Air Canada has given Melbourne its first non-stop service to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) following the launch late last week of its seasonal service between the two cities.
The new service will be flying four times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until February 4 next year. However, fans of the service can take comfort in knowing that the service will return on June 1, at which point it will continue to operate throughout the year.
Unlike the airline’s other two services to Australia – Brisbane and Sydney – that operate daily, the Melbourne route is currently set to return as a four-times-weekly service when it goes year-round, according to the airline’s schedule.
As previously reported by Business Traveller, Air Canada is flying its mainline Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route, which it configures in three cabins. Its 30 business class seats (pictured below) are laid out 1-2-1 in a herringbone configuration, allowing direct aisle access for all, and are fully flat. Meanwhile the 21 premium economy seats are laid out in three rows with a 2-3-2 set up, and the 247 economy seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration across two cabins.
This is a long flight – the outbound to Melbourne takes just over 16 hours, while the return leg to Vancouver takes almost 15. The schedule is as follows (all times local):
|AC37||Vancouver (YVR)||Melbourne (MEL)||2245||0945+2||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat|
|AC38||Melbourne (MEL)||Vancouver (VYR)||1140||0730|
The launch of Air Canada’s third Australia route comes as travel between the two countries picks up. “We know Canadian inbound tourism to Australia is one the rise with forecasts expecting a 10.2 per cent increase in visitation in the next two years, growing from 162,000 travellers in 2016/17 up to 179,000 in 2018/2019,” said Simon Gandy, Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation.
Earlier this year, Air Canada began codesharing with Virgin Australia, placing its code on the Australian carrier’s domestic flights across Australia. Travellers flying on Virgin Australia’s services up to Los Angeles, meanwhile, can also take Air Canada’s flights from Los Angeles to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
It’s not just Australia that Air Canada has its sights set on in Asia-Pacific. June 1 is also set to see the launch of its new non-stop flights between Montreal and Tokyo Narita, while earlier this year the carrier made its return to Taiwan with a non-stop service between Vancouver and Taipei.