Air Canada has become the latest carrier to begin flying the Boeing Dreamliner to Australia. The airline will launch direct flights between Brisbane and Vancouver next year.
The new service is expected to apply pressure on rival carriers Qantas and Air New Zealand, as well as increase price competition on the popular Trans-Pacific route. The move comes after Qantas recently announced it will resume flights from Sydney to San Francisco and partner airline American Airlines will launch a new Sydney to Los Angeles service from December, as well as a planned launch of Air New Zealand’s Auckland to Houston flights in the same month.
The new Air Canada service will start off with three weekly flights from Brisbane to Vancouver using a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner commencing from 17 June, with plans to increase to a daily service pending government approval. It will operate alongside the Sydney to Vancouver daily flights with tickets becoming available from 16 July.
Currently, Qantas’ Sydney to Vancouver services are seasonal with not enough aircraft to enable a year-round operation at least until 2017 at the earliest, while Air New Zealand operates three and five weekly seasonal flights from Auckland to Vancouver. Presently, many passengers travelling between Australia and Canada go via the United States where flights are more frequent, then transfer to another aircraft for their onward journey.
Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said the new service was designed to strengthen the airline’s presence in the Asia-Pacific market.
Brisbane Airport chief executive, Julieanne Alroe revealed the airport and Air Canada had been in negotiations for two years before the service came into fruition, cutting the flight time between Brisbane and Vancouver by five hours.
She commented, “[Numbers of] Canadian travellers are at an all-time high to Queensland and, with the strong corporate links between our state and Canada due to the resource sector, I’d like to thank all of our partners who have helped make this happen and we look forward to working with Air Canada to make this service a success.”
The Dreamliner aircraft will contain 20 lie-flat seats in Business Class, 21 premium economy seats, and 210 economy class seats each with in-seat inflight entertainment. The flight timings are designed to allow for connections with Air Canada’s domestic network.
Managing director for Tourism Australia, John O’Sullivan asserts the tourism industry happily anticipates the inbound Canadian market increase which is growing at a rate of approximately six per cent per year.