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Air Canada unveils first Airbus A220. What does it mean for travellers? – Global News



Air Canada unveiled its first Airbus A220 jetliner at an event in Montreal on Wednesday morning.

The 137-seat aircraft is the first of an eventual 45 the airline aims to have flying by 2022.

The narrow-body aircraft — whose maiden voyage takes off for Calgary from Montreal on Thursday — grants Canada’s largest airline greater range and cost savings.


Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s vice-president of network planning, said the A220 allows the airline to open new routes that have not been financially viable in the past.

“For [Air Canada], it’s an airplane that will allow us to grow in North America, launch several new routes,” said Galardo.

Galardo said the company is targeting the West Coast for its first set of new routes, which include Montreal to Seattle and Toronto to San Jose, both to begin in spring.

Passenger comfort

Rajbir Bhatti, an associate professor of supply chain management at Mount Royal University, said the introduction of the A220 will change the way Canadians fly.

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“The cabins are larger, the overhead baggage is larger and the seats are wider,” said Bhatti. “The entire gameplan of how you fly regionally is likely to change.”

The 19-inch-wide seats are the largest in Air Canada’s fleet, and in keeping with the trend of integrating technology where possible, each passenger has their own plug-in and USB port.

Patrick Tompkins, Air Canada’s chief A220 pilot, said passengers may not initially recognize they are on a new A220 but will notice changes during flights — especially regarding cabin noise.

“It’s quite comfortable in the back [of the plane],” Tompkins said. “I think they’ll notice the quiet. It’s quite a quiet airframe.”

Fuel efficiency

Air Canada said a big reason for choosing the A220 as its next regional plane was environmental sustainability.

Galardo said the new jet emits 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than similar aircraft and allows for lower operating costs because of the composite material used to build the plane.

But when asked if those cost savings could be passed along to customers, Galardo didn’t answer directly.

“For [Air Canada], the angle that we’re looking at is the creation of new route and the economic stimulus that comes from that,” Galardo said.

Bhatti said it is likely that the airline is looking into pricing changes.

“They may already be working on how to revenue share with the consumers and possibly pass on that benefit to them,” said Bhatti. “I’d love that as a consumer.”

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The plane was called the C Series before Bombardier Inc. gave up a controlling stake in the aircraft program in 2018 to Europe-based Airbus, which christened it the A220.

The airline said the order for 45 planes carried a list price of US$3.8 billion and made Air Canada the second North American carrier to fly the A220.

Bombardier’s C Series aircraft renamed by Airbus

All of Air Canada’s A220s on order will be built at what are now Airbus Canada’s facilities north of Montreal in Mirabel, Que.

Airbus also produces the planes at a new site in Mobile, Ala., mainly for U.S. customers including Delta, which operates 28 A220s and was the North American launch carrier for the plane.

Aircraft safety

Several European carriers have been operating the A220 for the past five years, including Swiss International Air Lines and airBaltic.

Swiss grounded its fleet of 29 A220s in October 2019 following “technical irregularities on various Swiss short-haul flights,” but after comprehensive engine inspections, the airline resumed normal flights just a day after the grounding, according to officials.

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Tompkins said those issues are to be expected when introducing a new plane.

“Every new platform and every new aircraft has some teething pains,” Tompkins said. “We anticipate that and we take a very proactive approach to safety.”

JetBlue and new low-cost U.S. airline order 120 planes made by Bombardier

Galardo said Air Canada was made aware of the issue before taking delivery of its first A220.

“Transport Canada has… an airworthiness directive on the engine but as far as we’re concerned, there’s no major issue.”

Boeing implications

Air Canada’s launch of the A220 comes as the Boeing 737 MAX remains grounded worldwide.

Galardo said the large order of A220s was not impacted by recent events involving the Boeing aircraft.

“[The order was made] previous to the grounding of the MAX,” Galardo said. “We were supposed to have the MAX and the A220 so one doesn’t replace the other.”

Air Canada, WestJet keeping Boeing 737 MAX off their flight schedules until March

Galardo said the Embraer E175s will be phased out in favour of the A220s, but that the airline has pushed back the E175 retirements so it can fill the gaps left by the MAX.

– With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News



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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons



A woman wearing a large pink dress holds a microphone and speaks to a camera while attending a red carpet event.
Cheryl Hickey, longtime host of ET Canada, speaks to the camera on the red carpet of the 2019 Canadian Country Music Awards at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. ET Canada will end on Oct. 6 after 18 seasons. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.

“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”

The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.


The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.

ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.

The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.


An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.

The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.

The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.

Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.

“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.

ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.

“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.

“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”


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Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?



The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.

A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.

Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.


While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.

The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.

Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.

“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.

Click to play video: 'Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem'

Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem

The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.

“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.

It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.

Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.

The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.

The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.

As some couples delay their plans to have kids for a variety of reasons, egg freezing and other fertility treatments are on the rise in Canada.

Click to play video: 'More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study'

More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study

Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.

There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.

Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.

Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.

Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.

Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.

“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.

— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward


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