An Airbus A319 preparing to land at Vancouver International Airport. Air Canada has announced seasonal non-stop service from Nanaimo to Toronto that will be operated using an Airbus A319. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Air Canada announces non-stop seasonal service from Nanaimo to Toronto

Weekly service to Toronto begins in June

Residents of the Harbour City will soon be able to fly directly to Canada’s largest city.

Air Canada has announced seasonal four-times weekly, non-stop service from Nanaimo to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport beginning June 21 and ending Oct. 08, 2018. The airline also announced non-stop seasonal service from Victoria to Montreal and Kamloops to Toronto.

The new route will be operated by Air Canada Rouge, a low-cost subsidiary of Air Canada, and will be served by a 136-seat Airbus A319 configured with premium economy and economy seating.

Flights will occur on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The flight from Nanaimo will depart at 12:15 p.m. while the flight to Nanaimo departs Toronto at 9:30 a.m.

Mike Hooper, the Nanaimo Airport president and chief executive officer, said Air Canada’s announcement is delightful, adding that the airport has never had regularly scheduled jet aircraft service before.

“We’ve hosted [Boeing] 737’s on site before as charters but this is the first time we’re going to have scheduled jet service to anywhere in Canada,” he said.

Angela Mah, spokesperson for Air Canada, said tickets for flights on the new route are available for purchase. She said the decision to begin non-stop service to Toronto is due to increasing demand for flights to Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.

“It gives Canadians and everybody else the opportunity to get to Nanaimo with basically one flight less during the summer,” Mah said. “It’s great for tourism in the Nanaimo area and it’s something we believe there is good demand for.”

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is Canada’s busiest airport and has non-stop flights to destinations around the world including Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Mah said the Nanaimo-Toronto route will benefit mid-Island travellers looking to connect onwards to cities in Atlantic Canada, eastern United States and beyond.

“It gives people a more convenient option to get there,” she said.

Air Canada’s announcement comes less than two months after WestJet announced year-round non-stop service from Nanaimo to Vancouver.

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