Air Canada will launch a thrice-weekly service between Vancouver and Delhi from October 20, which will complement its existing flights linking Toronto with Delhi.

Operating every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, flight AC72 will depart Vancouver at 2140 and arrive in Delhi at 0120 two days later. The return flight AC73 will then take off from Delhi at 0630 before touching back down in Vancouver at 0655.

Flights will be operated by the B787-9, which features a three-class configuration of 30 seats in business, 21 in premium economy and 247 in economy.

The new service is significant given that North American carriers have traditionally struggled in the Indian market. Of the “Big Three” US carriers, only United operates non-stop flights to the country, while both American and Delta have axed their India flights in recent years.

Air Canada itself only began operating its Toronto–Delhi flights last November, after taking delivery of the highly fuel-efficient B787 Dreamliner. Previously, operational inefficiencies had prevented the Star Alliance member from flying to India profitably, despite Indians being one of Canada’s largest immigrant populations.

While there is certainly demand, India is a highly price-sensitive market; the efficiency of the B787, along with the current depressed cost of fuel, has allowed Air Canada to provide competitive fares while maintaining profitability.

Also, by implementing a tight 3-3-3 configuration in economy, the carrier has managed to squeeze even more seats into its Dreamliner. With 247 economy class seats, Air Canada’s B787 has one of the higher density versions of this aircraft in the market. In comparison, United only has 204 economy seats on its Dreamliner, while JAL only offers 116 seats in coach.

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Clement Huang