Air Canada's inaugural flight, AC037 Boeing 787 Dreamliner service, departed Vancouver December 1 in the late evening, and arrived Sunday morning to a water cannon welcome salute at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. This arrival marks the only non-stop service linking Canada and Melbourne, Air Canada's third destination served in Australia. Seasonal service now operates four times weekly between Vancouver and Melbourne until February 4, and year-round service begins June 1, 2018.
"We are delighted to welcome customers onboard our flights to Melbourne, our newest destination in Australia. Our seasonal service will be of particular interest to Australians travelling for a Canadian winter vacation and North Americans travelling to enjoy Australia's summer season. The launch of year-round service next June will provide additional options for business and leisure travellers between our two continents," said Benjamin Smith, President – Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. "Our Melbourne flights complement our daily flights from Canada to Sydney and to Brisbane, solidifying our market-leading position as the airline providing the most service between Canada and Australia. The seamless connections through in-transit pre-clearance facilities combined with our extensive domestic Canada and USA network at our Vancouver hub positions YVR to be the preferred trans-Pacific gateway for business and leisure travellers travelling between North America and Australia."
"We have a lot to celebrate at YVR this month. With the new Air Canada services to Melbourne, passengers have even more travel options this winter season," said Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. "We are also thrilled that Air Canada has announced year-round service to Melbourne, prior to the start of the seasonal service. This is an incredible achievement for our airline partner and showcases Air Canada's commitment to growing their transpacific hub at YVR."
"Air Canada's landmark service is the first of its kind to fly from Melbourne to Canada, opening up unprecedented access to North America," said Simon Gandy, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation. "We also know Canadian inbound tourism to Australia is on the rise with forecasts expecting a 10.2 per cent increase in visitation in the next two years, growing from 162,000 travellers in 2016/17 up to 179,000 in 2018/19. It's the perfect time to launch this service and we look forward to welcoming Air Canada's year-round service in June 2018."
Air Canada's state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft features 30 International Business Class lie-flat seat suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats with upgraded, and personalized in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. Flights are timed to optimize connectivity to and from Air Canada's extensive North American network through the airline's Vancouver trans-Pacific hub, while also offering in Melbourne, excellent connectivity in Australia. All Air Canada flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access, priority boarding and other benefits.