TORONTO – The wine flowed freely and the tapas were bountiful at Air Canada’s cocktail reception in Toronto last night, which celebrated the upcoming launch of year-round flights to Melbourne, Australia.
Partnering with Flight Centre and Visit Victoria, Air Canada hosted media, travel agents and industry partners at Flight Centre Travel Centre for a fun evening complete with wines from the Yarra Valley, delicious tapas inspired by Melbourne’s vibrant culinary scene, hand-crafted cocktails including a signature drink called the ‘Mel-tini’, and a virtual reality experience that allowed guests to ‘pre-check’ the check-in process.
Guests were also invited to enter a contest for a chance to win a trip for two to Melbourne, valued at $15,0000, courtesy of Air Canada and Visit Melbourne.
Starting June 1, year-round, nonstop service from Vancouver will be available aboard the Boeing 7878 Dreamliner, with convenient connections from Toronto. Flights will be offered 3x/week, and increase to 4x/week starting Dec. 1.
Speaking to Travelweek, Marc Roy, Manager Global Accounts, said Vancouver is the perfect gateway to launch year-round service. “We obviously don’t have direct Toronto flights yet, but the good thing about Vancouver is that there are seamless connections from any gateway in eastern Canada.”
Roy also noted that the route plays an integral role in Air Canada’s global expansion plans.
“Australia has always been an important part of our international network, but let’s face it, we were only flying to Sydney up until a few years ago. So once we started flying to Brisbane, it was a game-changer for us. And now that we’re adding our third Australian destination I think it establishes us as a major North American airline that not only services Asia but also Asia-Pacific, including Australia,” he said.
Melbourne, which is located in the state of Victoria, has become an increasingly popular leisure destination for Canadians. According to Amanda Ladd, Marketing Manager, The Americas for Visit Victoria, a total of 52,000 Canadians visited Victoria in 2017, many in search of its famous Yarra wines and its Great Ocean Road, considered one of the most popular self-drives in Australia.
“Victoria and Melbourne certainly play into one of those iconic destinations that first-time travellers really want to check off their bucket lists,” she told Travelweek. “The term ‘bucket list’ gets thrown around a lot with Australia, but it shouldn’t be. There’s no reason to wait and there’s no reason to only go once. There’s so much to do and see in Australia, and so many ways to see it, that it shouldn’t be a once-in-a-lifetime destination, but one that people will want to see again and again.”
And with Air Canada’s new direct flights, the once ‘bucket-list’ destination is even more accessible for Canadians.
“Having direct access into Melbourne is amazing for Canadians, as it’s a great alternative to LAX,” added Ladd. “It’s great for us to have a new route coming out of Canada with a partner like Air Canada. It really does open up a new partnership for us with travel agents and wholesalers here.”
Air Canada will continue to partner with agency partner Flight Centre to promote the year-round route through a marketing campaign that will run through September. The service, which was initially offered seasonally with 4x/weekly flights back in December 2017, will fly year-round on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, featuring lie-flat seat suites known as Executive Pods, Premium Economy and Economy Class.