Air Canada announced on Wednesday that it intends to boost capacity in 2022 in order to attract more US travellers flying abroad as a result of the relaxation of Covid-19 limitations.
Canadian carriers, which were pummeled during the pandemic due to the country’s stringent regulations, are experiencing an increase in spring traffic. However, rising oil costs as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict have cast a pall over the busy summer vacation season.
The company intends to boost its full-year capacity by around 150 per cent compared to 2021, or approximately 75 per cent of 2019 levels prior to the pandemic. It also anticipates a 13% to 15% increase in adjusted cost per available seat over 2019.
Canada’s largest carrier is aiming for a faster recovery in US traffic to strengthen its hard-hit foreign lines, including through so-called sixth freedom travel, in which Americans from smaller cities connect through Canadian hubs like Toronto on way to places such as Europe.
“We believe that by the summer of 2022, there will be over 1,000 city pairs on the US transatlantic connecting through our hubs,”said Mark Galardo, the carrier’s senior vice president of network planning and revenue management.
“This strategy particularly pays off today since sixth freedom demand supports the recovery,”Galardo told the carrier’s investor day.
Air Canada, based in Montreal, is the largest foreign carrier operating in the United States, focused on places such as Atlanta, Austin, and Seattle, he said. Galardo sees increased immigration to Canada boosting demand from destinations like India, even as the carrier considers additional African routes.
Mexico’s privately held Aeromar announced an agreement on Tuesday to jointly advertise routes through Mexico. Air Canada said last week that it would add 26 extra-long-range Airbus A321neo aircraft as part of its narrowbody fleet renewal.
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