For the past several years, Air Canada passengers have had to settle for stopover and transfer flights when travelling to India. But that's about to change: The national carrier announced that it will begin operating non-stop flights to and from India in November 2015.
According to Business Standard, Air Canada stopped offering non-stop trips to New Delhi in May 2007, as they were unprofitable. However, as Vice President of Global Sales Duncan Bureau said in a statement, the new Boeing 787-900 will be less expensive to operate.
"The type of aircraft was the issue," Bureau said. "The Boeing 787-900 (sic) made it sensible and economical to operate direct flights to India because it's cheap to operate."
Air Canada will initially offer four non-stop flights per week running between Toronto's Pearson and New Delhi's Indira Gandhi international airports. With time, that number will increase until there is at least one flight daily. Each trip takes 13.5 hours, and the Boeing 787-9 includes 247 economy, 30 business class and 21 premium economy seats. So far, the airline has sold more than half of the tickets for the flights currently available.
The aim of adding these non-stop flights is to provide a boost to the Canadian tourism industry. In particular, the nation hopes to draw more travellers from South India. As such, Canada has been making it more convenient for Indians to visit in other ways as well, such as easing up on the process to acquire a visa.
As Bureau explained during the press conference, the carrier will consider adding non-stop flights between Toronto and Mumbai in the near future. Trips between New Delhi and Vancouver may also be a possibility.