Competition for leisure travelers will increase with Air Canada's planned formation of an integrated leisure group, combining the activities of its tour operator business, Air Canada Vacations, with its new low-cost leisure airline to be launched in 2013.
In addition, the airline announced the appointment of Michael Friisdahl as President and Chief Executive Officer to lead its new leisure group which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada.
"The creation of a leisure group that combines our new low-cost leisure carrier with Air Canada Vacations, our successful tour operator business, is a major milestone for Air Canada," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer.
"Our new leisure group will benefit from combining the low cost carrier with the strong brand reputation of Air Canada Vacations and leveraging the established marketing and distribution channels of both Air Canada Vacations and Air Canada. As a result, Air Canada will be able to compete more effectively in this highly dynamic and expanding market.
The new low-cost leisure carrier will commence service in June 2013 with two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and two Airbus A319 aircraft that will be released from Air Canada's mainline fleet. It will serve popular destinations in Europe and the Caribbean that are either currently underserved, or that do not generate adequate profitability with Air Canada's existing cost structure, the airline said.
At launch, the leisure carrier will assume select Air Canada leisure services and will also operate certain new destinations not currently operated by Air Canada.
Air Canada Vacations services over 100 destinations in the Caribbean, Central & South America, Asia, Europe, and in the U.S. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities and 56 destinations in the United States.