Air Canada has been growing nicely lately, especially in terms of longhaul destinations. This is thanks to a couple of factors:
- Air Canada has taken delivery of 21 Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft, which open up a lot of markets that weren’t previously practical
- Air Canada has expanded their low cost Rouge division, which has opened up a lot of new international leisure markets that weren’t previously practical
With that in mind, Air Canada has just announced some impressive international expansion.
Air Canada mainline expansion
Air Canada has announced three new mainline routes, including the following:
- Effective February 16, 2017: Montreal to Shanghai daily Boeing 787-8 flight
- Effective June 8, 2017: Vancouver to Taipei daily Boeing 787-9 flight
- Effective July 1, 2017: Toronto to Mumbai 3x weekly Boeing 787-9 flight
Those are some awesome new destinations. Air Canada already serves Shanghai out of Toronto and Vancouver, so this represents their third route to Shanghai.
Taipei is a destination that Air Canada served until 2002, so this is the first time they’re operating the route in ~15 years.
Mumbai is a destination Air Canada served until 1991, so it has been a long time since they’ve operated the route. It’s great to see how much Air Canada is expanding to India. In late 2015 they launched 4x weekly flights between Toronto and Delhi. As of next month the Toronto to Delhi flight will be operated daily, and Air Canada is also adding 4x weekly flights between Vancouver and Delhi. Now we’re seeing them expand to Mumbai. Going from no India routes to 13x weekly frequencies in less than two years is incredible.
Air Canada Rouge expansion
On top of the mainline expansion, Air Canada’s low cost Rouge devision will also be adding some interesting new destinations.
These include the following:
- Effective June 1, 2017: Toronto to Berlin 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 flight
- Effective June 1, 2017: Vancouver to Nagoya 3x Boeing 767-300 flight
- Effective June 9, 2017: Montreal to Marseille 3x weekly Boeing 767-300 flight
- Effective June 26, 2017: Montreal to Algiers 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 flight
As a reminder, the longhaul Rouge fleet consists of 19 Boeing 767-300 aircraft, which each feature 282 seats. That includes 24 premium seats, and then 258 economy seats. The premium seats are basically what you’d get on a domestic flight in first class, including enhanced food and lounge access.
What impresses me about Air Canada Rouge is that the airline has actually used the longhaul part of the fleet to start service to destinations they’d never operate with a mainline aircraft. So this has led to some really cool new destinations. As you can see above, next year we’ll see flights to Algiers, Berlin, Marseille, and Nagoya, while we’ve also seen seasonal routes to Budapest, Casablanca, Prague, Warsaw, etc.
It’s impressive to see how much Air Canada has grown their longhaul route network over the past couple of years, and that growth is continuing with these announcements. Usually we see an airline announce one or two routes at a time, so getting this many route announcements at once is something we haven’t seen from a North American airline in quite a while.
What do you make of Air Canada’s new longhaul routes?