Air Canada announces direct services to Melbourne

Air Canada recently announced (04-May-2017) the expansion of its international network with the introduction of a seasonal Vancouver-Melbourne service, the first ever direct, nonstop service from Canada to Melbourne. The service will operate four times weekly between 01-Dec-2017 and 04-Feb-2018 with Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and is timed to optimise connectivity to Air Canada’s network across North America, as well as internationally from Vancouver.

Air Canada president passenger airlines Benjamin Smith said, “Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter including this new route to Australia. Vancouver-Melbourne is our third route to Australia, in addition to year-round service to Sydney and Brisbane. Our seasonal Melbourne service will provide additional options for business travellers between North America and Australia as well as Australians seeking a Canadian winter vacation experience and access to some of the best skiing in North America”.

Vancouver Airport Authority president and CEO Craig Richmond said, “This is another exciting first for Vancouver – direct service to Melbourne! We are thrilled that we will soon be able to offer Canadians direct access to this dynamic. We are pleased that Air Canada chose YVR as the airport to launch the Melbourne service and feel confident this route will be a success, hopefully leading to year-round service based upon the substantial increase we have seen of Australian visitors to YVR in the last two years”.

Air Canada will be the only carrier to offer direct services between Melbourne-Vancouver. Currently, Qantas only offer seasonal Sydney-Vancouver services between December and February, and are yet to expand this into any other Australian city.

Australia-Vancouver weekly one way seat capacity: Jan-2012 to Jul-2017 

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation & OAG.

Notes: Consists of available Brisbane-Vancouver and Sydney-Vancouver.

Interestingly, the Canadian low cost carrier Westjet has signed (02-May-2017) a definitive purchase agreement with Boeing for up to 20 787-9 aircraft. The agreement includes commitments for 10 787-9 aircraft to be delivered between 1Q2019 and Dec-2021, with options for an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024. The airline advised that the aircraft would give WestJet the ability to serve new destinations in Asia and South America, and to expand its service offerings into the European market.

Westjet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky said, “Now, with the most sophisticated commercial airliner available, we turn our attention to further growing our international presence and introducing even more travellers to our award-winning guest experience”.

Does this mean competition may be on the horizon for Air Canada in the Australia market? Luckily CAPA-ACTE has already secured Air Canada’s GM Australia and New Zealand, Paul McLean, to join us at the 2017 Melbourne Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit, scheduled for 30-May-2017. Mr McLean will be part of the Executive Panel discussing the current ‘Aviation Outlook: the state of the aviation market’, and will be able to shed light on this interesting development.

Further to this topic, the panel discussion will include:

  • Airline capacity debate: we’ve witnessed huge increases in capacity, but will demand keep up?
  • What’s the outlook for new air capacity, and which airline business models will succeed?
  • How are travel patterns and traditional hubs being disrupted?
  • Ultra long haul: the way of the future?
  • Safety/security regulatory developments and their impact on corporate travel

If you haven’t already done so, to register for the Melbourne Summit and be there in person to hear from Air Canada, click here.

Paul McLean is the General Manager (Australia & New Zealand) for Air Canada. Prior to assuming his current position he worked with the company in a variety of positions, including Multi-national Sales Manager and Regional Sales Manager British Columbia. Prior to working in the airline industry Paul worked in a variety of private and public sector roles, including commercial technology sales, manufacturing representation, and marketing and managing an adventure wilderness program for adjudicated youth in Western Canada. Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Entrepreneurial management