The Canadian Press – Staff Published Tuesday, February 25, 2020
MONTREAL — Air Canada is extending its cancellation of all flights between Canada and China to April 10 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, following the lead of its U.S. counterparts.
The announcement comes nearly a month after the airline first halted direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
It extends the suspension by nearly six weeks, as the virus known as COVID-19 spreads from China to some three-dozen countries, infecting more than 80,000 people and causing at least 2,700 deaths.
Air Canada says it is also scrubbing daily non-stop flights between Toronto and Hong Kong from its schedule until April 30 because of reduced market demand. The carrier says its ongoing daily flight to Hong Kong from Vancouver will accommodate customers originally booked on the Toronto-Hong Kong route.
Air Canada said last week it was bracing for a rough first quarter as the effects of the viral outbreak and the continued grounding of its fleet of Boeing 737 Max jets bite into sales.
It joins all American passenger airlines that typically fly to China in cancelling flights to the mainland into the spring, with U.S. carriers suspending routes until late April.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.
The airline is strengthening its position as a leader in holiday travel with an array of flight options to Europe and Mexico
MONTREAL, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Transat, named the 2019 World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, proudly presents its 2020 summer flight program for British Columbia and Alberta. The airline will be offering 12 direct flights a week from Vancouver to Europe and Mexico. What’s more, Air Transat will continue to optimize its flights within Canada to provide travellers in Vancouver and Calgary with even more options to visit Europe via connecting flights.
European destinations still a priority Air Transat’s new program features three direct flights a week from Vancouver to Amsterdam (Netherlands), London (England) and Manchester (England).
Air Transat has also increased its number of flights from Vancouver to Europe with connecting flights through Toronto and Montreal to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Basel-Mulhouse (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), Bordeaux (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Lyon (France), Madrid and Malaga (Spain), Marseille, Nantes, Nice and Paris (France), Porto (Portugal), Prague (Czech Republic), Rome (Italy), Toulouse (France), Venice (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia).
From Calgary, travellers will have access to 23 European destinations via Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Basel-Mulhouse (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (Scotland), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Lyon (France), Madrid and Malaga (Spain), Manchester (England), Marseille, Nantes, Nice and Paris (France), Porto (Portugal), Prague (Czech Republic), Rome (Italy), Toulouse (France), Venice (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia).
Direct flights to explore Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Sunny destinations are a big draw, even in the summer. That’s why the airline will offer three direct flights a week from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta.
Domestic flights to explore Canada Each week, there will be 12 flights between Vancouver and Toronto and a daily flight between Vancouver and Montreal. From Calgary, Air Transat will fly once a week to Vancouver and four times a week to Toronto and Montreal.
It’s worth noting that last year marked the arrival of Air Transat’s first Airbus A321neoLRs. Combining these aircraft with Air Transat’s widebody fleet gives the airline a great deal of flexibility. It means more flights to Europe and the South, in addition to connecting flights from major Canadian airports. Travellers win big, with more holiday choices and increased frequencies to their chosen destinations.
FLIGHTS FROM VANCOUVER TO EUROPE
CITY – Country
No. of Direct Flights
No. of Connecting Flights via Montreal and Toronto
LONDON – England
MANCHESTER – England
AMSTERDAM – Netherlands
BRUSSELS – Belgium
ZAGREB – Croatia
PRAGUE – Czech Republic
PARIS – France
BORDEAUX – France
LYON – France
NANTES – France
NICE – France
MARSEILLE – France
TOULOUSE – France
ATHENS – Greece
ROME – Italy
VENICE – Italy
LISBON – Portugal
PORTO – Portugal
BARCELONA – Spain
MADRID – Spain
MALAGA – Spain
BASEL-MULHOUSE – Switzerland
COPENHAGEN – Denmark
FLIGHTS FROM VANCOUVER TO PUERTO VALLARTA
CITY – Country
No. of Direct Flights
PUERTO VALLARTA – Mexico
FLIGHTS FROM CALGARY TO EUROPE
CITY – Country
No. of Connecting Flights via Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto
Low-cost carrier takes on Swoop in battle for best deals
ZEBA KHAN – February 5, 2020
Flair Airlines is offering a three-month unlimited travel pass as competition in the discount air space heats up.
Flair’s Go Travel Pass, which runs from Feb. 13 to May 13, offers two options. The basic pass for $499 allows unlimited travel for three months with Fridays and Sundays excluded and some blackout days. The unlimited pass offers unlimited travel for all days of the week at $699 with no blackout dates.
The airline travels to Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto. It does not fly to Quebec.
“We are thrilled to offer our passengers the freedom and flexibility to travel with our unlimited pass. Whether you are a student who needs to visit home, a small business owner on a budget, a family needing to connect or an adventure seeker looking for your next thrill; all Canadians deserve to travel without hesitation,” Sarah Riches, director of commercial for Flair Airlines said in a press release Wednesday.
Flair is one of only two ultra-low cost airlines in Canada. WestJet affiliate Swoop Airlines is the second.
And competition has been fierce. Earlier this month Swoop held a loonie seat sale where the base cost for a seat was only a dollar before taxes, fees and extras.
Last year the Competition Bureau launched an investigation into Swoop over allegations that “predatory pricing” was used to try to crowd Flair out of some routes.
Flair last year sold a stake of its company to a U.S. private investment firm in a bid to boost its fleet to compete against its rival.
Vancouver International Airport terminal building. (Shutterstock)
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) marked yet another record-breaking year for passenger volumes in 2019, but the pace growth was considerably slower than previous years.
Based on new data released by Vancouver Airport Authority on Friday afternoon, YVR saw 26.395 million passengers last year — an increase of about 459,000 passengers from 2018, when the airport saw 25.936 million passengers.
YVR saw year-over-year growth of about two million passengers in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In real numbers, 2019 was the third-slowest year for growth for YVR within the past decade, after the year-over-year growth of 375,000 passengers in 2013 and 254,000 passengers in 2011.
While the pace was slower, 2019’s record was achieved even with increasing global economic uncertainty from the China-US trade war, political tensions, the ongoing Hong Kong political crisis that began in June 2019, and the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which has particularly impacted Air Canada and its available seat capacity. There were also far fewer new routes, airlines, and frequency increases in 2019 over previous years.
International passengers overall, including USA Transborder overall, experienced a 1.3% increase — from 6.332 million passengers in 2018 to 6.412 million passengers in 2019. The Asia Pacific subregion grew by 2.7%, with 4.587 million passengers recorded in 2019 compared to 4.465 million in 2018.
European passenger volumes saw a marginal growth of just 0.4% — from 1.755 million in 2018 to 1.761 million in 2019.
Passenger volumes to the USA also increased by 1.7%, with 13.714 million passengers recorded in 2019, representing an increase of about 224,000 over the previous year.
Domestic passenger numbers at YVR saw a growth of 1.9%, rising from 12.446 million in 2018 and 12.681 million in 2019.
As for air cargo, tonnage volumes fell by almost 11% from 338,571 tonnes in 2018 to 302,571 tonnes in 2019.
Total runway aircraft movements saw a decrease of 2.1%, dropping from 295,870 movements in 2018 to 289,533 movements in 2019. Most of the losses came from the smaller aircraft, while a gain of 7.7% was experienced for jet aircraft — an increase from 157,320 jet aircraft movements in 2018 to 169,486 movements in 2019.
For 2020’s passenger volume factors, traffic will inevitably be hurt by the slowing global economy and the unresolved political crisis in Hong Kong, which was a significant contributor in Hong Kong Airlines’ decision to officially cancel its direct route to Vancouver by February 10.
In April, Vancouver will also lose Cathay Pacific’s long-running, fifth-freedom, daily flight between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a stop at YVR.
As of the end of 2019, there were 30 flights per week between YVR and HKG.
The year also had a turbulent start, with the 2019-nCoV coronavirus carrying the major potential to curb global air travel. A number of countries have already curbed air travel to China as a precaution, although Canada has yet to take this course.
YVR has the most flights to China of any airport in North America, serving about 13 destinations in China including Hong Kong. This includes 13 to 18 flights per week to Beijing, seven to 10 flights per week to Guangzhou, and 18 flights per week to Shanghai.
But this will be a major year for the airport in other ways: YVR has embarked on a 20-year-long, $9.1-billion plan to expand the terminal building and improve the infrastructure that supports airport operations both airside and landside.
The Pier D international terminal expansion, the plan’s first major terminal building improvement project, is scheduled to open in Summer 2020, providing the airport with four additional jet bridge gates and four remote stand operation bus gates, as well as new passenger amenities and dining options.
Vancouver International Airport Traffic History
Cargo (tonnes): 144,404
Aircraft Movements: 290,297
Cargo (tonnes): 151,467
Aircraft Movements: 289,371
Cargo (tonnes): 182,372
Aircraft Movements: 301,416
Cargo (tonnes): 214,472
Aircraft Movements: 311,829
Cargo (tonnes): 249,201
Aircraft Movements: 330,364
Cargo (tonnes): 260,773
Aircraft Movements: 343,068
Cargo (tonnes): 249,297
Aircraft Movements: 369,728
Cargo (tonnes): 269,129
Aircraft Movements: 367,249
Cargo (tonnes): 251,771
Aircraft Movements: 337,397
Cargo (tonnes): 228,694
Aircraft Movements: 312,078
Cargo (tonnes): 235,039
Aircraft Movements: 296,626
Cargo (tonnes): 214,882
Aircraft Movements: 290,382
Cargo (tonnes): 229,913
Aircraft Movements: 314,986
Cargo (tonnes): 223,678
Aircraft Movements: 322,949
Cargo (tonnes): 222,730
Aircraft Movements: 322,396
Cargo (tonnes): 226,233
Aircraft Movements: 328,008
Cargo (tonnes): 211,693
Aircraft Movements: 339,022
Cargo (tonnes): 197,490
Aircraft Movements: 314,437
Cargo (tonnes): 226,840
Aircraft Movements: 294,571
Cargo (tonnes): 223,878
Aircraft Movements: 296,942
Cargo (tonnes): 227,929
Aircraft Movements: 296,394
Cargo (tonnes): 228,263
Aircraft Movements: 300,454
Cargo (tonnes): 256,934
Aircraft Movements: 310,139
Cargo (tonnes): 271, 774
Aircraft Movements: 316,182
Cargo (tonnes): 281,018
Aircraft Movements: 281,018
Cargo (tonnes): 312,883
Aircraft Movements: 289,371
Cargo (tonnes): 338,182
Aircraft Movements: 295,870
Cargo (tonnes): 302,571
Aircraft Movements: 289,533
New and improved major YVR routes 2017-19
February 5, 2017:Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – Air Canada to begin daily service
March 28, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Cathay Pacific increases weekly flights from 14 to 17
May 1, 2017:Phoenix, Arizona – Air Canada to begin daily service
May 18, 2017: Denver, Colorado – Air Canada to begin twice-daily service
June 1, 2017: Nagoya, Japan – Air Canada to begin seasonal three times weekly service
June 1, 2017:Frankfurt, Germany – Air Canada to begin daily service
June 8, 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – Air Canada to begin daily service
June 8, 2017:London, UK (Gatwick Airport) – Air Canada to begin three times weekly service
June 23, 2017:Boston, Massachusetts – Air Canada to begin daily summer seasonal service
June 30, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong Airlines to begin daily non-stop flight service
October 14, 2017: Delhi, India – Air Canada’s service to be upgraded to up to five times weekly
October 26, 2017:Cancun, Mexico – Interjet to begin year-round, non-stop flight service running four times weekly
October 26, 2017:Mexico City, Mexico – Interjet to begin year-round, non-stop flight service running four times weekly
October 29, 2017: Huatulco, Mexico – WestJet to begin weekly non-stop flight service
October 29, 2017: Kona and Kauai, Hawaii – WestJet to start seasonal service earlier than usual
December 1, 2017:Melbourne, Australia – Air Canada to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal service
December 15, 2017: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop service
December 19, 2017: Montego Bay, Jamaica – Sunwing Airlines to begin weekly seasonal service
December 20, 2017:Orlando International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice-weekly non-stop seasonal service
January 29, 2018: Edmonton, Alberta – WestJet to increase flights from 50 to 59 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Calgary, Alberta – WestJet to increase flights from 88 to 112 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Kelowna, BC – WestJet to increase flights from 40 to 49 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Ottawa, Ontario – WestJet to increase flights from seven to 14 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Regina, Saskatchewan – WestJet to increase flights from six to seven times weekly
January 29, 2018: Fort St. John, BC – WestJet to increase flights from six to 12 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Victoria, BC – WestJet to increase flights from 33 to 35 times weekly
January 29, 2018: Cancun, Mexico – WestJet to increase flights from two to three times weekly
January 29, 2018: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – WestJet to increase flights from one to two times weekly
March 18, 2018:Mexico City, Mexico – WestJet launches three times weekly year-round service
April 29, 2018: Mexico City, Mexico – WestJet service to be upgraded into daily year-round service
May 2, 2018:Reykjavík, Iceland – Icelandair to upgrade existing year-round service to four times weekly throughout the year
May 4, 2018: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – American Airlines to begin year-round, daily service
May 17, 2018: Sacramento International Airport – Air Canada to begin year-round, daily service
May 25, 2018: Shenzhen Bao’an International Airportand Tianjin Binhai International Airport – Hainan Airlines to begin year-round, twice-weekly service to Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport with one stop at Tianjin Binhai International Airport
June 1, 2018: Melbourne, Australia – Air Canada service to be upgraded to three times weekly year-round
June 7, 2018: Zurich, Switzerland – Air Canada to begin three times weekly seasonal service
June 8, 2018: Paris, France – Air Canada to begin four times weekly seasonal service
June 8, 2018:Delhi, India– Air Canada upgrades seasonal service to four times weekly year-round
October 28, 2018: Honolulu, Hawaii – Air Canada upgrades service to two times daily during winter
October 28, 2018: Maui, Hawaii – Air Canada upgrades service to two times daily during winter
December 15, 2018: Kauai, Hawaii – Air Canada begins three times weekly seasonal service
December 23, 2018: Liberia, Costa Rica – Sunwing Airlines to start weekly seasonal service
December 12, 2019: Auckland, New Zealand – Air Canada to start four times weekly seasonal service
May 20, 2020: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota — Sun Country Airlines to start two times weekly seasonal service
The nose gear of a de Havilland Dash 8-400 operated by WestJet collapsed at the aircraft touched down at Terrace Northwest Regional Airport in British Columbia on January 31. The Dash 8 was operating from Vancouver, British Columbia when the accident happened.
Canada’s Aviation Herald stated that as C-FKWE touched down on the airport’s Runway 33, the plane’s nose gear collapsed before it came to halt on the runway. The flight’s 42 passengers left the aircraft with no injuries.
The Dash 8 was being operated by WestJet Encore, which is a regional arm of the LCC Canadian airline. The airline selected the Dash 8 to serve in the remote regions and currently has 47 of the type, most of which arrived in 2018.
Airlines can get permission to fly if ‘very strict conditions’ met
Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: Feb 03, 2020
Canada has allowed at least 160 flights to criss-cross North America using Boeing 737 Max jets since grounding the fleet for commercial use almost a year ago.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau banned the planes from Canada’s airspace in March after two crashes within five months in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians. Satellite data showed both planes experienced significant flight control problems. Garneau said he won’t lift restrictions on the planes until all of Canada’s safety concerns have been addressed.
CBC News analyzed flight data that shows Canadian airlines have continued to fly the jets for the past 11 months, often multiple times a week. The flights include four hours in the air over Canada from Windsor to Vancouver and shorter hauls such as Montreal to Trois-Rivières, Que., and Abbotsford, B.C., to Calgary.
Transport Canada said no passengers were on board any of the flights. The department said it has been allowing Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing to fly the planes for maintenance, storage, or pilot training under certain conditions. Only certain pilots with specialized training and briefings of the 737 Max are allowed to operate the aircraft.
The flights came as a shock to some families in Canada whose loved ones died on a 737 Max.
“It feels like a slap in the face,” said Chris Moore who lost his 24-year-old daughter in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. “Your loved one has died due to that plane and they’re still gearing up for the day when it’s ungrounded.”
Paul Njoroge lost his wife, three young children, and mother-in-law in that same crash. He’s also concerned for the safety of the pilots in the air and Canadians on the ground.
“It’s shocking to me that they are still flying,” said Njoroge. “It just tells me that these people will never stop playing or juggling with human life.”
“You cannot say it’s not safe for passengers, but still allow the plane to fly. If you’ve grounded the plane, it has to remain grounded.”
‘Ferry flights’ exempted
When Garneau banned the jets on March 13, the notice to airmen stated it was “necessary for the protection of aviation safety and the public.” But the notice also made exemptions for “ferry flights” that take off or land in Canada.
CBC News pulled data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 to see where Canadian 737 Max planes have been spotted in the skies since grounded.
An analysis reveals that Air Canada has been flying its Boeing 737 Max fleet the most often. Between March 14 and Jan. 16, Air Canada flew 121 times, in comparison to 29 times for WestJet and 12 for Sunwing.
In at least 27 instances, Air Canada took off or landed in Marana, Ariz. In some cases, flying more than five hours straight.
“Those aircraft movements were required for maintenance purposes, including to relocate them to the southern desert where they can be stored more safely,” said Air Canada in a statement to CBC News.
Air Canada also said it’s using the ferry flights as an opportunity to keep pilot certifications current for those who train frontline pilots.
Flight data shows 160 Boeing 737 Max flights
20 hours ago
737 Max aircraft flew across Canada and the U.S. 0:18
WestJet said its ferry flights were for maintenance and storage space. Sunwing said it proactively grounded its fleet before Canada made it mandatory. Since then, the airline confirmed it moved several 737 Max aircraft from large, busy airports to outside storage facilities.
“We approach these necessary transfers with an abundance of caution, conducting thorough risk assessments and only using senior pilots who were briefed on responses to any potential anomalies. All these flights operated without incident,” said Sunwing in a statement.
Flights must be approved, follow ‘very strict conditions’
Transport Canada said in order for ferry flights to be approved, airlines must follow “very strict conditions”:
Only advanced pilot evaluators are allowed to fly.
Pilots must get specialized briefings and training including on a 737 Max simulator.
Additional crew is on board all flights and a mandatory third pilot.
They can only fly in certain weather conditions.
Larry Vance, former Transportation Safety Board aviation crash investigator, said he has no concerns with the 737 Max flying under this criteria.
“These are not flying bombs about to explode,” said Vance. “They’re not gonna start dropping out of the sky on people. These are very safe airplanes flown under those conditions.
“They’re only flown by the best of the pilots with briefings. Anything that might go wrong with the airplane they know how to handle it.”
Vance added that planes are like cars — if left idle they deteriorate, and need to be in the air to stay in top shape.
Victims’ families meeting with transport minister
That doesn’t comfort Moore and Njoroge, who question why the planes can’t be restored for service if and when Canada declares them safe for passengers.
“That tells you a lot about the regulatory authorities promoting the industry instead of promoting safety, instead of safeguarding the lives of human beings.” said Njoroge.
“I don’t understand why they would use that as an excuse to fly,” said Moore.
Families of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims say they are meeting with Garneau on Feb.12. Njoroge plans on asking Garneau to keep the planes on the ground — no exemptions.
Canada is continuing to independently review and validate changes to the Boeing 737 Max.
Transport Canada has four areas of concern that it wants addressed before the fleet can return to service including: acceptable levels of pilot workload, architecture of the flight controls, minimum training required for crew members, and aircraft performance, according to Garneau’s briefing binder obtained through an access to information request.
“I certainly understand how the families feel,” Garneau said today, commenting on the story before entering the Commons chamber.
“We look at every single one of these ferry flights very carefully, where it’s going to go and who’s going to be on board and what training and preparation they’ve had before we accept and doing it.”
“I want to tell everybody that we’re not going to put these planes back into Canadian skies to fly passengers until we’re 100 per cent satisfied.
MONTREAL, Jan. 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada said today that following the Government of Canada’s Advisory to avoid non-essential travel to mainland China it is temporarily suspending all direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai effective January 30, 2020 until February 29, 2020.
Air Canada’s last flights departing Canada will operate today and the return flights will operate from Beijing and Shanghai tomorrow, January 30, 2020. Affected customers will be notified and offered options, including travel on other carriers where available, or a full refund. Air Canada regrets this situation and apologizes for the serious disruption to our customers’ travel plans.
Air Canada will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada and Global Affairs and will adjust its schedule as appropriate.
Air Canada currently operates direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s health minister and provincial health officer say officials are closely monitoring an international outbreak of respiratory illness linked to a novel coronavirus after a case was confirmed across the border in Washington state Tuesday.
Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement there have been no cases of illness caused by the coronavirus in Canada and the risk to British Columbians is considered low.
However, they say health-care workers have been asked to be vigilant and take a travel history for anyone reporting respiratory symptoms following an outbreak first identified in China.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has developed a diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, which is different from the SARS outbreak when there was no similar test.
Public health teams have also implemented screening for early detection of infections for travellers arriving in airports.
Dix and Henry say quarantine officers are available at Vancouver International Airport to co-ordinate response and Richmond Hospital infection control practitioners are ready to respond should there be a need to investigate.
Health-care workers who suspect an instance of coronavirus are asked to report it to their local medical health officers immediately.
“Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811,” the joint statement says.
“We encourage anyone travelling to or from China to visit the federal source of destination-specific travel information that provides important advice to help travellers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.”
Most cases of the illness have been reported in Wuhan and other cities in China, with smaller numbers reported in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand.
The first case in the United States was reported Tuesday in Washington state, where a resident had recently returned from travel to Wuhan.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.
Around 90,000 people are expected to travel through the airport on Monday
CBC News · Posted: Jan 05, 2020
As the holiday season comes to an end, staff at the Vancouver International Airport are asking passengers to plan ahead. Staff warn Jan. 6 is one of the busiest travel days of the season with more than 90,000 passengers expected on Monday.
Staff at the airport say people travelling, as well as those picking up guests, should give themselves some extra time. Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 are the two busiest days of the holidays, according to the airport.
MONTRÉAL, Dec. 19, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – We inaugurated yesterday a service between Vancouver and Costa Rica, consisting of a direct flight to San José and a second flight segment to Liberia. The route is available twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, until April 18.
“We are proud to be adding these new destinations to our winter 2019–2020 program and in the process enhancing service out of Vancouver,” says Jean-François Lemay, President-General Manager of Air Transat. “These new routes make it easier than ever for travellers to explore Costa Rica, an increasingly popular tourist destination that has so much to offer in the way of rich culture and majestic scenery.”
To mark the occasion, the team at Vancouver International Airport served up beverages and sweet treats to passengers before they boarded Air Transat’s first-ever flight TS796.
After its initial stop in San José, the aircraft landed at Daniel-Oduber-Quirós International Airport in Liberia to a traditional water cannon salute. Disembarking passengers watched a ribbon-cutting celebration and enjoyed snacks in the company of César Jaramillo, CEO of the airport.
“We are excited to see the fruits of our ongoing efforts in conjunction with government authorities to attract new flights and airlines,” said Mr. Jaramillo. “The new route operated by Air Transat provides direct service to and from Vancouver but also connections to the rest of Canada. This is a very important market for achieving our goal of maintaining growth in tourist arrivals from the northern part of the continent.”
“With this new Air Transat connection, Vancouverites can now fly direct to Costa Rica’s main airport,” said Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS, the Juan Santamaría International airport authority. “This new route will encourage travel in both directions, knowing Canadians’ taste for our country, while creating an alternative for Costa Ricans who want to visit North America.”
“This is a further opportunity to grow the number of visits, generate employment and continue strengthening Costa Rica as a tourist destination,” said María Amalia Revelo, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism.
The experiencebetween Vancouver and Costa Rica We are operating flights between Vancouver and Costa Rica using our brand-new A321neoLR, the aircraft with the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in its class. Passengers will enjoy an entirely redesigned cabin interior offering more personal space along with seats equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment system and USB ports to charge electronic devices. For an unparalleled inflight experience, passengers can opt for the Club Class, an exclusive cabin with larger seats that are even more ergonomic and have a leg rest for maximum comfort. Plus, the Gourmet menu by Chef Daniel Vézina is offered for free in Club Class. In Economy Class, the menu is available for pre-order: breakfast options are $18, while the lunch/dinner dishes are $25.