Air Canada Rouge Brings Year-Round Link to Dublin

Air Canada has revealed that its current seasonal service between Toronto and Dublin, Ireland will be converted to a year-round service operated by its new leisure carrier, Air Canada rouge, beginning in 2014.  Air Canada will operate the route this year on a summer only basis as originally planned with flights from May 17, 2013 through to September 30, 2013 but Air Canada rouge will commence year-round service starting May 1, 2014.

Air Canada has been serving Ireland since its predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines, first flew to Shannon in 1947 and the Emerald Isle becomes the fourth European destination in Air Canada rouge network.  The start-up inaugurates operations this summer bringing together the historic brand of Air Canada with Air Canada Vacations' 30-plus year history of holiday travel excellence. 

"Dublin is the fourth European destination announced for Air Canada rouge, which will begin flying this July to Edinburgh, Venice and Athens in addition to a number of Caribbean destinations.  We intend to grow Air Canada rouge quickly from four aircraft to 32 aircraft by the end of 2014 and 42 aircraft by the end of 2015," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

“Today, there is a very strong market for both leisure customers and visiting friends and relatives, so this is an ideal market for our new leisure carrier, Air Canada rouge, to operate more cost effectively on a year-round basis," he added.

“Today, there is a very strong market for both leisure customers and visiting friends and relatives, so this is an ideal market for our new leisure carrier, Air Canada rouge, to operate more cost effectively on a year-round basis.”

Ben Smith
Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Air Canada

The launch of Air Canada rouge will allow the Canadian flag carrier to compete more aggressively in the highly competitive leisure travel market with lower-cost competitors like Transat AT, Sunwing and WestJet Vacations.  Among its confirmed destinations two of its initial long-haul routes are new to the Air Canada network, while Athens and Dublin are served on a seasonal basis by the business. 

Alongside its transatlantic network, Air Canada rouge's initial operations from July 1, 2013 also includes eleven destinations in the Caribbean.  Its start-up fleet consists of two Airbus A319s and two Boeing 767-300ERs that will grow to ten aircraft by the end of 2013, 32 by the end of 2014 and 42 by the end of 2015.

The Canadian flag carrier and Star Alliance member has continuously served the Dublin market on a seasonal summer-only scheduled basis since 2002 and currently competes directly with Air Transat, which also links the Irish capital to Montreal.  In 2012, an estimated 88,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on this route between Dublin and Toronto, up 2.2 per cent on the previous year when Sunwing Airlines also offered flights and more than double the demand of five years ago.  

The announcement represents a further fillip for Dublin Airport which has already seen its transatlantic capacity increase by almost a fifth in the summer 2013 schedule as all operators serving Canada and the US from the Irish capital increase capacity. 

Overall, there will be an extra 200,000 seats on North American routes during the summer, which is a 17 per cent increase compared to last year.  The addition of American Airlines’ new daily service to New York JFK, which commences in June, means that Dublin Airport will have 15 direct scheduled services to North America this year with 224 flights per week.

“Air Canada’s decision to operate a year-round service to Dublin from next May is excellent news for both business and leisure travellers and underscores the strong links between Ireland and Canada.  Ireland is the fifth largest recipient of Canadian investment, and there are strong historical and cultural connections between the two countries,” said Vincent Harrison, Strategy Director, Dublin Airport Authority.  “This is the culmination of much hard work as we have been working to secure a year-round Canadian service for several years.”

Our analysis of traffic between Dublin and Toronto in 2012 shows Air Canada had just a 17 per cent share of the O&D passenger demand, up from 15 per cent the previous year, although the statistics show that less than a third of its passengers on the route begin or end their journeys in Toronto but take advantage of the carrier’s significant domestic offering to transfer to other destinations across Canada.  In the table below we highlight the estimated O&D markets for passengers using Air Canada’s flight to and from Dublin during the 2012 summer season.




Estimated O&D Passengers

% Total Demand


Toronto Lester B Pearson International (YYZ)


31.3 %


Vancouver International (YVR)


10.9 %


Calgary International (YYC)


8.0 %


Edmonton International (YEG)


7.2 %


Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International (YOW)


6.6 %


Halifax International (YHZ)


5.5 %


Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (YUL)


5.3 %


St John’s International (YYT)


4.4 %


Winnipeg International (YWG)


3.3 %


Saskatoon John G Diefenbaker International (YXE)


1.9 %