Air Canada sees A220 jet delivering boost for key US transit traffic
MONTREAL, Aug 14: Air Canada said on Wednesday it will launch a direct Seattle-Montreal service next spring with its new A220-300 jets, as the carrier eyes new routes to grow its share of lucrative international transit traffic to and from the United States.
Airbus SE's smallest commercial jet, expected to enter Air Canada's fleet in December with its first delivery, will help the carrier open new routes and increase capacity to cities which lack enough traffic to warrant a larger plane, the company said.
"The economics that come with this aircraft allow Air Canada to open new routes that you couldn't serve profitably," said Mark Galardo, vice president of network planning, in an interview.
Air Canada will use the fuel efficient 130-seat jet, developed by Bombardier Inc , to help attract US passengers flying through its Canadian hubs, he said.
Canada's largest carrier said in February it aimed to grow its market share of US international transit traffic to 2per cent from a current estimated 1.3per cent, although it had not set a target date. Hitting the target would generate an additional C$675 million ($510.36 million) in annual revenue, Air Canada said during an investor day presentation.
The so-called "sixth-freedom" right of an airline to carry passengers or cargo from a second country to a third country, provided it touches down in its home country, is key to Air Canada's international growth strategy because of Canada's limited population.
The Montreal-Seattle route, starting May 4, will allow US passengers to connect to destinations in Europe and North Africa.
"Part of our business case for the route is having some Seattle to Europe traffic (connect) via Montreal," Galardo said.
Galardo declined to say what proportion of passengers on Air Canada's international flights come from the United States. -Reuters