Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

AirCan aims right at WestJet

Launches short-haul Express carrier

  • Print

MONTREAL -- Air Canada launched its regional service in rival WestJet's backyard on Friday with the introduction of Bombardier Q400 turboprops.

The Montreal-based carrier said the first flights connected Calgary to Fort McMurray, Alta., Regina and Saskatoon. Nine additional routes will be added over the coming months.

Air Canada also said it plans to increase capacity on key routes in the spring and summer by using larger aircraft, adding flights to "meet strong demand" and roll out additional turboprops to routes in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, said Marcel Forget, the airline's vice-president of network planning.

Capacity will be added to 18 routes involving Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, with some routes seeing a doubling in available seats. Capacity will also grow 24 per cent starting in May between Toronto and Fort McMurray.

The 76-seat Q400 planes will be operated by Jazz Aviation under the Air Canada Express brand and replace 50-seat CRJ100/200 jets.

Calgary-based WestJet was slated to announce in January its own regional service plans using the Q400 turboprops, but that has been delayed until February.

The company reports its quarterly results Feb. 6.

WestJet Encore will initially service either eastern or western routes starting in the second half of 2013, followed nine months later by the other half of the country. It expects to add up to 45 Q400s over five years.

WestJet president Gregg Saretsky has said the service will reduce airfares on regional routes by about half of the full fare.

Air Canada has vowed to respond to lower fares promised by WestJet with its new regional service.

Meanwhile, the airline's low-cost carrier has begun hiring the first 150 flight attendants based in Toronto for the July 1 launch of service to Europe and the Caribbean.

Air Canada Rouge will begin operations with two Boeing 767-300ER and two Airbus A319 aircraft that will be released from Air Canada's mainline fleet. Additional planes will be added as Air Canada starts to take delivery of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2014, ramping up to 50 planes.

Timing of the Boeing 787 deliveries has been in doubt because of a suspected battery problem that has grounded the worldwide fleet.

The discount airline will start with flights from Toronto to Venice, Italy and Edinburgh, Scotland -- two destinations that currently aren't served by Air Canada, and will serve Athens, Greece from Toronto and Montreal.

Air Canada's existing flights to Cuba, the Dominican Republican, Jamaica and Costa Rica will be flown by the discount carrier from Toronto.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Air Canada's shares gained three cents to close at $2.47 in Friday trading, while WestJet was up 74 cents or 3.46 per cent, to $22.10.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2013 B17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Police: Three or four infants' bodies found in storage locker

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google