|Air Canada rouge counts out flights to EX-YU market, for now|
Air Canada rouge, Air Canada's leisure carrier, has ruled out launching flights to the former Yugoslavia for the time being. It comes after the airline announced one of its most far-reaching summer schedule expansions, with its first route to Africa and the addition of four European cities from Toronto, including Budapest, Prague, Warsaw and Glasgow. These will operate seasonally, with flights to central and eastern Europe to be maintained three times per week with a 280-seat Boeing 767-300ER. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Air Canada rouge's Commercial Vice President, Vijay Bathija, said there was no other news to report beyond what has already been announced, but added, "We are continuously looking at all opportunities, including Croatia, and other destinations. Like all airlines, there are a number of considerations involved when we are selecting a destination, including customer demand, airport infrastructure and competition from other carriers".
However, Air Canada rouge has not ruled out the possibility of flights to the former Yugoslav market sometime in the future. "The Air Canada rouge fleet is growing, in 2016 we will take delivery of six additional Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. That fleet growth will power both network and capacity growth. Customers can expect more announcements to come for the summer 2016 season", Mr Bathija said. Canadian-based airlines which have served the former Yugoslav market include Air Canada itself, as well as Skyservice Airlines and, most recently, SkyGreece Airlines which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.
Canada's other international leisure airline, Air Transat, recently announced the launch of one weekly seasonal flights between Toronto and Zagreb next summer season, commencing on June 14, 2016. Meanwhile, Air Canada began codesharing on a number of Croatia Airlines flights in late July. The Canadian carrier has placed its "AC" designator code and flight numbers onto services from Zagreb to Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Paris and Zurich. Furthermore, it has begun codesharing from Split to Zurich, Rome, Paris and London, as well as from Dubrovnik to Paris, Rome and Zurich. Croatia Airlines also plans to add its flight numbers onto Air Canada flights. On Tuesday, the Canadian Transportation Agency approved a codeshare permit for the airline. Air Canada's presence in the region is limited. Besides its recent codeshare expansion in Croatia, the airline also has its own flight numbers on Lufthansa-operated services between Germany and Serbia. The codeshare, which came into effect late last October, expires on October 27 next year.