuria chief executive Marco Dunand, cannot handle this.
In an interview for Bloomberg, Dunand said demand was still weaker than previously expected, and any additional oil flowing into markets would fail to be absorbed. This means a looming build in floating storage as this month, global inventories rose by between 500,000 bpd and 1 million bpd—and that’s excluding the Libyan restart— while drawdowns over the final quarter were seen at 1 million bpd.
In his bearish outlook for the immediate term, Mercuria’s head is in sync with the head of another commodity trading major, Trafigura. The third super trader, however, is surprisingly optimistic. Also in an interview with Bloomberg, Vitol’s chief executive said earlier this month he expected global crude oil inventories to shrink considerably by the end of the year. While both the heads of Trafigura and Mercuria expect stocks to build first before starting to decline, Vitol’s chief said he expected a drawdown of some 250-300 million barrels by the end of the year.
Reports emerged earlier this month that commodity traders—including the Big Three—were chartering more tankers to store crude oil offshore, sparking concern we could see something like a repeat of this spring when hundreds of millions of barrels of unsellable oil had to be dumped on tankers because onshore storage was full. After the lockdowns ended, demand began improving. This moderate demand boost, however, fell short of pretty much all expectations.
One particularly worrying trend is the slow rate of economic recovery among emerging countries—the main drivers of oil demand growth. Except for China, most are still battling the coronavirus and its effects on their economies. India is a good case in point: its oil demand is seen to be the worst affected by the coronavirus as the country itself suffers the second-highest total case count in the world.
Some analysts believe, however, that demand in China is about to start slowing down soon. It will be a long-term trend, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and a result not just of Covid-19 but of Beijing’s emission-reduction goals. Over the next 20 years, the energy research organization said, China’s oil demand was likely to grow at an annual pace of 3 to 4 million bpd, after growing by double-digit rates in the past few years.
According to Mercuria’s Dunand, oil demand during the fourth quarter will average 95 million bpd. That’s down from a market consensus of 97 to 98 million bpd, made in spring. And the rate at which excessive inventories will be drawn is seen weaker than previously expected. Add to this a dramatic build in diesel inventories because refiners, Dunand noted to Bloomberg, are dumping jet fuel into the diesel pool, and Libya’s restart of production and the outlook for prices once again becomes grim.
According to the head of Mercuria, the biggest problem on the oil market is the diesel stock oversupply. With many countries in Europe restricting movement again, whatever improvement there had been in fuel demand—especially jet fuel—will likely slow down further now, if not reverse if a full-blown second wave of infections hits the continent. And the problem will persist.
Meanwhile, OPEC is out of options. The cartel and its partners in OPEC+ will discuss the next steps later this year, with the original plan involving a further relaxation of the cuts, by 2 million bpd, from January 2021. The way prices are moving now and likely to move during the final quarter, this may become a topic of arguments within the group, as some members need oil revenues more urgently than others.
Amazon looks to fill 3,000 jobs at newest Vancouver tech hub – Vancouver Sun
Online retail giant Amazon will be filling 3,000 new jobs at its latest tech hub, in the former downtown Vancouver post office.
Almost to 800 positions are already available, while the rest are expected to be filled when construction at The Post, between Georgia and Dunsmuir at Homer Street, nears completion in 2023, said Jesse Dougherty, an Amazon-vice president and Vancouver lead, in a statement.
“Amazon’s investment has tangible benefits for the broader economy and community — from the people we employ, to the small businesses we empower, to the charities we support, to the academic opportunities we fund. We’re proud to reaffirm our commitment to Canadian cities at this critical time,” said Dougherty.
The jobs span several departments across the company, including Alexa, Amazon advertising, retail and operations technology, and include roles such as software development engineers, user experience designers, speech scientists working to develop Alexa, cloud computing solutions architects, and sales and marketing executives.
It was previously reported that Amazon would be the sole corporate tenant at The Post, with plans to occupy 18 floors in the complex’s north tower and 17 floors in the south tower.
“The city of Vancouver is so excited to see Amazon creating an additional 3,000 well-paying jobs for people who want to work and live in our city,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement. This “highlights the strength of our tech sector and shows that Vancouver is where companies want to establish themselves and grow.”
Ford announces $1.8 billion investment to produce ‘fully battery electric vehicles’ in Canada – Electrek.co
Ford announced today that it is investing $1.8 billion CAD to produce “fully battery electric vehicles” in Canada.
The announcement is part of a deal between Ford and Unifor, an important general trade union in Canada, on a new national labour agreement.
The deal includes several new benefits for Ford employees in Canada:
- Competitive alternative work schedules to maximize production flexibility
- Enhanced temporary employee program
- 2.5% wage increase twice over the life of the agreement
- C$7,250 ratification bonus for full-time permanent employees and $500 for temporary employees
- Reduced grow-in period for new hires from 11 years to eight years
But they also negotiated a deal that should help bring some job security with a new deal to “transform Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex from an internal combustion engine (ICE) site to also become a BEV manufacturing facility.”
They plan to invest $1.8 billion CAD ($1.35 billion USD) to start producing all-electric vehicles at the factory in Ontario, Canada:
“Based on the collective agreement ratified by employees today, Ford is committing to transform its Oakville Assembly Complex from an internal combustion engine (ICE) site to also become a BEV manufacturing facility, starting in 2024, as well as introducing a new engine program at its Windsor operations.”
Dean Stoneley, president and CEO of Ford of Canada, commented on the deal:
“Working collaboratively with Unifor, and as discussions continue with both the federal and provincial governments, this agreement is an important step toward building a stronger future for our employees, our customers and our communities. By introducing battery electric vehicle production at Oakville Assembly Complex, we are cementing our Canadian operations as a leader in advanced automotive manufacturing.”
The automaker didn’t confirm which electric vehicles it plans to produce in Canada.
Ford employs 3,600 people at the Oakville plant, where it produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus.
Until recently, it was also producing the Ford Flex (2009–2019) and the Lincoln MKT (2010–2019).
In terms of electric vehicles, Ford produces the new Mustang Mach-E in Mexico and it plans to start production of the Ford F-150 Electric in Michigan in 2022.
Last month, Ford started construction on a new factory for its electric F-150 pickup truck at its current production site in Dearborn, Michigan.
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