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Canada's Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 26, 2011. (BLAIR GABLE/Blair Gable/Reuters)
Canada's Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 26, 2011. (BLAIR GABLE/Blair Gable/Reuters)

Ottawa Notebook

Liberal campaign hits plane snag Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff's Liberal campaign is hitting turbulence, with the party unexpectedly ending up with an older, subcontracted plane.

The Liberals originally expected Calgary-based Enerjet, headed by WestJet Airlines Ltd. co-founder Tim Morgan, to supply a newer model Boeing 737.

But Enerjet's spiffy Boeing 737-800 needs to be returned to its lessor at the end of March, so that has forced a change in plans.

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Enerjet has scrambled to subcontract Kelowna-based Flair Airlines to fly an older-model Boeing 737-400 for the Liberals, starting Sunday night, an industry insider familiar with aircraft leases said in an interview.

The Flair plane is a step up from Stephane Dion's gas guzzling Boeing 737-200, supplied by Air Inuit, in 2008.

"The plane will be unveiled for our maiden flight [Sunday]out of Montreal," a senior Ignatieff official told the Globe's Jane Taber.

Enerjet is slated to take delivery of a Boeing 737-700 on April 4, too late for the start of Liberal electioneering.

In contrast to Flair, WestJet has a fleet of newer Boeing 737-600, 700 and 800 Next Generation models.

No decision has been made yet on whether to stick with the Flair plane, or switch to Enerjet's Boeing 737-700 midway through the Liberal campaign.

Follow on Twitter: @brentcjang

 

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