Air Canada will start service between Toronto Pearson International airport and Tokyo Haneda International airport on 1 July with the 251-seat Boeing 787-8.
No other carriers are servicing the route, Innovata schedules show. A new air services agreement between Canada and Japan signed in October allowed carriers from both countries to each launch one daytime daily service beginning on 31 March.
The year-round service will be the carrier’s fifth Asian route from Toronto Pearson, which the airline is working to transform into a global hub to increase its sixth-freedom traffic originating in places like the USA.
US-based carriers are entitled to four Tokyo Haneda frequencies under air agreements with Japan. Three of those frequencies have already been awarded, and the last becomes available this month when American Airlines returns it to the regulator.
Unlike Canadian carriers, they face restrictions on when the fights can land and take-off. The US flights to Haneda must arrive between 22:00 and 07:00 Toyko time and take off between midnight and 07:00.
In a statement, Air Canada’s executive vice-president and chief commercial officer Ben Smith says the daytime flight will be convenient for passengers, especially those originating from the Northeast USA.
“Located less than 30 minutes by monorail from Tokyo's central business district, Tokyo-Haneda is Japan's busiest airport and is popular with travellers going into the city,” says Smith. “Moreover, with North America's only daytime flight to Tokyo-Haneda, the schedule is convenient for those who want to maximise productivity during their trip.”
Delta Air Lines has called on the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to award all four frequencies without specifying a gateway, however Hawaiian Airlines has opposed that request unless the DOT agrees to drop the time restrictions and review the past three awards.
Air Canada now flies daily to Tokyo’s Narita International airport from Toronto and Vancouver as well as three times weekly from Calgary. Daily frequencies between Calgary and Narita will begin in mid-2014.
Air Canada unveiled its new 787 interior on 4 December and announced Toronto-Tel Aviv as the first dedicated service using the aircraft type, which will start service in July. The carrier will have also received a third 787 by that time.
The Canadian carrier will begin receiving its 37 787s from early 2014. The order consists of 15 787-8 aircraft and 22 larger 787-9 models, which will start joining the -8 models in July 2015.