In a significant move that expands Vancouver’s connections to major centres around the Pacific Rim, Air Canada has announced that it will operate a new frequent direct, non-stop service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Melbourne Airport (MEL).
The new flight service connecting Vancouver with Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, will be the airline’s third service from YVR serving the island continent and the first route between Canada and the Australian city.
From YVR, Air Canada also operates separate year-round daily, non-stop flights to Sydney – one of the world’s longest commercial flight routes – and Brisbane, which began in 2016. The Brisbane service was so successful that the airline increased its frequency from three times weekly to year-round daily just a few months after its launch.
“We are pleased that Air Canada chose YVR as the airport to launch the Melbourne service and feel confident this route will be a success, hopefully leading to year-round service based upon the substantial increase we have seen of Australian visitors to YVR in the last two years,” said Craig Richmond, CEO and President of the Vancouver Airport Authority, in a statement.
For the Melbourne route, which will be the first ever direct, non-stop flight from Canada to the Australian city, the service will initially operate on a seasonal basis with four-times weekly beginning on December 1, 2017. It will utilize a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a seat capacity for 298 passengers.
Operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, flights will depart YVR at 10:45 pm and arrive in MEL at 9:45 am two days later. For return trips, flights will leave MEL at 11:40 am and land in YVR at 7:30 am on the same day, which allows passengers to connect to other domestic and international Air Canada flights from the airline’s growing hub in Vancouver.
“Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter including new routes to Australia and the United States from YVR,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.
“Our seasonal Melbourne service will provide additional options for business travellers between North America and Australia as well as Australians seeking a Canadian winter vacation experience.”
Both the Melbourne and Orlando flights are expected to add $2.5 million in wages, $1.4 million in tax revenue, and $4.4 million in GDP to the BC economy.
All of this adds to Air Canada’s immense expansion from YVR over the past two years, which includes new frequent routes to Cancun, San Jose, San Diego, Chicago, Dublin, Delhi, Dallas, and Phoenix.
Over the coming months, the airline will also be introducing new flights to Denver, Boston, Frankfurt, London (Gatwick Airport), Taipei, and Nagoya.
New and improved major YVR routes 2016/2017
January 1, 2016: Orlando International Airport – WestJet to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
January 20, 2016: Orlando-Sanford International Airport – National Airlines to begin two times weekly seasonal flight service.
February 15, 2016: Cancun, Mexico – Air Canada to begin weekly, non-stop seasonal service.
May 1, 2016: London Heathrow Airport – British Airways to use an AirBus A380 superjumbo jet for its existing daily non-stop London Heathrow Airport service. The A380 will only be used during the summer months.
May 6, 2016: London Gatwick Airport – WestJet to begin six times weekly non-stop flight service.
May 9, 2016: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice daily, non-stop service to San Jose.
June 1, 2016: Brisbane, Australia – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop flight service.
June 2, 2016: San Diego International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop seasonal service.
June 4, 2016: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop service.
June 10, 2016: Dublin Airport – Air Canada to begin seasonal, three times weekly non-stop flight service.
June 29, 2016: London, Ontario – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
June 29, 2016: Halifax, Nova Scotia – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
June 30, 2016: Hamilton, Ontario – WestJet to begin three times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
July 25, 2016: Xiamen, China – Xiamen Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
October 20, 2016: Delhi, India – Air Canada to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
December 1, 2016: Mexico City, Mexico – Aeromexico increases weekly flights from 14 to 20.
December 20, 2016:Nanjing, China – China Eastern Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
December 30, 2016:Hangzhou, Chinavia Qingdao, China – Beijing Capital Airlines to begin three times weekly service.
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.
December 1, 2017:Melbourne, Australia – Air Canada to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal service.
December 20, 2017:Orlando International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal service.
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com