Virgin Australia plans to expand its codeshare network through a new partnership with Air Canada.
From early 2017, Virgin will place its VA airline code on Air Canada’s flights from Los Angeles to four Canadian cities – Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Later, the Australian carrier plans to codeshare on Air Canada’s nonstop flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Vancouver, as well as offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
Similarly, Air Canada will codeshare on Virgin domestic flights from Sydney and Brisbane to 10 destinations across Australia and New Zealand, including Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
Virgin Australia airlines group executive John Thomas said the agreement with Air Canada would offer Velocity frequent flyer members more options to earn and redeem points.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with a world-class airline in Air Canada to deliver new benefits for our customers, including the planned introduction of direct codeshare flights between Australia and Canada,” Thomas said in a statement on Thursday.
Currently, Air Canada flies daily from Vancouver to Sydney with Boeing 777-200LRs, with the Star Alliance member sometimes using 777-300ER equipment during peak periods. The airline started daily service on the Brisbane-Vancouver route with 787s in June.
It is the only airline offering year-round nonstop flights to Canada. Qantas has operated seasonal flights between Sydney and Vancouver with 747-400s since January 2015.
Meanwhile, Virgin has daily nonstop flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Los Angeles with 777-300ER. Also, the airline was returning to the Melbourne-Los Angeles route from April 2017.
A dummy booking on the Virgin website on Thursday for travel from Sydney to Vancouver offered connections on Virgin alliance partner Delta Air Lines‘ flights from Los Angeles. Calgary, Montreal and Toronto were not offered on the Virgin website.
Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said the strategic cooperation agreement with Virgin Australia would open new destinations for travellers.
“This agreement with Virgin Australia lays the ground work for a mutually beneficial commercial cooperation that will offer Air Canada customers more travel options and frequent flyer benefits when travelling within Australia and New Zealand,” Rovinescu said in a statement.
“We look forward to introducing Air Canada codeshare service on Virgin Australia’s flights and welcoming Virgin Australia’s customers on our flights beginning in the near future.”