Air Canada touches down in Melbourne

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 4, 2017
Air Canada's inaugural flight to Melbourne arrives at Tullamarine. (Air Canada)
Air Canada’s inaugural flight to Melbourne arrives at Tullamarine. (Air Canada)

Air Canada has added a third Australian destination to its international network with the airline’s inaugural nonstop flight to Melbourne touching down on Sunday.

Flight AC37, operated by Boeing 787-9 C-FRTW, landed at Melbourne Tullamarine at about 0930 on Sunday, after a near 16-hour journey from Vancouver.

The aircraft was greeted with an Airservices Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) monitor cross as it taxied to the terminal.

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After about two hours on the ground, and some festivities and speeches at the boarding gate, the 787-9 took off as the reciprocal AC38 bound for Vancouver.

Some celebrations at the gate for Air Canada's first Melbourne-Vancouver flight. (Air Canada)
Some celebrations at the gate for Air Canada’s first Melbourne-Vancouver flight. (Air Canada)
Some celebrations at the gate for Air Canada's first Melbourne-Vancouver flight. (Air Canada)
Air Canada welcomes passengers for its inaugural departure from Melbourne to Vancouver. (Air Canada)

Melbourne joins Air Canada’s nonstop Vancouver-Sydney flight with Boeing 777-200LRs (or occasionally 777-300ERs during peak periods) and Brisbane-Vancouver service served with 787s that commenced in June.

Air Canada president for passenger airlines Benjamin Smith said the new Melbourne flights offered travellers more options for travel between Australia and North America.

“Our Melbourne flights complement our daily flights to Canada from Sydney and Brisbane, solidifying our market-leading position as the airline providing the most service between Canada and Australia,” Smith said in a statement.

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“The seamless connections through in-transit pre-clearance facilities combined with our extensive domestic Canada and USA network at our Vancouver hub positions YVR to be the preferred trans-Pacific gateway for business and leisure travellers travelling between Australia and North America.”

Air Canada's Boeing 787-9 C-FRTW at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Air Canada)
Air Canada’s Boeing 787-9 C-FRTW at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Air Canada)
An Airservices Aviation Rescue and Firefighting monitor cross for Air Canada's inaugural Melbourne service. (Air Canada)
An Airservices Aviation Rescue and Firefighting monitor cross for Air Canada’s inaugural Melbourne service. (Air Canada)

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.

Melbourne-Vancouver flights will operate four times a week for a two-month period between December 1 2017 and February 4 2018.

Following a near four-month hiatus, Air Canada will then commence year-round flights on the route three times a week from June 1 2018, with a morning departure from Melbourne and an overnight service out of Vancouver.

The Canadian flag carrier’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 that went live in May, Virgin places 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, and offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, at a later stage of the partnership.

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

9 Comments

  • Craigy

    says:

    Gee 16 hours in Economy with a 31″ seat pitch, 17.3″ wide seat and 9 across.

  • Trash Hauler

    says:

    Great livery

  • Scott

    says:

    That is very very tight Craigy, same problem QF faces with the 787 and it’s ULR flights to LHR and Aus-US in econ. It’s doable but it’s very tight no matter what way you look at it. Shame moving forward passengers are loosing space with newer types. 31-32/17.3” are more familiar figures people associate with 737’s econ for 1-5hr hops that’s it, and that’s at the edge comfort boundary’s already, after 5hrs your keen to get off.

  • Jeff Carswell

    says:

    Fantastic to have a nonstop flight avoiding the horrors of transiting through a US airport but just wish it would have been an airline that provides decent service. Air Canada does not as I found out flying to Calgary from Heathrow last June. Hopefully Qantas will start flying there year round.

  • Darren

    says:

    Great to see Canadian airplanes starting to make their way throughout Australia

  • Aviation

    says:

    Jeff Carswell – if you want to avoid AC and US transits, AKL airport with NZ is the best option in my opinion.

  • Adam

    says:

    CRAIGY

    any reference to seat pitch without knowing the actual seat type is just stupid these days. Slimline seats allow you to reduce seat pitch & at same time increase legroom.

    Where’s QF ?

    No QF BNE/YVR, no QF MEL/YVR & not daily QF SYD/YVR. QF are hopeless.

  • franz chong

    says:

    about time too. If only transiting Canada was not that complicated between Australia and the UK and the Schedules MEL-YVR-LHR were competitive against the Asian Carriers It could be onto a winner.I would as long as I can get a VISA love to go to Canada again in the future.Did it Years ago on Qantas using the 747-200’s Sydney via Honolulu to Vancouver and while better than their oppositions DC10’s(Canadian)it would have been nowhere near as good as this.but the upside of this compared to what I had in 1989/1990 was not being woken up in the middle of the night on the homebound sector to change planes at HNL for Australia and eating at some god for saken hour down to Sydney.

  • William Kubas

    says:

    Very poor Mountie…….an insult

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