With the departures on February 1 of Air Canada Express flights AC8371 from Calgary to Fort McMurray, AC8430 from Calgary to Regina and AC8586 from Calgary to Saskatoon, Air Canada has introduced Bombardier Q400 NextGen service in Western Canada.
As it rolls out new Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners in these markets to replace smaller regional jets, Air Canada is boosting capacity on various Western Canada regional routes this spring and summer, but is reducing capacity on others, in response to demand.
Jazz Aviation LP is operating the new Q400 NextGen services for the Air Canada Express network.
“This spring, Air Canada will strategically increase capacity by either scheduling larger aircraft or adding flights to meet strong demand in Western Canada and we will continue to roll out the Q400 aircraft on additional routes in BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories in the coming months,” says Marcel Forget, Air Canada’s vice president, network planning.
“Air Canada Express flights are scheduled to enable convenient, point-to-point, same-day business travel, as well as convenient and easy connections to Air Canada’s extensive domestic, US and international network at Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver,” adds Forget.
Altogether, 19 Air Canada Express domestic and transborder regional routes will see increased capacity this spring and summer compared to 2012.
Of these 19 routes, 12 will see some degree of replacement of 50-seat Bombardier CRJ100 and Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets by 74-seat Q400 NextGen turboprops. Daily capacity on each of the other seven routes is to grow by 50 seats, so each route will be seeing an extra 50-seat CRJ flight.
In addition to the three routes on which Q400 NextGen service was launched on February 1, four more will see Q400 NextGen service from March, followed by another two in April and another three in May.
Four Air Canada Express routes will see a doubling of daily seat capacity: Edmonton-Regina, Edmonton-Saskatoon, Vancouver-Fort McMurray and one transborder route, between Calgary and Portland, Oregon.
Since capacity on each of these four routes is doubling from 50 to 100 seats a day, it appears that Air Canada is scheduling more 50-seat CRJ flights on them rather than using the 74-seat Q400NextGen to supplement the existing CRJ service.
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, serving more than 175 destinations on five continents. In 2012, Air Canada carried nearly 35 million passengers.
The airline provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities, 56 destinations in the United States and 63 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.
Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, whose network encompasses 1,329 destinations in 194 countries.