Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Air Canada's Rapidair flight AC439 from Montreal to Toronto on June 2, 2020 marks the end of an era as the airline retires the last aircraft it its mainline Boeing 767 fleet.
The 767s have been a workhorse for Air Canada since the first one was delivered in October 1982 (a 767-233, FIN number 601, registered as C-GAUB). That aircraft began transcontinental service on February 14, 1983. After more than 20 years in the skies, the aircraft was retired in 2005.
Between 1982 and 1996, Air Canada would take possession of 25 more 767s, with the first extended range variants for overwater operations arriving in 1984. When Air Canada merged with Canadian Airlines in 2001, another 23 of these widebodies would join the fleet.
Air Canada launched its leisure brand Rouge on July 1, 2013 with a total of four aircraft, of which two were 767s flying to Edinburgh, Venice, and Athens. Air Canada Rouge eventually expanded to include 25 of the long-range 767-300ERs that served mainly European and sun destinations. In May 2020, Air Canada announced that in addition to the planned retirement of the remaining five 767s in its mainline fleet, the 767s from Rouge would also be retired from service.
Air Canada's 767s made history when the first ever air-to-ground telephone service by a Canadian airline was offered on February 9, 1986, during AC915 between Miami to Toronto. Also in February 1986, Executive Class was introduced on the 767s.
Air Canada Boeing 767 Fin 682 (C-FCAE) registered over 138,000 flying hours before it was retired on August 1, 2019, making it the world leader in terms of flying hours for the fleet type. The aircraft was sold late last year to another airline which is currently converting it for cargo operations.
The 767 was initially designed to be operated with a three-pilot crew. Although Air Canada's first few 767s had an extra-large flight deck, they were configured to be operated by two pilots.
The 767 was the first aircraft to receive 120-minute ETOPS (extended twin-engine operations) approval in 1985, meaning it could operate two hours away from the nearest airport, making oceanic crossings more efficient. This was increased to 180 minutes in 1988.
Air Canada flew 23 B767-200 and -200ER (extended range version) aircraft with the variants being retired in 2008. Most of these aircraft were parked in the desert in Mojave, California and some in Roswell, New Mexico.
Some 767s were retrofitted with winglets for fuel efficiency. The winglets are 11 feet tall! Winglets reduce drag and increase lift at the end of the wings and reduce fuel consumption by helping jets more efficiently slice through the air.
The mainline Boeing 767 has a seating capacity of 24 in Air Canada Signature Class and 187 in Economy. It has a range of 10,549 kilometres at a cruising altitude of up to 41,000 feet and a cruising speed of 853 kilometres per hour. Cargo capacity in the belly is a maximum of 14,800 kilograms.
The longest scheduled nonstop flight by an Air Canada 767 was Toronto to Tokyo, which lasted 13:45 and covered 10,324 kilometres.
The Boeing 767 served a number of special missions during its time at Air Canada, including for the annual Dreams Take Flight special charity flights from eight cities across Canada giving special children a trip of a lifetime to a world-renowned theme park in California or Florida.