Brisbane Airport will welcome a new airline in 2016 when Air Canada launches direct services between Vancouver and the Queensland capital.
Air Canada on Wednesday (North American time) announced it would serve Brisbane three times a week with Boeing 787-8s from June 17. It will be the only direct flight between Brisbane and Canada.
“The new route increases our presence in the Asia-Pacific market at a time when trade and travel in the region and between North America is growing, with a further boost expected from the Trans-Pacific Partnership now under negotiation,” Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement.
“The operating economics of the Dreamliner together with the support from the Queensland government and Brisbane Airport have enabled us to launch the only year-round flights between Brisbane and Canada.”
Rovinescu also acknowledged the support of Vancouver Airport in helping establish the new route.
Air Canada currently flies daily between Sydney and Vancouver with Boeing 777-200LRs.
Meanwhile, Qantas operates seasonal Sydney-Vancouver flights during the peak summer and winter season and the likes of Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific offer Australians one-stop options to Vancouver via their hubs in Auckland and Hong Kong, respectively.
Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said winning the new Air Canada service had taken two years of negotiations with the airline, Vancouver Airport and tourism bodies.
“Attracting international airlines to new destinations is hugely competitive and we’re thrilled to welcome Air Canada, one of North America’s leading airlines, which has committed its flagship aircraft to Queensland,” Alroe said in a statement.
“Canadian travellers are at an all-time high to Queensland and, with the strong corporate links between our state and Canada due to the resource sector.”
Brisbane Airport said the new direct flight would cut travel times to Canada by up to five hours.
Air Canada said it intended to increase Brisbane to daily, subject to obtaining the necessary government approvals.
The Star Alliance member’s Boeing 787-8s are configured with 20 business class, 21 premium economy and 210 economy class seats.
The proposed new Brisbane-Vancouver services are just the latest in a series of upcoming new capacity between Oceania and the Americas.
In December, Qantas plans to return to San Francisco for the first time in four years, while American Airlines is slated to begin flights to Sydney from Los Angeles with its own metal using its flagship Boeing 777-300ER.
And across the Tasman, Air NZ has Auckland-Buenos Aires and Auckland-Houston taking off in the same month.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said 140,000 people from Canada visited Australia in 2014, with inbound tourism from the country growing at about six per cent a year.
Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the government was supporting the new service under its Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF).
Air Canada said the new flights would depart Vancouver on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays as an overnight service, landing in Brisbane in the morning.
The return to Vancouver would operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with a mid-morning departure out of the Queensland capital.