Air Canada announces 7 new routes as it restores its North America network

Feb 22, 2022

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Air Canada announced seven new routes on Tuesday, including four to U.S. destinations, as it announces a broader ramp-up of service that will see the airline fly 90% of its pre-pandemic North American capacity this summer.

The new U.S. service includes Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Salt Lake City (SLC), Montreal Trudeau (YUL) to Atlanta (ATL) and Detroit (DTW) and Vancouver (YVR) to Austin (AUS). Air Canada currently serves all of these cities from other hubs except Salt Lake City, which it previously served in 2006 and in 2016 to 2017, according to Cirium.

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Salt Lake City begins on June 2 and will operate on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Atlanta and Detroit being on June 1 and will operate twice daily. Austin also begins on June 1, and will operate Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The new Austin route is perhaps the most notable, as the fast growth seen by the city has translated to fast-growing air service at its Bergstrom International Airport. Air Canada first served the Texas capital from its Toronto hub in 2015, and the route resumed in October 2021 after a COVID-19 suspension, according to Cirium.

The other three new routes compete directly with Delta Air Lines, which operates hubs at Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Detroit. This summer, Delta will operate twice daily Montreal-Atlanta, with additional frequencies on Montreal-Detroit. Its daily Toronto-Salt Lake City flight, suspended for COVID, returns in June and will operate daily, according to Cirium.

Air Canada’s largest Canadian competitor, WestJet, currently codeshares with Delta, and both airlines are seeking regulatory approval for a transborder joint venture that will allow for profit sharing and other coordination. That plan was initially foiled by U.S. officials, though the two airlines resubmitted their proposal last year.

Air Canada is just the latest Canadian carrier to bulk up its U.S. network ahead of the summer season. Ultra-low-cost carriers Flair Airlines and Swoop are also expanding south of the border.

North of the border, Air Canada is also launching three new domestic routes. It starts daily flights from Montreal to Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador (YQX) on June 25, five-weekly flights from Vancouver to Halifax (YHZ) in Nova Scotia on May 1 and daily flights from Calgary to Fort St. John (YXJ) in British Columbia on May 1.

Tuesday’s announcement is a big step in Air Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mark Galardo, the airline’s VP of network planning and revenue management.

More: It’s finally getting easier to travel to Canada as testing requirements change for travelers

“Canadians are ready to travel, and we’re excited to be offering a very significant growth in our schedule this summer,” Galardo said in a statement. “With our recovery accelerating and North American flying reaching 90% of pre-pandemic levels this summer, we are offering more options across the continent, including seven new city pairs from our Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver hubs, and the resumption of 41 suspended or previously announced new routes.”

Canada recently made travel to the country easier. As of March 1, travelers will need to present a rapid antigen test taken within a day of travel. Previously a PCR test was required.

Featured photo by Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

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