Air Canada has announced that its leisure carrier subsidiary, Air Canada rouge, is expanding service to Hawaii with the introduction of new year-round non-stop flights between Toronto and Honolulu. The new route, offering the only non-stop service between Toronto and Hawaii, will begin November 26, 2014 and will be operated by a Boeing 767-300ER.
In addition, Air Canada has revealed that existing year-round non-stop service from Vancouver to Honolulu and Maui, currently operated by Air Canada, will be converted to daily Air Canada rouge Boeing 767-300ER service effective November 21, 2014 and December 1, 2014, respectively. Elsewhere, as part of its Air Canada rouge winter schedule to Caribbean destinations, twice-weekly seasonal service from Toronto to St. Maarten, previously operated by Air Canada, will be converted to Air Canada rouge Boeing 767-300ER service effective December 20.
"With the expansion of Air Canada rouge to Hawaii, we are delighted to introduce the only non-stop flights between Toronto and Hawaii. Hawaii has long been a very popular vacation destination for Canadians from coast to coast," said Benjamin Smith, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Air Canada.
"Air Canada rouge is best suited to compete more cost effectively in markets where there is both a high leisure travel demand and low-cost competition. The expansion of our leisure carrier to Hawaii, in tandem with Air Canada's mainline fleet renewal, is a key element of our strategy for sustainable, profitable growth at both airlines," added Smith.
Air Canada says it will continue to evaluate future market opportunities as new aircraft are introduced into its mainline fleet and existing aircraft are released for operation by Air Canada rouge as market demand warrants. Since the launch in July 2013 of Air Canada rouge, Air Canada has deployed its leisure carrier to a growing number of Caribbean, European and select sun destinations in the United States.
We first revealed about Air Canada's intention to switch its Hawaii operations to its Air Canada rouge leisure division in the following story published at the start of May 2014: Air Canada to Launch Year-Round Service to Rio de Janeiro
With the addition of the Hawaii and St. Maarten 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 58 routes by next winter, including service this summer to Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, Manchester, Nice and Rome. The carrier operates a fleet consisting of Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus A319 aircraft transferred from Air Canada. By the end of May 2014, Air Canada rouge's fleet will include six Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and 18 Airbus A319 aircraft.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at passenger demand between Canada and Hawaii, a market that is now dominated by WestJet Airlines. Since 2004 O&D demand has risen by 88.2 per cent with an average annual growth of 9.8 per cent between 2004 and 2013.