Air Canada weighs Toronto-Rio de Janeiro route decision

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Air Canada is playing down reports that it will start offering flights to Rio de Janeiro Galeão International airport next year.

Earlier this week, Brazilian tourism website Panrotas reported that the carrier is planning to operate three flights per week with Boeing 767-300ERs from March 2014.

The airline says that it is evaluating options for the route but has not finalised any plans.

"There are a number of possible scenarios under consideration but no decision has been made; we will announce anything we have to say in due course," says the carrier.

There are no direct routes from Toronto to Rio de Janeiro, Innovata schedules show. Air Canada performs daily direct flights to Sao Paulo Guarulhos on 767-300ER aircraft, with no competition from other carriers.

Air Canada will transition two 767-300s from its mainline fleet to its new leisure carrier Rouge, which launches in July. It will also receive its first of five high-density, 307-seat 777-300ERs in June for its mainline operation. The three-class aircraft will make its inaugural flight from Montreal to Paris in July.

Travellers flying to Brazil from Toronto can get to Rio de Janeiro on fellow Star Alliance member airlines.

Canada and Brazil signed a new bilateral transport agreement in 2011.