Air Canada is undertaking a major expansion of international services to Europe from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.
The airline today announced highlights of its Summer 2014 Europe schedule, which includes the introduction of year-round non-stop service from Toronto to Milan, Italy with up to five weekly flights, offering the only non-stop service between Canada and Milan.
In addition, Air Canada will increase its year-round Toronto-Istanbul non-stop service to daily flights from three times weekly. The airline will expand the availability of its new international Premium Economy cabin with its introduction on Vancouver-London Heathrow flights year-round, as well as Montreal-London Heathrow flights during the peak summer travel season. Air Canada will also deploy larger aircraft from its international widebody fleet on flights from Calgary to London Heathrow and Frankfurt, as well as from Montreal to Brussels and Geneva in order to meet travel and cargo demand during the peak summer season.
As part of the Summer 2014 schedule, Air Canada’s leisure carrier subsidiary, Air Canada rouge, will launch seasonal non-stop flights between Toronto-Lisbon, Toronto-Manchester, Montreal-Barcelona and Montreal-Nice. The new routes supplement the leisure carrier’s other popular vacation destinations, including previously announced Toronto-Dublin year-round service, as well as holiday and cruise package options offered in conjunction with Air Canada Vacations.
As new Boeing 777-300ER and 787 aircraft enter the Air Canada mainline fleet, Air Canada will continue growing Air Canada rouge to reach a total of up to 50 aircraft, as demand warrants. The growth of its leisure carrier, in tandem with the mainline fleet renewal and international network expansion, is a key element of Air Canada’s overall strategy for sustainable, profitable growth, both at the mainline and leisure carrier.
“The expansion of Air Canada’s global network to include four new European destinations is a significant turning point in Air Canada’s international growth strategy. With the addition of Air Canada mainline service to Milan, a key business centre, and Air Canada rouge service to popular holiday destinations such as Lisbon, Nice and Manchester, we are offering customers great new options when making their travel plans beginning next summer,” said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “Since the launch of our Toronto-Istanbul non-stop service in June 2013, customer response has been very positive and we look forward to increasing to daily flights with convenient connections throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
“The growth of Air Canada’s international network, within forecasts previously announced, is possible due to our ability to deploy capacity and continue growing at significantly lower incremental cost. Air Canada rouge’s successful inaugural season underscores its growing popularity among vacation- goers. Similarly, the introduction of our new international Premium Economy cabin has also met with extremely positive customer feedback and we are pleased to continue its introduction with our five specially-configured Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on routes such as Vancouver-London and Montreal-London where market demand calls for a larger supply of Economy and Premium Economy seats, in addition to continuing to offer Executive First business class service.
“As Canada’s preferred airline by business travelers, and voted Best Airline in North America for the fourth consecutive year, we are pleased to offer a wide range of premium products as well as high-value options together with Air Canada rouge. We will continue leveraging Air Canada’s strengths in fleet, product and network while responding to demand on both a price and cost competitive basis to serve customers across Canada and around the world,” concluded Mr. Smith.
The Canadian flag-carrier will have taken delivery of five new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for the mainline fleet between June 2013 and February 2014, and the first three of 37 Boeing 787 aircraft by the summer of 2014. Air Canada is scheduled to take delivery of six 787-8 aircraft in 2014 and the remaining 31 787-8 and -9 aircraft between 2015 and 2019.