FlyingColours From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2315 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1772 times:
I know that Excel sent 4? 737-800s over to Canada last winter (2004-05), I heard that a large number of Excel crews went out to Canada to fly on those aircraft (as pilots and cabin crew) but to also train Zoom cabin crew on them. This year the XLA crews were all Pursers and Assistant Pursers of experiance and not juniors (so I know I am in the uk this winter .
The Flight crew are all from Excel and the cabin crew is/was a mix of Excel and Zoom staff.
The registrations stayed the same as did ownership and operation of the aircraft (Owned & operated by XLA on behalf of Zoom).
Because the aircraft were being used in Canada some ammendments to both flightdeck and cabin procedures were made, I don't know what all of these were (mostly involving approach procedures and infant seat belts) as I didn't start for them until March (when the aircraft were coming back).
Hope thats some use,
Lifes a train racing towards you, now you can either run away or grab a chair & a beer and watch it come - Phil
Crosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2595 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1719 times:
Hope you're ready for a long-haul! Here goes.
First Choice Airways' Canadian operations are quite different due to the size of the programme, and the airline has long experience of operating in partnership with Canadian carriers...
In late 1988, just over a year after their start-up in the UK, Air 2000 formed a Canadian subsidiary; Air 2000 Airlines. Ownership rules quickly forced Air 2000 to transfer ownership to Canadian investors, and they were also forced to change the name of the company - first to Air 3000 and later to Canada 3000 Airlines.
Every year until 1997 several Air 2000 757 spent their winters in Canada with Canada 3000. The aircraft were always placed on the Canadian register, but flown by a mix of Canadian and UK pilots (who had their licences validated as Canadian in order for them to fly C-registered aircraft)
It was a very productive relationship. Not only did it give both Air 2000 and Canada 3000 a very cost-effective solution to their seasonal capacity requirements, but due to the relationship Canada 3000 also had the main contract to fly Signature Vacations customers to their destinations. Signature is the First Choice Group's Canadian tour operator and Canada 3000 dedicated several aircraft to that contract.
Here are the original Air 2000 Airlines colours only worn for a couple of months - identical to the UK livery with an additional Maple leaf;
In 1997 Canada 3000 lost the Signature Vacations contract on cost grounds to Royal Airlines. As a result Air 2000's relationship with Canada 3000 also had to come to an end and for the 1998/1999 season several 757s were leased to Royal.
In addition to the winter work, often in the summer an Air 2000 757 would retain it's Canadian registration on return to the UK in order for it to be flown by Canada 3000/Royal flight crews. This meant Air 2000 did not have to recruit so many pilots who would only be required in the peak season, and the Canadian airlines did not have so many under-utilised crews out of season.
From late 1999 there were no Air 2000 aircraft in Canada during the winter, a downturn in the Canadian market meant the capacity was not required and Air 2000 used the spare winter capacity in markets like Denmark, Argentina and Peru.
After Canada 3000's demise in late 2001, who had just taken over Royal, there was a large capacity shortfall in the Canadian market. Signature Vacations and Air 2000 jointly forged a relationship with Skyservice to take over most of their Canadian business. For the first season, winter 2002/2003 2 A320s were leased to Skyservice alongside a single B757, G-OOOZ.
Since Skyservice had no experience with the B757 it was flown by Air 2000 flight deck crews with a few Skyservice pilots in order for them to gain experience on type. Similarly in the cabin initially there were a mix of Air 2000 and Skyservice cabin staff on every flight, but towards the end of the winter cabin crews were all Skyservice.
The A320s were flown on the Canadian register, but as in the past UK crews were based in Canada with Canadian endorsements on their licences to operate on Skyservice aircraft.
For summer 2003 the 2 A320s returned to the UK on the Canadian register, and were based at Belfast and Luton. Flown by Skyservice pilots (and a couple of Air 2000 guys with Canadian validations) At the same time Skyservice gained their first experience of operating the B757 for themselves - G-OOOC was re-registered C-FTDV and based in Dublin for the season. Ironically many of the crews were ex-Canada 3000/Royal who had spend a lot of time operating for Air 2000 and had hundreds of hours on this aircraft under it's previous Canadian identities C-FXOC and C-FRYL! Air 2000 cabin crew were dedicated to the Canadian operation at these bases. This operation was important for Skyservice, as it allowed them to rapidly gain B757 cycles counting towards their ETOPS approval for the type.
The following winter saw the start of an established pattern to the First Choice Airways/Skyservice joint operation. 1-2 First Choice A320s go to Canada, along with FCA 5-7 B757s. They are flown by a mix of Skyservice and FCA pilots under Canadian rules, all cabin crew are from Skyservice. Engineering support is jointly provided by both airlines.
The First Choice Airways aircraft in Canada are dedicated to Signature Vacations, so in reality although the airline is different the aircraft are carrying First Choice Group passengers all year round and as such retain full First Choice branding throughout their time in Canada. In Summer 2004 when C-GJUQ was used in the UK for First Choice Airways the company required it to be refurbished in line with the rest of the fleet. FCA supplied the same leather seats used on the rest of the short-haul fleet to be installed on the aircraft during it's time in the UK. At the end of the summer the First Choice Group took the decision to leave the FCA seats on the aircraft as it would be flying Signature passengers back in Canada. So even though it is nothing to do with FCA, it still has our seats on it to maintain a better brand image for the Canadian operation.
During the Summer all aircraft return to the UK, rejoin the core First Choice fleet and most revert to the UK register. The only exceptions are 2 A320s based in Belfast and Luton (for Summer 2004 Cork was used instead of Luton) and 1 B757 in Dublin. The aircraft are crewed by Skyservice pilots, First Choice cabin crew and engineering support is a joint operation.
The same aircraft tend to transfer every year because the legal and technical paperwork is much more straightforward if the aircraft has a past history in Canada and the UK. The aircraft still require modifications when they transfer from G-reg to C-reg and vice versa to comply with airworthiness rules which differ slightly from country to country - again using the same aircraft makes these mods simpler.
The only aircraft which currently does not return to the UK in the summer is C-FTDV which is currently operated by Skyservice year-round and will most likely remain in Canada until its lease contract expires. This aircraft has a long history in Canada, and has spent almost as much time there with Canada 3000/Royal/Skyservice as it has at home in the UK - and by the end of its lease will probably have spent more time in Canada.