The 737MAX is quickly growing in to a transatlantic mainstay. Air Canada and Icelandair are the latest carriers to announce plans for flights between North America and Europe on the type, building on the base Norwegian established earlier this summer.
Air Canada to Ireland
Air Canada will bring its 737MAX aircraft to Ireland on a seasonal basis, adding two new routes with today’s announcement. Flights on the 737MAX between Toronto and Shannon and between Montreal and Dublin will each operate four times weekly beginning in June 2018.
Air Canada is also bringing back its summer seasonal Vancouver-Dublin service (up to 5x weekly) and upgrading the Toronto-Dublin flights to a mainline A330 from a Rouge 767-300 while increasing service frequency to daily in Summer 2018. The switch to a mainline plane brings lie-flat business class seats back to the route and a spot check of dates for next summer shows a smattering of award space available. The 737MAX is not so comfortable up front
“With the right aircraft for the right market, Air Canada appears to have the luck of the Irish and we want to share it with our customers. Beginning summer 2018, we will capitalize on the growing traffic between Canada and Ireland and launch two new routes to Ireland, Toronto to Shannon and Montreal to Dublin,” -Benjamin Smith, President Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.
The company noted that European service was likely when it placed the MAX order; snowbird flights in the winter to the Caribbean should be expected to balance out the aircraft utilization as the seasons and demand shift.
The new services announced today will be on sale from 19th September and commence operation in June 2018.
Icelandair to the United States
For Icelandair the 737MAX is part of its expansion into more US destinations. The first two expected to receive the type are now known: Philadelphia and Cleveland. The carrier announced Cleveland service just a couple weeks ago with 5x weekly service; that announcement lacked details on the aircraft type. We now know that it will be served with the 737MAX, seating 8 in business class and 152 in economy. That seating capacity is similar to what US carriers fly in a 2.5-class arrangement, suggesting that the economy class experience on the Icelandair MAX8 won’t be too tight a squeeze.
Read More: Dear Midwest America: Welcome to Europe
The second destination, Philadelphia, saw seasonal service in 2017 on the 757-200. Switching it to the 737MAX suggests demand is slightly lower while also opening up the potential for Icelandair to reach further into North America on its 757s that have greater range. The longer routes also often require additional aircraft, with long overnights to properly time departures to meet the connecting banks at Keflavik. Freeing up the frames to serve those routes is helpful to the airline. One example of this is Icelandair adding 4x weekly DFW service, announced this week, using a 752.
Header Image: 737MAX renderings from Boeing; I have no idea why they chose different skies to build the samples against
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