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)

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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The graph provided by the City of Parksville in a release issued on May 4, depicting a balanced financial budget for 2021. (submitted photo)
City of Parksville announces a balanced budget for 2021

Penalty date for property tax payments extended from July 2 to Oct. 1

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum First Nation artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

Some of the affidavits filed come from family members of Casa Loma and Comox Valley Seniors Village residents in Courtenay, along with other homes on Vancouver Island. The case started over care in a Chilliwack home. Black Press file photo
Seniors’ homes on Island included in class action suit

Plaintiffs applying for class certification have to amend their submissions

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after B.C. river could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Commissioner Austin Cullen, lawyer Brock Martland, and former cabinet minister and Langley East MLA Rich Coleman, as Coleman testified before the money laundering commission on Wednesday, April 28. Coleman has been recalled for May 14. (Screengrab)
Langley’s Coleman returns for second round of testimony at money laundering hearings

The former longtime Liberal MLA and cabinet minister will testify May 14.

Most Read