Air Canada explores new routes to India, may start more direct flights

Air Canada is evaluating new direct routes to India as it aims to grow its presence in the fast-growing market.On Saturday, Air Canada launched three weekly non-stop flights between Toronto and Mumbai. It also flies non-stop between Toronto and Delhi as well as Vancouver-Delhi.”We are evaluating new routes to India and are in discussions with airports. There are lot of growth opportunities,” said Duncan Bureau, vice president (global sales), Air Canada.Bureau said Air Canada has no plans for an equity investment in Air India but will look to expand commercial partnership. The two airlines are members of Star Alliance and have a code share pact.”We have grown from no flights two years ago to direct services to Delhi and Mumbai. We are very happy with the results and will look at growing our frequencies too,” he said.”Air Canada’s new service to Mumbai is significant and signals confidence in Indian market. We have had 30 per cent increase in India-Canada trade and Canadian investment in India has grown by $ 15 billion. The new service to Mumbai gives further opportunity to grow business and cargo traffic,” said Nadir Patel, Canada’s high commissioner to India.The airline flies Boeing 787-9 aircraft on its India routes.Over 1.1 million passengers flew between India and Canada in FY 2017 and Air Canada has a market share of over 15 per cent on the routes-highest among all airlines. Air Canada is the only airline to fly non-stop between the two countries.”Currently passengers from India transiting to US from Canada require a transit visa and we are requesting the government to relax the requirement,” Bureau said. Air Canada carries passengers to New York, Boston and even tier-II cities in the US and a visa waiver could help increase the traffic.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar