Canadian leisure carrier Air Canada rouge is to expand its operations into Western Canada to serve a number of predominantly leisure markets from Vancouver and Calgary to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Anchorage. Flights on these routes, currently operated by Air Canada, will be converted to Air Canada rouge service beginning this spring, as will flights to San Diego from Toronto.
“We will continue to evaluate future market opportunities as new aircraft are introduced into the mainline fleet and existing aircraft are released for operation by Air Canada rouge as market demand warrants”Ben Smith
Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Air Canada
In addition, Air Canada’s leisure division will introduce a new seasonal non-stop service between Vancouver and Phoenix from December 17, 2014, while the existing Air Canada service from Calgary and Toronto to Phoenix will also be converted to Air Canada rouge operation to consolidate activities at the US destination. The carrier will compete with US Airways and WestJet (also seasonal) on the new Vancouver – Phoenix route, an estimated market of around 122,000 bi-directional O&D passengers.
"We are very excited to bring Air Canada rouge to Western Canada and launch new seasonal service between Vancouver and Phoenix. The expansion of our leisure carrier to Vancouver and Calgary, in tandem with Air Canada's mainline fleet renewal, is a key element of our strategy for sustainable, profitable growth at both airlines," said Ben Smith, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Air Canada.
California and the US Southwest are popular holiday destinations from Western Canada and Anchorage is an important port of call offered by Air Canada’s tour operator business, Air Canada Vacations, for cruise packages so fits well into leisure orientated schedules. “Air Canada rouge is best suited to compete more cost effectively in these markets where there is both a high leisure travel demand and low-cost competition,” said Smith.
Air Canada rouge will deploy an Airbus A319 on all of these Western Canadian services as well as the links from Toronto. The flights from Calgary and Vancouver to Las Vegas will switch operator on April 28, 2014, followed by services to Los Angeles from May 1, 2014. The Vancouver – Anchorage flight will switch on May 16, 2014 and Vancouver - San Francisco service from July 1, 2014, while the new Vancouver – Phoenix launch and existing Calgary – Phoenix switch will take place from December 17, 2014.
The existing links from Toronto to San Diego and Phoenix will move from Air Canada to Air Canada rouge operation from March 29, 2014 and May 4, 2014, respectively. With the addition of all these routes, together with its previously announced summer 2014 schedule to Europe, the Caribbean and the United States, Air Canada rouge plans to operate a total of 54 routes, including new service this summer to Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, Manchester, Nice and Rome.
Air Canada rouge operates a fleet consisting of Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus A319 equipment transferred from Air Canada. By the end of March 2014, Air Canada rouge's fleet will include four 767-300ERs and 13 A319s, and by December 31, 2014, the carrier's fleet is planned to consist of eight 767-300ERs and 25 A319s.
"We will continue to evaluate future market opportunities as new aircraft are introduced into the mainline fleet and existing aircraft are released for operation by Air Canada rouge as market demand warrants,” said Smith. “We look forward to offering customers in Western Canada a full range of products and services offered by both airlines, each suited to specific markets on a route-by-route basis."