Chorus Aviation, one of the major affiliates of Air Canada, announced it will purchase six Bombardier Q400 turboprops in a deal valued at $189-million based on list price. Just a short time later the aviation company announced it would be closing its base in London, Ont., affecting nearly 200 jobs in the region.
The company, whose subsidiary Jazz Aviation LP operates flights on behalf of Air Canada, is undergoing a fleet renewal focusing on fuel-efficient aircraft, the Financial Post reported. It had previously purchased 15 Q400 airplanes in 2010. The new purchase allows Chorus Aviation to retire nine of its older Bombardier regional jets, the Financial Post reported.
“Essentially because of a number of factors, and certainly because of the rejuvenation of the fleet, it lessens the demand for heavy maintenance work,” Debra Williams, Chorus spokeswoman, told the Financial Post.
Williams noted that the company’s heavy maintenance facilities in London and Halifax would be consolidated, with the London operation closing and heavy machinery being moved to Halifax. Of the 250 Chorus Aviation employees based in London roughly 50 workers will continue on, with most of the others being moved. Close to 25 jobs would be cut entirely, Williams said.
The change is intended to make Chorus Aviation more competitive on short-haul routes, Canada.com reported. The company’s main competitor, WestJet Airlines Ltd., itself replaced a firm order for 20 Q400 planes and put another 25 on option for a new regional carrier it plans to launch next year, the report said.
“The replacement of the older regional jets by these efficient, state-of-the-art aircraft will translate into better operating economics and passenger comfort with less environmental impact,” Joe Randell, Chorus Aviation president and CEO, said in a statement released through PR Newswire.