Air Canada takes on WestJet with new California nonstop

Mar 3, 2020

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Air Canada will add a new route to California, taking on rival WestJet with nonstop service between Vancouver and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.

Flights begin June 15, when Air Canada will begin offering one daily round-trip flight between the cities. The carrier will fly the route year-round with Airbus A319 jets that seat 14 in business class and 106 in economy.

Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s vice president, network planning and alliances, said in a statement that the new route is a way to “strategically expand our trans-border network into the populous greater Los Angeles area.”

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Galardo added the carrier expected the flights would appeal to the “start-up, tech and innovator businesses” in each of the markets.

The new service comes as Air Canada has ramped up its U.S. presence in recent years. That’s included a push to compete for U.S. travelers flying overseas routes to Europe and Asia, with Air Canada saying its hubs in Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR) and Montreal (YUL) are often favorable connecting points for travelers from non-hub markets in the U.S.

Picking up on that theme, Galardo noted that “Air Canada’s Orange County flights will also offer a wide array of connections across Canada and to Australia and India via our YVR hub.”

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Air Canada will face direct competition on the new route from Canadian rival WestJet. That carrier, Canada’s second-largest behind Air Canada, has flown nonstop between Vancouver and Orange County since 2011, according to Cirium schedule data.

The airlines’ service to Vancouver is currently the only nonstop route to Canada scheduled from the Orange County airport.

Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

More: WestJet challenges Air Canada between Calgary and Boston

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