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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday