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A Nod to the Past

Looking back, we all do it from time to time. Often it gives us comfort to remember the past, times gone by, the good old days, when life seemed pleasing and times were brighter. Retro products, gadgets and items from the past are a fun and welcomed exercise in re-imagining times once enjoyed.

Airlines are no strangers to this practice either, painting aircraft in a former livery, remembering former days of glory and bringing back a slice of nostalgia is warmly received. Some examples of retro liveries are more successful than others but generally most are a visual treat for us. And we all deserve a treat at present!


Serving up that treat, piping hot, is Air Canada with its newest fleet member, C-GNBN, the airlines latest Airbus A220-300. The paint scheme is a throw-back to a former design, Trans-Canada Air Lines, the airlines former name and just look at it! Maiden flight of C-GNBN for Air Canada occurred on March 14th last.


The first operator of the ‘300 series A220 in North America, Air Canada received its first of the type in December 2019 and has obtained 17 to date from an order of 19. Cabin configuration is 12 Business Class + 125 Economy Class in a 2-3 layout. This offers passengers the choice of a window or aisle seat on the left side of the cabin. The A220’s could be seen as a replacement for the Embraer E-175’s / 190’s which were retired from 2013 right up to the present in the case of the E-190’s.

The last time this particular retro livery was adorned was in 1997 on one of Air Canada’s A319’s (C-FZUH) which marked the airlines 60th anniversary tracing its routes back to 1937. The aircraft was flown to Kansas City Airport for retirement after 24 years of service.


The A220 was developed by Bombardier as the C-Series – CS100 & CS300 and entered commercial service under the original manufacturers watch before being acquired by Airbus. Canada is where the aircraft was born so to speak and it’s appropriate that Air Canada is now a significant operator of the type (along with Air Baltic, Egyptair, Delta Air Lines, Swiss International Air Lines & Korean Air) as over 30 parts manufacturers which have contributed to the production of the aircraft are located in the region or have an affiliation with Canada.


Photos by Brian Losito

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