Air Canada plans to replace some regional flying with Air Canada rouge on its regional network, beginning summer 2018. The mainline unit has three more Rouge aircraft coming in, with two to be deployed on existing Rouge type routes and the third one will go on at route that was previously operated by one of its regional operators.
As Rouge aircraft will be replacing a regional aircraft on anything up to 76 seats, a Rouge flight may replace all or some regional flights on any qualifing route. Capacity would remain the same, with the number of frequencies being reduced.
For all existing Rouge routes, Air Canada still maintains flexibility to operate whatever unit it wants, be it mainline, Rouge or regional. However, on a regional route, there is now no limit on the number of Rouge aircraft it can add, according to the latest pilot agreement.
Mainline airplanes can only be added to non-regional routes.
Air Canada currently has no intention of reducing the number of its regional partners, however they may be reduced as Rouge replaces regional routes. Air Canada will "look at all opportunities", according to CEO Calin Rovinescu, as the carrier is in cost reduction mode.
Although changes to the regional partners have the option to be effective immediately, Air Canada has a covered fleet obligation with certain partners, such as Jazz. Air Canada, however, will create a competitive perspective as the covered fleet obligations diminish, with plans to redeploy any displaced regional aircraft.