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An Air Canada Airbus A220-300 airliner from Toronto arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on June 28, 2021.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Air Canada AC-T is adding 15 Airbus A220 passenger jets to its fleet, buying the Canadian-made aircraft as it emerges from the pandemic.

The narrow-body A220, formerly known as the Bombardier C-Series, made in Mirabel, Que., has lower greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption than older planes, features Canada’s largest airline says will help reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

In 2016, the airline ordered 45 A220s and has 31 in service on its North American network.

“The A220 has become an important component in the modernization of Air Canada’s fleet and a key part of our narrow-body fleet, thanks to its performance and passenger comfort,” Mark Galardo, an Air Canada vice-president in charge of network planning and revenue management, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the order is important for the Canadian aviation sector. “Not only will this advance Air Canada’s modernization program, but it will also contribute to making the sector greener while creating good jobs for Quebeckers and all Canadians. Investments like these are helping our aerospace industry grow, innovate and prosper for Canadians,” Mr. Alghabra said in a press release.

The A220-300 series flown by Air Canada seats 137 people, has a single aisle and a range of about 6,000 kilometres. According to the manufacturer, the aircraft offers a 25-per-cent reduction of greenhouse gases per seat. France-based Airbus also makes the aircraft in Mobile, Ala.

The Mirabel facility, which turns out six A220s a month, employs more than 2,500 people and is expected to add another 1,000 before long, Airbus said. Production will rise to 14 a month by the middle of the next decade. The companies did not release the value of the order. The A220 list price is about US$90-million, before the customary discounts.

Bombardier spent an estimated US$6-billion developing the C-Series, only to hit financial difficulties and hand control of the program to Airbus in 2018. In 2020, Airbus bought Bombardier’s minority stake for US$591-million. The Quebec governments owns 25 per cent of Airbus Canada.

In February, Quebec invested US$300-million in the money-losing A220 program, after spending US$1-billion in 2015 in a bid to save jobs in the province.

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