Five days before its inaugural flight on Canada Day, July 1, Air Canada rouge has announced a major expansion to its route network for the 2013-2014 winter season.
In addition to the 14 routes which Air Canada’s new leisure-airline brand will serve from July 1, Air Canada rouge will add seasonal flights operating from October through March to another 13 sunspot destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida and Southwestern U.S. for “snowbird” winter-season leisure travelers.
Air Canada rouge will begin commercial operations on July 1 with a fleet of two Boeing 767-300ER widebodies and two Airbus A319s. With the 767-300ERs it will operate transatlantic flights from Montréal and Toronto to Athens, and from Toronto to Edinburgh and Venice.
From its hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Air Canada rouge will also serve 10 destinations in the Caribbean on a year-round basis. These destinations are Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Samana in the Dominican Republic; Varadero, Cayo Coco, Santa Clara and Holguin in Cuba; San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica; and Jamaica’s capital Kingston.
But, from October, subject to receiving the necessary government approvals, Air Canada rouge will take over Air Canada’s routes from Toronto to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Huatulco in Mexico. It will operate the latter three routes on a seasonal basis.
Air Canada rouge will also take over its parent carrier’s routes from Toronto and Montréal to Orlando and Las Vegas, and from Toronto to Sarasota. It will operate the Toronto-Sarasota route seasonally.
The new leisure carrier will also assume Air Canada’s Caribbean routes from Toronto to Montego Bay in Jamaica; Grenada (to be operated seasonally); St. Kitts (another seasonal route); Grand Exuma in the Bahamas; Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, also a seasonal route; and La Romana in the Dominican Republic, another seasonal route.
Air Canada rouge will operate all the sunspot flights with Airbus A319 jets, with the exception of Toronto-Las Vegas and Toronto-Montego Bay, which it will serve with Boeing 767-300ERs.
The carrier’s Boeing 767-300ERs feature a two-cabin configuration with three customer comfort options including rouge, rouge Plus seating with additional legroom, and from winter 2013 Premium rouge, which will offer both additional legroom and enhanced service. Its Airbus A319s are configured with rouge and rouge Plus seating.
“Our plans for growing the Air Canada rouge fleet are on track to serve more holiday destination markets where we can now compete on a more cost-effective basis operating our new leisure carrier, while leveraging the strength of Air Canada Vacations,” says Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada.
“As new Boeing 777-300ER and 787 aircraft enter the Air Canada mainline fleet, we intend to continue spooling up Air Canada rouge to reach a total of up to 50 aircraft,” adds Rovinescu.
Air Canada rouge’s fleet will grow to 10 aircraft by the end of 2013 with the addition of another six Airbus A319s. It will induct four more Airbus A319s by March 2014, giving Air Canada rouge a total fleet of 14 aircraft by the end of the 2013-2014 winter season.
Meanwhile, Air Canada itself will take delivery of five new Boeing 777-300ER widebodies for its mainline fleet between June 2013 and February 2014, and the first three of 37 firm-order Boeing 787-8 jets by the summer of 2014.
Air Canada is scheduled to take delivery of seven Boeing 787 widebodies in 2014 and the remaining 30 between 2015 and 2019.
All Air Canada rouge flights will offer customers streamed wireless in-flight entertainment, modern cabin interiors with new seats, and the ability to earn and redeem mileage points in the Aeroplan loyalty program.