Air Canada Plans Major International Expansion this Summer with a Focus on Key Gateways to Asia

New Seoul and Istanbul routes; seven more weekly flights to China; Calgary-Narita upgrade

MONTREAL, Nov. 29, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada is bringing the world closer this summer with a major expansion of its international services. The carrier is launching a new non-stop route between Toronto and Seoul, starting service to Istanbul subject to government approval, adding seven weekly departures to Beijing from Toronto and Vancouver, and upgrading its Calgary-Tokyo Narita route to provide daily service.

"Air Canada is seizing the opportunities of the Pacific Century with the most far-reaching international expansion of its schedule in its 75-year history. Our new routes embrace the world from Istanbul to Seoul and deepen our already extensive Asian service. With our Asia expansion alone, we will be flying 11 daily departures or more than 43,000 seats a week across the Pacific Ocean this summer - a commitment of up to 14 widebody aircraft valued in excess of $2 billion. Our service to Istanbul, the bridge between Europe and Asia, adds an exciting destination to the Air Canada network with easy connections throughout Turkey and points in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa with our Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "Customers will enjoy flying on the Best International Airline in North America as rated for three straight years by the influential Skytrax World Airline Awards. All flights will offer lie flat suites in Executive First, industry-leading seatback entertainment throughout all aircraft, the ability to collect and redeem Aeroplan mileage and lounge access and concierge service for eligible customers."

Highlights of Air Canada's 2013 summer schedule include:

  • Non-stop service to Istanbul beginning June 4. Subject to government approval, Air Canada will begin flying three-times weekly, year-round to the historic city which also serves as a gateway to other destinations in Turkey, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Flights will be operated with a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. It will be the only early evening departure from Toronto to Istanbul.

  • The launch on June 2 of a new Toronto-Seoul service operating three times a week, creating a fifth Asian destination from Air Canada's Toronto hub. The year-round service, operated with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, will complement existing Vancouver to Seoul service by providing daily departures from Canada to Seoul.

  • An addition of three more weekly departures between Toronto and Beijing starting June 1, bringing the total number of departures from Toronto to Beijing to ten a week. The flights will be operated with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft

  • Four additional departures each week between Vancouver and Beijing starting June 1, for a total of 11 weekly departures, including a new late night flight timed to be convenient for business travellers. The flights will be operated with a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

  • The upgrading of our Calgary-Tokyo Narita service starting May 1 to offer daily departures, up from five a week last summer. The flights are operated with a Boeing 767-300ER.

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 175 destinations on five continents.  Canada's flag carrier is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world and in 2011 served more than 33 million customers.  Air Canada 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, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,356 destinations in 193 countries. In 2012, Air Canada was ranked Best International Airline in North America in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers conducted by independent research firm Skytrax. For more information visit, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook.


For further information:

Isabelle Arthur (Montréal) (514) 422-5788
Peter Fitzpatrick (Toronto) (416) 263-5576
Angela Mah (Vancouver) (604) 270-5741