Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, has announced it will operate six direct return services between Sydney and Vancouver in January 2015 to cater for demand during the peak of the North American winter holiday season. The return of flights to the western Canadian city for the first time in seven years will provide improved access for Australian travellers and ski enthusiasts to Canada’s most popular ski resorts and holiday destinations, and would also boost inbound tourism for Australia.
“North America is a key market for Qantas and these direct services reinforce our commitment both to this market and to taking advantage of seasonal peaks, including to destinations that aren’t necessarily on our network all-year round,” said Simon Hickey, chief executive officer, Qantas International.
Qantas previously served Vancouver as an extension of its flights to San Francisco on a short season basis from summer 2006 through the winter 2007/2008 schedule. These flights operated between June 2006 - August 2006, December 2006 – January 2007, June 2007 - August 2007 and December 2007 and January 2008. Through this period the carrier offered 37,900 seats in and out of the Canadian city.
Its latest schedule for 2015 will see the carrier offer two flights per week between January 3, 2015 and January 22, 2015 using a three-class Boeing 747-400. Unlike its previous operations these will fly direct from and to Sydney, enhancing the offering for travellers and removing a layover en route.
“By flying non-stop to Vancouver, our customers can enjoy more time on the mountain, or wherever in Canada their holiday plans may take them. We’re also making it more convenient for Canadian travellers to experience the best of summer here in Australia,” said Hickey.
“The schedule will appeal to customers wanting to maximise their vacation time on shorter getaways, with a morning arrival into Vancouver enabling same-day travel to ski resorts across Canada, and a late night departure on the return,” he added.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at scheduled passenger demand between Australia and Canada over the past five years and the O&D of passengers on either side of the Pacific Ocean. The data shows that overall O&D demand between the two countries was up marginally last year (up 0.1 per cent), but this followed a notable 11.5 per cent rise in 2012. Sydney and Vancouver are the largest source and end markets in this country pair and estimated 80,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between the two gateways in 2013, up 13.9 per cent on 2012.
The Vancouver services follow last week’s announcement of a new codeshare with WestJet, providing new connections from Qantas’ trans-Pacific services to an expanded network across Canada. Qantas has also announced an increase in services to the US and Santiago, Chile from early 2015, and is upgrading its Dallas Fort Worth service to an Airbus A380 as part of a revised strategy to deploy the right aircraft on the right route, at the right time of year.
"We’ve already announced changes to our trans-Tasman schedule to better reflect the seasonality of that corridor, including a seasonal Perth to Auckland service that runs for about five months of the year. Over our summer, we’ll operate additional services to Tokyo and Honolulu. Since July, we’ve scheduled a total of 108 extra flights across the international network to serve the demand in the market,” said Hickey.
These additional flights cover a range of routes from New Zealand to Chile and the US and from just a single supplementary flight up to fifteen across a period from November 2014 through to February 2015 and are highlighted in more detail below:
Melbourne - Los Angeles: 11 return supplementary services between 17 December 2014 and 18 January 2015; frequency to increase from seven to ten per week from the 21 January 2015.
Sydney – Santiago: 15 return supplementary services between 21 November 2014 and 13 February 2015; frequency to increase from three to four per week from 20 February 2015.
Sydney - Honolulu: Two return supplementary services between the 20 and 27 December 2014. frequency to increase from three to four per week from the 3 January 2014.
Perth - Auckland: Two return seasonal services per week between 5 December 2014 and 26 April 2015.
Sydney – Auckland: Five return supplementary services between 17 and 27 December 2014. Six return supplementary services between 1 and 26 January 2015.
Brisbane - Auckland: One return supplementary service on 20 December 2014.
Melbourne - Auckland: Two return supplementary services on 20 and 27 December 2014.
Sydney - Christchurch: Two return supplementary services on 20 and 23 December 2014.
Sydney - Dallas/Fort Worth: Services to increase from six to seven per week between 9 December 2014 and 20 January 2015.
Sydney - Tokyo Narita: Three return supplementary services between 26 December 2014 and 4 January 2015.