Air Canada has chosen Tokyo and Tel Aviv as the international launch routes for its Boeing 787, which begins overseas duty in July 2014 after making its debut in March on selected domestic and short-hop European routes as "proving missions” to bed down the aircraft and train up the crew.
The daily Toronto-Tokyo flight will use Haneda Airport rather than Narita Airport, providing travellers with a much shorter trip into the Japanese capital.
Air Canada has six of the three-class 251-seat Boeing 787-8s due for delivery next year.
From 2015 the Canadian carrier will then start to split its Dreamliner delivers into nine more of the original 787-8s and 22 of the larger longer-range 787-9s, at a rate of between six and nine new aircraft a year through to 2019.
“What happened with (our Boeing 787 order) is that it’s actually evolved” Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu told Australian Business Traveller in Sydney late last year.
“As the aircraft was completed and we saw its capabilities, we needed to shift more to 787-9”, Rovinescu explained, because the stretched Dreamliner had “the capabilities we expected in the 787-8.”
Air Canada’s Dreamliner heading down under
Among Air Canada’s 787-9’s routes will be Vancouver-Sydney, which is currently flown on a Boeing 777-200LR, and potentially a new Vancouver-Melbourne route.
“Vancouver to Sydney is the single longest route we have and the only way we want to do Australia is non-stop” Rovinescu said, and "Melbourne would be logical next destination for us in Australia."
“Our challenge is aircraft. We need the Boeing 777-200LR or the 787-9 to fly non-stop to Australia”.
“We have only a few of the 777-200LRs and if the opportunity comes up to take another 777 to deploy here we’d do it, but realistically until we get the 787-9 series we won't have the aircraft to make this route a non-stop basis.”
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.