Air Canada’s Summer 2018 International Expansion

Over the past several weeks we’ve seen the “big three” US carriers announce transatlantic expansion for the summer of 2018:

It’s always great to see airlines not just add additional frequencies to existing destinations, but rather to add flights to new destinations altogether. It looks like transatlantic growth for next summer isn’t just limited to US carriers, but our friendly neighbors to the North are also adding some new service.

Air Canada has announced new seasonal service to Bucharest, Porto, Zagreb, Lisbon, and more. This is only Air Canada’s latest expansion, as in the past several months they’ve announced new transatlantic routes using their 737s, new flights from Vancouver to Delhi, London, Melbourne, Paris, and Zurich, and also a new flight from Montreal to Tokyo Narita.

Here are the details of these new flights:

Toronto to Zagreb

Air Canada Rouge will operate 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 flights between Toronto and Zagreb between June 2 and October 6, 2018. The schedule will be as follows:

Toronto to Zagreb departing 4:55PM arriving 7:30AM (+1 day) [Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat]
Zagreb to Toronto departing 9:15AM arriving 12:40PM [Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun]

Toronto to Bucharest

Air Canada Rouge will operate 2x weekly Boeing 767-300 flights between Toronto and Bucharest between June 3 and October 7, 2018. The schedule will be as follows:

Toronto to Bucharest departing 4:50PM arriving 9:15AM (+1 day) [Tue, Sat]
Bucharest to Toronto departing 11:30AM arriving 2:45PM [Wed, Sun]

Toronto to Porto

Air Canada Rouge will operate 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 flights between Toronto and Porto between June 8 and October 26, 2018. The schedule will be as follows:

Toronto to Porto departing 10:50PM arriving 10:50AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun]
Porto to Toronto departing 12:20PM arriving 3:20PM [Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat]

Montreal to Bucharest

Air Canada Rouge will operate a 2x weekly Boeing 767-300 flight between Montreal and Bucharest between June 7 and October 4, 2018. The schedule will be as follows:

Montreal to Bucharest departing 5:20PM arriving 9:15AM (+1 day) [Tue, Sat]
Bucharest to Montreal departing 11:30AM arriving 2:05PM [Wed, Sun]

Montreal to Lisbon

Air Canada Rouge will operate 3x weekly Boeing 767-300 flights between Montreal and Lisbon between June 15 and October 26, 2018. The schedule will be as follows:

Montreal to Lisbon departing 8:45PM arriving 8:10AM (+1 day) [Wed, Fri, Sun]
Lisbon to Montreal departing 9:45AM arriving 12:10PM [Mon, Thu, Sat]

All the above flights are operated by Rouge

Before you say to yourself “great, now I can get a flat bed nonstop to Bucharest or Lisbon,” I should note that all of these routes are operated by Air Canada’s subsidiary, Rouge. All flights are operated by high density 767s. In economy you can expect at most 30″ of pitch.

There’s also not a formal business class cabin, but rather just “Premium Rouge,” which is similar to what you might get in domestic first class, or otherwise in international premium economy.

If you want to learn more about the Rouge experience, check out my trip report from earlier in the year about my 767 Rouge flight from Tampa to Toronto.

Other route additions & changes

In addition to the above new service, Air Canada has announced some other service changes:

  • As of June 1, 2018, Air Canada’s flight between Montreal and Casablanca will be operated by a mainline aircraft rather than Rouge (specifically, an A330)
  • As of May 2, 2018, Air Canada will operate a nonstop year-round flight between Toronto and Buenos Aires, rather than the current flight from Toronto to Santiago to Buenos Aires; in the process, Air Canada’s “tag” flight between Santiago and Buenos Aires will be cut
  • Air Canada’s new Montreal to Lima flight (which launches this December) will be operated year-round, rather than just seasonally

Bottom line

It’s great to see the pace at which Air Canada is adding longhaul flights. In this case, do be warned that their transatlantic expansion is happening with Rouge planes, so it’s not going to be a very premium experience. Still, the ability to fly nonstop to some of these cities is awesome. On the plus side, Casablanca will get a very nice product upgrade, while a nonstop year-round flight to Buenos Aires seems like an obvious addition.

What do you make of Air Canada’s international expansion?

Comments

  1. At least they’re expanding with new Rouge routes, rather than continuing their practice of “Rouge”-ing existing routes. And honestly, those Rouge seats aren’t much worse than the 3-4-3 on their mainline 777s these days.

  2. @ Anas — No, they’re about to take delivery of their first 737 MAX, which they’ll use for some transatlantic flights.

  3. Air Canada partners with air Croatia, yes?? Croatia is a great place to visit during the summer months but I’d think most summer tourists are looking for other destinations than Zagreb.

  4. It wasn’t in the press release but the YUL/YYZ-KEF routes will both be transferred over from rouge A319 to mainline 737 for next year. Source: Air Canada app

  5. I’m in the US and I fly to Asia a few times a year. Air Canada has always had the best rates in business class of any carrier. I think they have to offer competitive fares to lure Americans to transfer in Toronto. The Maple Leaf Lounge in the international and trans-border terminals are pretty nice, so not such a bad transfer after all.

  6. The Air Canada flights to Zurich and Paris from Vancouver are they rouge? What is the pitch in economy? Is it relatively ok, comparable to flights from North America to Europe in the ancient times (five years ago)?

    Thank you

  7. I like Premium Rouge for returning to Toronto from Europe because they’re daytime flights and I don’t want to really sleep anyway. I did this from Berlin to Toronto and everything (food, drink, entertainment) was excellent on the flight, and it was CDN $800.00 cheaper (one way) than business class and had no connections. Works for me.

  8. premium rouge was ok. I flew them YYZ-LIS in June and it was a pretty decent experience. Not great, but definitely not bad at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *