Air Canada plans new routes to Delhi, Cairo

Canada’s flag-carrier intends to begin serving India’s capital from Montreal in April, ahead of launching a seasonal route between the Canadian city and Cairo.

Air Canada is planning to launch a third nonstop route to India’s capital Delhi during the second quarter of the year, with reservations now open for flights from Montreal (YUL).

According to the airline’s booking system and data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, the carrier intends to begin flying between YUL and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (DEL) from April 18. Service will be 3X-weekly using a three-class Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Flights are scheduled to depart YUL at 7.20 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, arriving in DEL at 5.55 p.m. the following day. The return leg departs DEL at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, arriving in YUL at 11.30 a.m.

OAG data shows the flying time is 13 hrs. 5 mins. from YUL to DEL, and 14 hrs. on the return. Canada’s flag-carrier will face no direct competition on the route. 

Air Canada currently operates two direct routes to DEL, flying 4X-weekly from Toronto Lester B Pearson (YYZ) and 3X-weekly from Vancouver (YVR). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, both routes were daily, providing almost 10,000 two-way weekly seats between Canada and India.

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The Star Alliance member also served Mumbai (BOM) from YYZ with 4X-weekly frequencies before the coronavirus crisis. However, the route was suspended in March 2020 and has not yet returned to Air Canada’s network.

Figures provided by Sabre Market Intelligence show that O&D traffic between Montreal and Delhi totaled 45,732 two-way passengers in 2019—a rise of 18.8% on the previous 12 months. London Heathrow (LHR) was the biggest connecting market, followed by Frankfurt (FRA) and Beijing Capital (PEK).

According to the data provided by Statistics Canada, the country’s national statistical office, Montreal is home to Canada’s fifth largest Indian community. There were about 50,000 people of Indian heritage living in the city in 2016, suggesting that Air Canada will be targeting VFR traffic on the new route to DEL.

By the time the YUL-DEL route starts, the airline plans to have resumed daily frequencies on both YYZ-DEL and YVR-DEL. Flights between YYZ and BOM are also tentatively scheduled to be reinstated at the start of the IATA northern winter 2021/22 season.  

The latest proposed route launch comes days after it emerged that Air Canada intends to open a seasonal route from YUL to Egypt’s capital Cairo. Subject to gaining the necessary approvals, flights to Cairo International (CAI) will be 3X-weekly from June 17 using 787-8s. OAG data shows the route is due to operate until Oct. 28.

Photo credit: Joe Pries