Air Canada plans seasonal Melbourne-Vancouver flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 4, 2017
Air Canada Boeing 787-8 C-GHPQ at Brisbane Airport. (Nathan Sieben)
An Air Canada Boeing 787-8 at Brisbane Airport. (Nathan Sieben)

Air Canada will add a third Australian destination to its international network from December when it begins seasonal nonstop flights between Vancouver and Melbourne.

The Star Alliance member said on Wednesday (Canada time) it planned to serve Melbourne four times a week during the summer holiday period between December 2017 and February 2018 with Boeing 787-9 equipment.

Currently, Air Canada flies daily from Vancouver to Sydney with Boeing 777-200LRs, with the airline sometimes using 777-300ER equipment during peak periods. The airline started daily service on the Brisbane-Vancouver route with 787s in June.

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While Qantas has operated seasonal flights between Sydney and Vancouver with 747-400s since January 2015, Air Canada is the only airline offering year-round nonstop flights from Australia to Canada.

“Our seasonal Melbourne service will provide additional options for business travellers between North America and Australia as well as Australians seeking a Canadian winter vacation experience,” Air Canada president for passenger airlines Benjamin Smith said in a statement.

The Melbourne-Vancouver flights have been scheduled for December 1 2017 to February 4 2018.

Air Canada general manager for Australia and New Zealand Paul McLean said the decision to mount flights to Melbourne represented a “major vote of confidence” in the Australian market.

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“Australian travellers are continuing to embrace Canada as a year-round destination, while Vancouver is now well established as a friendly and convenient gateway to North America,” McLean said in a statement.

“By operating the only non-stop service between Melbourne and Canada we are making it easier than ever before for Victorians to experience Canada’s unsurpassed winter attractions, which include some of the world’s leading ski resorts in British Columbia and Alberta.”

McLean said onward connections from Vancouver to cities such as New York or Las Vegas had proved very popular on Air Canada’s Brisbane and Sydney services.

Air Canada’s 787-9s used on international routes are configured with 298 seats comprised of 30 in business, 21 in premium economy and 247 in economy.

In December 2016, Virgin Australia and Air Canada announced a codeshare partnership.

Under the agreement, Virgin will place its VA airline code on Air Canada’s flights from Los Angeles to four Canadian cities – Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The Australian carrier also planned to codeshare on Air Canada’s nonstop flights from Australia to Canada.

Air Canada and Virgin Australia.

However, a check of the Virgin website on Thursday showed the codeshare was yet to be implemented, with dummy bookings for flights from Sydney to Vancouver offering connections on Virgin alliance partner Delta Air Lines’ flights from Los Angeles.

Also, Air Canada planned to codeshare on Virgin Australia 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.

The two carriers would also offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

Melbourne was one of six new routes Air Canada announced on Wednesday, with the airline and its low-cost unit Air Canada Rouge set to add seasonal Toronto-Belize City, Toronto-St Vincent, Montreal-Lima, Montreal-Pheonix and Vancouver-Orlando flights starting in December 2017.

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

AC38 Melbourne-Vancouver

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday 

11:40

07:30

AC37 Vancouver-Melbourne

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

22:45

09:45+2

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15 Comments

  • Paule

    says:

    WhooHoo! At last! We can be in Toronto for dinner and avoid both SYD and LAX!

  • Lechuga

    says:

    Love it, about time Melbourne got a link to Canada.

  • Marc

    says:

    BC eh. Love it.

  • A K.Hutchison

    says:

    I have been travelling between Vancouver and Melbourne for ten years leaving Vancouver in October and returning to Canada in April.

    The transfer between Sydney domestic and Sydney International is a nightmare,even travelling Business Class.

    I can’t wait until Air Canada flies the whole year between Vancouver and Melbourne non stop.

  • Colin of the North

    says:

    At last! Although I am very disappointed that the service (at this stage) is only in the Northern Winter time frame. I need to be in Vancouver during their summer school break, so as to be able to maximise time with my Grand Children.
    I flew Air Canada to Vancouver last June and the experience at Brisbane airport during transfer was horrendous, to say the least.
    As my next visit to Canada (again June) will be my ninth, flying direct would be the icing on the cake.

    Please Air Canada make this an all year round service,

  • Andrew

    says:

    Nice one !

    Now my family will be able to fly directly to Canada from Melbourne for my daughters godmother’s wedding.

    May become an annual thing now.

    Andrew.

  • Lechuga

    says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would be one of the longest flights in the world right?

  • Mike

    says:

    @Lechuga, YVR-MEL will be the world’s 11th longest non-stop flight when it starts. It will drop to 12th when PER-LHR starts in March 2018.

  • David

    says:

    Quite a number of people I know who have flown AC say never again. Cramped seats, poor service and food, are all in there. Some are regular flyers to YVR, and choose other airlines now.

  • Lena

    says:

    Awesome!!! Finally!!! THANK YOU!!! The transfer from Sydney domestic to International is a nightmare!! Especially having little kids & having to cart all your luggage!!

    Can’t wait to use the route next Christmas!!!!

  • I’m from Vancouver. This is amazing. My cousin is a flight attendant for Air Canada and I just called her. She didn’t know. Very excited.

  • Chopper Boy

    says:

    For all those complaining about transiting SYD or BNE en route between MEl and YVR, suggest you try Air NZ via AKl. A seamless transit, good connections and a great in flight experience.

  • franz chong

    says:

    not a minute too soon.I have a teacher who did it thirty years ago albeit ex SYDNEY on the old CANADIAN DC10’S in 1987 with his wife and two small kids and talk about a nightmare some kind of cultural exchange thing.in those days you spent the night in Sydney before connecting onwards BACK IN THE DAY.When we returned in 1989 with a bunch of students and other accompanying teachers it was all the way on Qantas via SYD AND HNL.Having said that I do wish nonstop services like what we have with the 787’s and in the case of the ex Sydney passengers 777’s existed in those days.stopping for an hour in the middle of the night coming home is no fun in all fairness and changing planes although you don’t have to clear US IMMIGRATION like it was in those days if continuing through to Vancouver arriving behind other planes between 5:40am and 7:40am is something nobody would wish on anybody.

  • james

    says:

    AC has almost a monopoly on nonstop OZ/Canada flights. As such, they charge a lot more in general that flights via LAX or SFO to YVR.

    Just last week, airlines starting dumping flights at Xmas. eg. $1199 SYD/LAX return departing Dec 25 coming home from Jan 10-30 & $150 more for Dec 26 departure. Similar fares from BNE & MEL.

    These AC nonstop will only work if priced right, especially now we’re coming into the recession from hell & the real estate market is totally stuffed. Developers/builders etc. are gong broke left, right & centre, so won’t be going anywhere for years.

  • Dale

    says:

    Hey David, I’ve made 13 flights to Australia and taken Air Canada for the majority of the flights. I’ve never had a flight that I would describe as horrible or bad. Avoiding LAX is great, although transiting YVR on the flight at the end of February was very messy.

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