Air Canada plans to significantly expand its presence in Europe by adding four new destinations and upgauging aircraft it flies on several routes starting in the second quarter of 2014.
The carrier will add year-round, mainline service from Toronto to Milan with up to five flights per week beginning 18 June on a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. No other carriers fly the route, Innovata schedules show.
Air Canada’s leisure carrier Rouge will introduce new seasonal service three times per week between Toronto and Lisbon beginning on 21 June, pending regulatory approvals. The service will last through 21 September.
Air Canada will compete with charter airline Air Transat and Portuguese carrier SATA, Innovata schedules show.
Rouge will also perform thrice-weekly service between Montreal and Nice, France between 5 June and 13 October. The airline will also begin flying five times per week between Toronto and Manchester on 26 June, with flights lasting until 13 September. Rouge flights between Montreal and Barcelona will begin on 4 June 2014 and last until 11 October, 2014, subject to regulatory approvals. Air Transat flies unchallenged on those routes today, Innovata data shows.
"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,” says Ben Smith, Air Canada’s executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.
Air Canada will also increase service on several routes and upgauge aircraft it flies on several flights as it takes delivery of newer models.
As Air Canada receives new 787s starting in the first quarter of 2014, it is moving 767-300ERs to leisure carrier Rouge. It plans to take delivery of 15 787-8s and 22 787-9s between 2014 and 2018 but has not yet outlined which specific routes the aircraft will fly.
Rouge may eventually operate up to 20 767-300ERs and 30 Airbus A319 narrowbodies, Air Canada has said.
Air Canada is also adding five new high-density Boeing 777-300ERs through February 2014. The airline has taken delivery of two of the aircraft so far, which are flying between Montreal and Paris, and Toronto and Munich. The latter route will be switched with Vancouver-Hong Kong on 16 November.
Starting June 2014, the carrier will add a fifth flight per week between Toronto and Athens. Flights between Toronto and Edinburgh will increase from three times per week to five times per week starting in July 2014.
The Toronto-Istanbul route launched in June will increase from three flights per week to daily service with a Boeing 767-300ER beginning in June 2014.
An additional flight from Montreal to Frankfurt with five weekly frequencies will be added in May through a codeshare flight through Star Alliance partner Lufthansa.
Air Canada will upgauge the Montreal-Brussels, Toronto-Rome and Montreal-Geneva flights from 767-300ERs to Airbus A330-300s.
It will also upgauge flights from Montreal and Calgary to London Heathrow, and from Calgary to Frankfurt, to three-class Boeing 777-300ERs beginning 15 June. Those flights are currently operated with A330-300s.
Vancouver-London Heathrow will also be upgauged to 777-300ERs.