Air travel is the safest and fastest mode of transport. However, the industry has undergone many challenges to get where we are today. One of the airlines that fully understands this is Air Canada. Even though it ranks among the best today, the company has seen it all. Here are some intriguing Air Canada facts to help you learn more about it.

1. It Is the Largest Airline In Canada

Whether by size or the number of passengers it carries, Air Canada is the biggest airline in Canada. Founded in 1937, it offers transport services for both cargo and passengers, flying to about 222 world destinations. It is headquartered in Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec.

2. Air Canada’s Passengers Held Up A Flight To Watch Hockey

During the 2010 Olympic Hockey Final, Air Canada had to reschedule a flight because the passengers were watching the game. As the airplane sat on the tarmac, the match Canada and the United States were squaring it out for gold, and the passengers did not want to miss it. They watched the game from the airport lounge screens and ignored the airline staff’s instructions to board the plane.

3. Air Canada Was First Named Trans-Canada Airlines

Even though it was founded in 1937, Air Canada did not have the name until it was renamed in 1965. Its original name was the Trans-Canada Airlines, popularly known as TCA.

4. An Air Canada Passenger Flight Once Helped Locate a Stranded Yachter

Just as they were preparing to land in Australia after a 14-hour flight, Andrew Robertson, one of Air Canada’s pilots, got a request to help find a stranded yachter. The victim had sailed away 2 weeks earlier, and a rescue operation was on.

The pilot descended to 4,000 feet, and the passengers helped spot the strayed yacht. It took them about 25 minutes, but it went into the history books as a one-of-a-kind rescue operation.

5. Air Canada and Canadian Airlines Were Once Different Entities

While the national airline, Air Canada, was formed first by the Canadian federal government, Canadian Airlines operated between 1987 and 2001 as a separate company. Canadian Airlines was the second largest after Air Canada, transporting over 11.9 million passengers to 17 countries during its time.

On the other hand, Canadian Airlines was the most used domestic means of air travel, taking passengers to about 105 destinations in Canada. It was headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. However, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines merged in 2001 with the blessings of the country’s authorities.

6. Air Canada Has An Impressive Fleet of Airplanes

To facilitate its service delivery, Air Canada has a wealth of airplanes, depending on their needs. From the Airbus A330 to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 777, travelers are not short of options. For long-haul journeys, the company uses the Airbus A320 family, including A 319, A320, and A321 variants.  

7. Air Canada Has Encountered Major Financial Problems In Its Existence

Even though it has been successful most of the time, Air Canada has had its fair share of financial troubles. For instance, in the early 1990s, the company was staring into bankruptcy, thanks to the effects of the Persian Gulf Wars. Fortunately, the management hired Hollis L. Harris, the former executive of Delta Airlines, who restructured its operations and gave it a lifeline.

Soon after merging with Canadian Airlines, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003. Following the effects of COVID-19 in 2020, Canada’s government acquired about 6% of the company to cushion it.

8. Air Canada Started Project XM in 2006

Following the growth in technology and the urge to keep up with the market trends and demands, Air Canada rolled in motion Project XM: Extreme Makeover. With about $ 3,000 assigned to it, the project’s goal was to install new cabins in all aircraft, purchase new ones, and everything in between.

9. The Airline Holds Several Records

As compared to other airlines, Air Canada boasts several records. For instance, it was the first to have a fleet of unpressurized aircraft equipped with fixed oxygen systems, adopting the rebreathing bag principle. It was also the first airline to operate the Airbus A320. With regards to technology, Air Canada was the pioneer of mobile booking through its Apple App.

10. The Air Canada Flight 759 Mistakenly Landed On A Wrong Taxiway

In 2017, Air Canada Flight 759 erroneously landed in a taxiway in San Francisco, missing one of the planes by just 4 meters (14 feet). The plane was travelling from Toronto Pearson International Airport when it was cleared to land on runway 28R. However, instead of taking the directed path, the pilot took a parallel taxiway full of other aircraft before the crew started a go-around several seconds before landing.

11. An Air Canada Plane Once Safety Landed Successfully Without Fuel

1983, an Air Canada airplane was traveling to Edmonton before the pilot realized they had run out of fuel midway through the flight. Popularly referred to as Gimli Glider, Air Canada Flight 143 was about 41,000 feet (12,500) in the sky before tragedy hit.

Miraculously, the pilots touched down safely, and all the 69 people on board survived. Other pilots have tried to repeat the feat in simulation, but none has succeeded so far.

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Last Update: November 9, 2023