Air France Expands Canadian Network With Québec Route

The Canadian airport’s CEO Stéphane Poirier said the arrival of Air France would bring 'major economic benefits' for the city.

Credit: Joe Pries

Air France is increasing service to Canada during the summer season with the addition of Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) to its network.

The route from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) will become the airline’s fourth to Canada—its second largest long-haul market by capacity—alongside its flights to Montreal (YUL), Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR).

The SkyTeam alliance member will offer three round trips per week from May 17, flying on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Flights to Quebec will be onboard Airbus A330-200 with 224 seats in a three-class cabin.

Stéphane Poirier, president and CEO of YQB, described the arrival of Air France as “a boon to the socio-economic development of the greater Québec City area.”

“While our industry and operations were severely impacted by the global pandemic, we have continued to work with the region to recover and expand our flight options,” he said. “We pooled our resources and our energies, and now we’re reaping the rewards of this extraordinary collaboration.” 

Air France’s planned Paris-Québec route is the second new transatlantic service secured by the Canadian airport in the last three months. In October, Air Transat confirmed the launch of a once-weekly flight to London Gatwick (LGW) from May 11, operating using Airbus A321neo aircraft. The route will be in addition to the airline’s existing YQB-CDG service.

Québec City mayor Bruno Marchand said the city—which hosted Routes Americas 2019—“couldn’t have hoped for more” during its recovery from the pandemic.

He added: “The thousands of additional tourists that will visit the capital over the next few years will be a breath of fresh air for our businesses, restaurants, and hotels. As for our entrepreneurs, for whom France is the main export market, this agreement between Air France and YQB will give rise to a multitude of possibilities.”

Air France has been present in Canada since 1950. During the summer 2022 season, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows the carrier plans to serve Montreal up to 4X-daily, Toronto up to 2X-daily, and Vancouver up to 1X-daily. Overall capacity during the season will be 25% higher than before the pandemic.

Paris was the fourth largest international O&D market from Québec in 2019 behind Fort Lauderdale, New York and Cancun. According to Sabre Market Intelligence figures, traffic between Québec and Paris during the year totaled 51,408 two-way passengers—one third of whom traveled indirect.