Air Canada has announced additional details this week of the strategic enhancements to its North American network it will make from spring 2015 to support its previously stated plans for profitable growth. Alongside increasing capacity to key leisure markets through its Air Canada rouge business, the national carrier will introduce five new routes across its domestic and international schedule across the Americas.
The latest schedule update from the airline includes the introduction of new non-stop services from Calgary to Terrace and Nanaimo; from Vancouver to Comox; from Toronto to Austin and from Montreal to Mexico City. Air Canada is also switching its existing Toronto-Kelowna and Toronto-Sydney, NS services to Air Canada rouge due to the high volumes of leisure traffic on the routes, while Air Canada rouge will also introduce a new domestic seasonal link between Calgary and Halifax.
"Air Canada continues to strategically add new routes in response to the strong demand in Western Canada, notably the growing business market between Calgary and Terrace/Kitimat in Northern BC, the increasing demand to and from Vancouver Island, and the continued travel demand between Western Canada and Atlantic Canada," said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines, Air Canada. "The expansion of Air Canada rouge in North America including on key domestic markets with high leisure demand and to Mexican and Caribbean destinations remains a fundamental element of our strategy for sustainable, profitable growth.”
All of Air Canada's new services are designed to connect conveniently at our Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal hubs, offering customers more choices and efficient connections to and from the carrier’s North American, European, Asian, and South American network.
The new flights from Calgary will commence from May 1, 2015 with the Nanaimo service operating on a daily basis by Jazz Aviation under the Air Canada Express brand using a 74-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400. The new Air Canada rouge seasonal summer link to Halifax will also commence from May 1, 2015 on a six times weekly basis using a 136-seat Airbus A319, increasing to ten times weekly during the peak summer period. The new daily Calgary – Terrace route will follow from June 1, 2015 and will be flown by Jazz Aviation under the Air Canada Express brand using a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200.
“As a major hub for Air Canada, Calgary International Airport is thrilled to be a strategic location for the airline’s continued growth,” said Stephan Poirier, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for The Calgary Airport Authority. “Calgary International Airport is a key player in Alberta’s growing business and tourism sectors and the introduction of these new non-stop services supports our strategy to grow YYC as an airline and destination hub for business and leisure travellers.”
The new twice daily link between Vancouver and Comox will launch from May 1, 2015 and will flown by Jazz Aviation for Air Canada Express using a 50-seat Dash 8-300. It will mark Air Canada’s return to Comox Valley Airport, which it served from Calgary between August 2006 and September 2008.
“This new service will provide another choice for island residents to access the mainland, particularly those that want to fly onto additional destinations within the expansive Air Canada route network,” said Fred Bigelow, chief executive officer, Comox Valley Airport.
At Toronto’s Lester B Pearson International Airport, Air Canada’s new daily link to the US city of Austin will commence from May 18, 2015 and will again be flown by Jazz Aviation under the Air Canada Express brand using a 75-seat CRJ705. Alongside the new route the Canadian flag carrier will also extend its current winter service to Sarasota from May 2, 2015 with a twice weekly flight using a 97-seat Embraer 190 providing the only non-stop, year-round flights on the route.
The airline currently offers flights between Toronto and Sarasota’s Bradenton International Airport between November and April and the extended operation will close the summer-time gap and offer Canadian passengers year-round access to the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast.
“We are excited to have Air Canada extend their seasonal service at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport with year-round flights. Sarasota Bradenton is a popular destination for Canadians, so we look forward to welcoming our northern neighbuors the entire year,” said Fredrick J. Piccolo, president and chief executive officer, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.
Air Canada’s switch of links between Toronto and Kelowna (from June 1, 2015) and Sydney, NS (from May 1, 2015) to Air Canada rouge will boost year-on-year capacity on the city pairs by around 40 per cent. The two routes will be flown on an up to daily basis using 136-seat A319s.
The leisure operation will also be responsible for the new Montreal – Mexico City summer seasonal service which will launch from May 2, 2015 and will again be flown using an A319. In addition, starting May 2015, Air Canada will transfer to Air Canada rouge its Calgary-Varadero and Montreal-Varadero routes which will be operated with 142-seat A319s, as well as its Montreal-Martinique route operated with an A319 configured with 136 seats.
Elsewhere, Air Canada will also boost its offering from Ottawa’s Macdonald–Cartier International Airport with its seasonal winter service to Fort Lauderdale extended to a year-round offering to be operated twice weekly with a 97-seat Embraer 190.