VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has signed a partnership with Hainan Airlines, the first to be concluded with a company based in China. As well, for the first time, this partnership will allow an airline company to sell VIA Rail tickets.
Hainan Airlines’ ticket offices and other travel agencies will be able to combine air and rail segments and issue a single electronic ticket with boarding passes for both the flight and train segments. Hainan Airlines passengers from China planning train travel in Canada will benefit from the convenience of booking all legs of their journey at once. And vice-versa for VIA Rail passengers who plan to travel to Toronto before flying on to China.
“We are excited about our first partnership with a Chinese airline and our very first partnership of this kind, offering a combined air-rail ticket,” said Martin R. Landry, chief commercial officer at VIA Rail. “China is the biggest-spending travel market in the world, and Chinese tourism to Canada has been growing over the past few years. Canadians continue to show great interest in visiting China as well, so this collaboration is very exciting.”
According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, visits from China increased 21% in 2010, 22.4% in 2011 and 15.5% in 2012.
“We are pleased to have a partnership with VIA Rail Canada. Based on our concept of ‘Care More,’ this co-operation will facilitate our passengers’ trips to Canada for both flight and train segments,” said Jack Li, general manager of International Marketing Division at Hainan Airlines.
Hainan Airlines offers 10 flights weekly to and from Toronto.