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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Air Canada schedules new Milan route, resumes Munich

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Canada’s flag-carrier is rebuilding its European network with the resumption of service to Munich and plans to launch seasonal flights to Milan.

Air Canada has begun accepting reservations for a new route from Montreal to Europe, which would connect Quebec’s largest city with Milan.

The 6,112-kilometer (3,798-mile) trip between Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport (YUL) and Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) is set to commence on May 20, 2022, and will operate five times a week. The service will be provided on board an Airbus A330-300 aircraft outfitted with 32 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 241 economy seats.

The route is an expansion of Air Canada’s seasonally operated Toronto (YYZ)-Milan service, which ran from 2014 to 2019.

During the northern summer season, Italy has long been a major market for Air Canada. Prior to the outbreak, the airline served three locations in the country, offering 31X-weekly flights and about 22,000 two-way seats during the peak summer season in 2019.

There are now two nonstop connections between Canada and Italy, linking Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with Toronto (YYZ) four times per week and YUL three times per week, while three more routes are currently discontinued.

According to data from OAG Schedules Analyzer, the airline’s summer flights from YYZ and YUL to Venice (VCE), as well as from Toronto to Milan, have yet to return to the schedule. Air Canda, on the other hand, plans to resume flights to Venice from YYZ and YUL during the summer 2022 season.

In addition, the Toronto-Milan service will be reinstated, but will now be routed through Montreal.

In June 2014, the route between Toronto and World Routes 2021 host Milan opened, becoming Canada’s first nonstop connection to the province capital of Lombardy. Air Italy, which is now defunct, also operated YYZ-MXP service in 2019, but both Air Canada and Air Italy’s last flights on the route were in October of that year. Since then, the market has been constantly underserved.

According to Sabre Market Intelligence, total O&D traffic between Canada and Milan was 160,267 two-way passengers in 2019, with Toronto-Milan accounting for 61 percent of the market.

Montreal-Milan came in second at 14.4 percent, with 23,134 two-way passengers. In the absence of direct flights, the three major connecting markets were Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Toronto, and Frankfurt (FRA).

The scheduled launch of the YYZ-YUL-MXP route comes as Air Canada continues to rebuild its European network following the 17-month suspension of much of its overseas operations due to severe Canadian travel restrictions.

After flying only eight trips to Europe in June, the carrier’s network has subsequently grown to 19, with further resumptions expected in the wake of Canada’s announcement to reopen international borders to fully vaccinated travelers on September 7.

On September 6, Toronto-Munich (MUC) operations will resume with up to three flights per week using Boeing 787-9s. According to MUC CEO Jost Lammers, the resumption is a “essential sign for a further revival of transatlantic travel.”

According to OAG data, Air Canada will resume flights from Calgary (YYC) to London Heathrow (LHR) on September 7. Flights will be three times a week on 787-9s.

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