A major new direct flight route will link Vancouver and Australia’s third largest city sometime in 2016. Air Canada will provide Vancouver International Airport with a new service to Brisbane, located on the coast of the state of Queensland.
The route was confirmed this week by Paul McLean, Air Canada’s general manager for the Oceania market, in Travel Daily.
The airline previously considered a route to Melbourne, but Brisbane is the preferred destination for the airline’s next expansion to Australia from Vancouver.
The decision largely has to do with the availability of aircraft. Flights to Melbourne would be better served using Air Canada’s future fleet of long-range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with the first of 22 planes scheduled to arrive this year.
In addition to the arrival of those orders, over the next two years the airline will be receiving its remaining seven Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, which are designed with a shorter range more economically suitable for Brisbane’s location.
“Brisbane is probably the one that would be the more likely one of the two in the short-term,” McLean told Travel Daily. “We have our 787-8s coming in and Melbourne is probably the best market to access, but Brisbane makes sense from a route perspective and range.”
McLean adds that an official announcement on the new route is likely “very soon.” Final details are still being ironed out with airports and local tourism entities.
Air Canada currently operates just one route that links Canada with Australia – a daily service between Vancouver and Sydney. The airline also recently enhanced its coverage of Japan by launching a new seasonal service from Vancouver to Osaka.
Earlier this year, Qantas announced plans to continue its seasonal service between the two cities with three flights a week this summer (June 20 to July 18) and winter (December 12 to January 25) using a Boeing 747 aircraft.