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

Qualicum Bay writer Linda Tenney dies after battle with cancer

Celebration of life set for Nov. 2 at Lighthouse Community Centre

Parksville Qualicum Beach legions set to launch Poppy Campaign

Annual fundraiser to run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 11

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Thieves pilfer laptops, tools, big-screen TV, cash and more

Oceanside RCMP received 256 complaints between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

Most Read