In December 2014, Air Canada reported a near record system load factor of 82.6 per cent, its second highest monthly system load factor ever and it is based on a system-wide capacity increase of 8.5 per cent. The excellent performance was only beaten by the previous December’s load factor of 82.7 per cent.
For the full year 2014, the carrier’s load factor was a record 83.4 per cent, versus 82.8 per cent in 2013, an increase of 0.6 percentage points. The improved performance has been facilitated by Air Canada’s network restructuring which has seen a number of its existing leisure-based routes transferred to its new Air Canada rouge division as part of a more targeted strategy.
You can learn more about the plans of Air Canada rouge and its role within Air Canada's network strategy at this year's Routes Americas in Denver, USA between February 1-3, 2015. The airline's Vijay Bathija, vice president commercial, will be on a panel session entitled 'How will new routes be successful across different airline models?' during the Routes Americas Strategy Summit.
"I am pleased to report our highest load factor ever for the full year 2014 and second highest for the month of December on continued strong traffic growth of 8.5 and 8.3 per cent, respectively," said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer, Air Canada.
"These strong results, for both the month and full year, underscore the effectiveness of our commercial strategy focusing on international growth and the strategic deployment of Air Canada rouge to compete more effectively in leisure markets,” he added.
The system-wide traffic results include the activities of the mainline Air Canada business, Air Canada rouge, which Inaugurated operations at the start of July 2013, and regional airlines from which Air Canada purchases capacity. The main growth in loads in 2014 was in the US Transborder market (up 2.4 percentage points to 82.0 per cent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (up 1.9 percentage points to 84.2 per cent), both markets were Air Canada rouge is active.
“These strong results, for both the month and full year, underscore the effectiveness of our commercial strategy focusing on international growth and the strategic deployment of Air Canada rouge to compete more effectively in leisure markets.”
President and CEO, Air Canada
“These strong results, for both the month and full year, underscore the effectiveness of our commercial strategy focusing on international growth and the strategic deployment of Air Canada rouge to compete more effectively in leisure markets.”Calin Rovinescu
Elsewhere, the local Canadian market saw a 0.4 percentage point rise in loads to 83.2 per cent and the Pacific market was up 0.3 percentage points to 86.0 per cent. The only region to see a decline was the highly competitive transatlantic market where load factors slipped 0.4 percentage points to 82.4 per cent.
An example of how the offering of Air Canada rouge has supported the carrier’s improved performance is clear when you look more closely at the Air Canada network and the range of different markets it serves.
"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,” Benjamin Smith, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Air Canada, explained in an interview last year.
In the last two months Air Canada rouge, has expanded Air Canada’s reach in Hawaii with the introduction of new year-round non-stop flights between Toronto and Honolulu, the only non-stop service between Toronto and Hawaii, launching from November 26, 2014. In addition, in the last two months of 2014, Air Canada switched its existing year-round non-stop service from Vancouver to Honolulu and Maui to daily Air Canada rouge operation from November 21, 2014 and December 1, 2014, respectively.
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 as well as domestic markets.