Air Canada’s senior vice-president of Air Canada Express and government relations spoke to business people during an event hosted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

Canada’s largest airline thinks Nanaimo is the ideal market for brand-new type of aircraft it’s expecting to receive later this year.

Air Canada Rouge is set to launch non-stop seasonal service from Nanaimo to Toronto beginning on July 1 using a 136-seat Airbus A319 configured with premium economy and economy seating.

Beyond that, Nanaimo is the “perfect” market for the Airbus A220, said Ferio Pugliese, senior vice-president of Air Canada Express and government relations, speaking to business people during an event hosted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

“Very likely, you’ll see this aircraft here,” Pugliese said, adding that the A220 is a good fit for Nanaimo because its speed, range and efficiency allows Air Canada to operate in smaller markets more regularly on a year-round basis.

The Airbus A220 – previously Bombardier C-Series – is a Canadian-developed single-aisle aircraft that is extremely fuel-efficient and has a range of more than 5,000 kilometres. Air Canada has ordered 45 Airbus A220-300s, formerly known as the CS300, and is expecting to take delivery of the aircraft later this year.

Whether Air Canada will make the Nanaimo-Toronto route year-round in the near future is unclear but Pugliese said the airline is impressed with the continued growth of the Nanaimo region.

“To see this market grow into the neighbourhood of 300,000 to 350,000 is remarkable because it certainly wasn’t there five to six years ago,” he said.

RELATED: Air Canada expects Boeing 737 Max to resume flying by September or October

RELATED: Boeing 737 Max issues trickle down to impact Nanaimo flights

Pugliese said Air Canada has noticed an increase in business and leisure travellers coming through the Harbour City in recent years. He said if the demand continues and the market exists, there is nothing stopping Air Canada from making Nanaimo-Toronto service year-round.

“Load factors have been healthy but what we do know is that once you launch a seasonal service … over time the awareness kicks in and the demand continues to grow,” he said. “There is potential for those to go all year round, but we take it incrementally.”

Although Pugliese couldn’t confirm whether Air Canada would place the Airbus A220 on a Nanaimo route or when that could happen, he said the A220 has far better economics than other aircraft.

“With the right aircraft, the economics get improved which allow you to run it through the year and still get a decent return and that is flexibility the A220 offers,” he said.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: watchdog

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

News from Port McNeill’s July 15 council meeting

Next council meeting will be held Aug. 19 at 7:00 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Devil’s Bath is the largest cenote in Canada

“This trail is rough and should be executed with caution”

OPINION: MP Rachel Blaney takes aim at coastal fisheries restrictions

“We all share in the responsibility of taking care of our salmon habitats and populations”

Northern Vancouver Island regional science fair winners – 2019

Daniel Kornylo won one of the 12 provincial science fair awards.

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read