Air Canada Aims To Be A Champion

Air Canada is in the process of being transformed into a “global champion,” according to Ben Smith, president of AC’s passenger airlines.

Smith told a recent forecasting conference in Las Vegas that a three-pronged plan between now and 2018 is concentrating on network optimization, fleet growth and reconfiguration and the flexibility to adjust to shifting market conditions.

By 2018, the widebody fleet will grow significantly from the current 70 aircraft to just under 100, while today’s narrowbody complement of 208 will max out at about 250, reports Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.

According to Smith’s presentation, the enlarged fleet will provide network opportunities expected to grow passenger numbers by 3.5 million annually. That’s on top of the 38 million-plus passengers currently flying each year to some 175 destinations.

Some of those opportunities may result in new service to destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore, Lima, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Mumbai, Beirut, Dakar, Accra, Lagos and Johannesburg.

One of the keys to the ambitious program is leveraging Canada’s position as a global crossroads to maximise 6th freedom traffic between two foreign countries via Canada’s three main hubs.

And Toronto Pearson is the main weapon in that attack. Smith pointed out that the connections process at YYZ is “best in class” with the international-to-US and international-to-international connections process being “arguably the simplest in North America.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier by clicking here.