Air Canada unveils route expansion to Asian cities, Istanbul

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Air Canada today unveiled a broad expansion of its international route network targeting Asia-Pacific cities in South Korea, China and Japan and the European and Middle Eastern gateway of Istanbul, Turkey.

The Star Alliance carrier announced in early October that it was adding two Boeing 777-300ERs to an existing order for three of the same type, with the aim of enlarging its international traffic. But Air Canada had not revealed the targets of the expansion until now.

As the 777-300ERs arrive between June and September, Air Canada will launch a service from Toronto to Seoul on 2 June with three weekly frequencies, and add three frequencies to an existing daily service to Beijing.

Meanwhile, Air Canada will deploy a portion of its 30-strong fleet of 767-300ERs to launch three weekly frequencies to Istanbul from Toronto on 4 June, four additional frequencies to Beijing from Vancouver on 1 June and two additional frequencies to Tokyo Narita from Calgary.

The addition of the 777-300ERs next year precedes the arrival of Air Canada's first 787s in 2014.

The new routes announced today adds capacity of 43,000 seats per week with 14 widebodies deployed on Air Canada's routes across the Pacific, the carrier says.