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Air Canada first arrived launched its direct service to New Zealand in 2019, before a hiatus due to the pandemic.
Air Canada will boost its Auckland to Vancouver seasonal service to five times a week over the peak Northern Hemisphere winter period.
The airline will start with three flights a week in November before increasing to a record five flights a week from December, marking a 20% increase in capacity on the 2022/23 season.
The Canadian national carrier launched the direct service to New Zealand in 2019, before it was halted due to the pandemic, but returned last year with four flights a week during the peak period coinciding with the Canadian ski season.
Air New Zealand also resumed its daily direct Vancouver service in December last year. Both airlines use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the 13-hour flight.
Air Canada general manger Australia and New Zealand Vic Naughton said the increase in frequency reflects the success of last season’s flights and the airline’s confidence that the service will once again attract record bookings.
“Last year we saw extraordinarily high demand for seats, driven in part by a desire for Kiwis to visit friends and relatives in North America,” said Naughton. “We expect that demand to only intensify this year as more New Zealand travellers seize the opportunity to visit Canada’s world-class winter attractions.”
The service is part of Air Canada’s goal to position itself as an alternative gateway to other US ports for New Zealanders keen to explore the rest of North America. Naughton said they anticipate further growth in the proportion of Kiwi travellers continuing beyond British Columbia to points across Canada and the United States.
“Word is clearly out that Vancouver International Airport (YVR) offers one of the world’s fastest and most hassle-free transit processes, with Air Canada passengers able to proceed to connecting flights without re-checking their bags or changing terminals.
“In addition, our US-bound customers enjoy the added benefit of passing through US customs and immigration at YVR, enabling a quick exit once they arrive at their US destination.”
Air Canada’s B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft can accommodate a total of 298 passengers, with 30 signature service lie-flat seat suites, 21 premium economy and 247 economy Class seats.
With Air Canada’s service arriving in Vancouver in the early morning, New Zealanders can be on the slopes of some of British Columbia’s world-famous ski-fields on the day they arrive. The service means inbound travellers from Canada can skip the cold and enjoy New Zealand’s peak summer period.
The seasonal service will operate from October 31, 2023 until March 29, 2024.