Air Canada is to resume international flights from Quebec’s Jean Lesage International (YQB) this winter with the launch of two new routes to Florida and the return of vacation destinations in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
The carrier last offered international service from the Routes Americas 2019 host in March 2020 prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the Star Alliance member has served just two domestic destinations from YQB: Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL).
Flights to Fort Lauderdale will start on Nov. 19, operating up to four times per week, while a 1X-weekly route to Orlando (MCO) begins on Dec. 17. In addition, flights to Cancun (CUN) and Punta Cana (PUJ) return on Dec. 4 and 5 respectively, each operating 2X-weekly.
“We're excited to be launching these two new routes to Florida from Quebec City, a first for Air Canada. We know that, for many Quebecers, Florida is a popular place for winter vacations,” Air Canada SVP of network planning and revenue management Mark Galardo said.
“Punta Cana and Cancun are also among the most popular tropical destinations, and we are happy to be able to bring back these connections.”
Air Canada flights out of Quebec City will be operated by Rouge on Airbus A319s that can accommodate 136 passengers. The latest schedules provided by OAG show that the airline will face direct competition from Air Transat on both new routes to Florida.
Air Transat’s YQB-FLL service is scheduled to resume on Sept. 11, initially operating 1X-weekly before a second weekly frequency is added in November. Service to MCO is planned to restart on Dec. 13 with two flights per week.
Speaking to Routes in June, YQB president and CEO Stéphane Poirier said that the airport is working to rally key stakeholders in the area to support a wider regional plan aimed at stimulating traffic recovery and driving economic development over the years to come.
“We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to make the airport a springboard for our businesses,” Poirier said. “We are determined to turn the pandemic into an opportunity for growth and reorientation.”
A five-point strategy has been developed that focuses on improving the economy of not just the Québec City area, but all of northern and eastern Québec.
The project includes optimizing the airport’s catchment area by stopping traffic leakage; consolidating regional air services with YQB as the hub; building an intermodal airfreight centre; and developing an industrial park on 1.2 million square meters of land.
Additionally, the airport wants to create a US pre-clearance centre, costing up to C$75 million. Poirier said this would be essential to opening new international markets and improving the attractiveness of the Capitale-Nationale area.
Photo credit: Joe Pries