Last week it was Air New Zealand (ANZ) - this week it's Air Canada.The Canadian carrier's launch of a daily non-stop Vancouver-Sydney flight this December will also enable global travellers to avoid the US.
Air Canada's new service will be launched on December 15. It will operate with a special long-range B777-200 accommodating 42 passengers in Executive First (business class) plus 228 in economy class.
It will replace the carrier's existing B767 link to Sydney which operates via Honolulu and therefore requires that passengers go through the palava of US Customs & Immigration.
The new service will be code-shared with Air New Zealand and will complement the latter's forthcoming three times a week Vancouver-Auckland service (see Online News, March 1).
Both airlines' business classes feature the same herringbone layout fully flat-bed seating offered in Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class.
It means that passengers heading Down Under have another choice of carrier with the chance of mixing either airline to cover both Australia and New Zealand.
Flight AC33 will depart from Vancouver at 2345 arriving in Sydney two days later at 0950 after crossing the date line. AC34 will return from Sydney at 1135 to reach Vancouver at 0640 the same day.
Says Sean Menke, Air Canada's executive VP and CEO, "We are proud to be the only North American carrier to offer customers the comfort and privacy of first class lie-flat beds at a business class price."
Air Canada is taking delivery of 18 B777s from next April. Some are B777-200LRs which will operate very long distance routes like Vancouver-Sydney or Toronto-Hong Kong while the others are larger B777-300ERs (these hold 42 business and 307 economy class passengers) which will be used on busier routes like London, Frankfurt and Tokyo.
Air Canada is the only North American carrier to offer passengers fully flat-beds in business class (the carrier does not offer first class) and this will feature on all the B777s as they leave the Boeing factory. Besides the improved seating, passengers will have digital quality personal seat back entertainment systems with 80 hours of video and 50 hours of audio on demand.
Current timescale for the B777's introduction call for a Toronto-London launch in April followed by Toronto to Frankfurt and Tokyo in June. Vancouver-Tokyo is expected to follow in July and Toronto-Hong Kong in August.
For more information go to aircanada.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter