Air Canada and its Star Alliance
partner, bmi, will jointly offer a non-stop Toronto-Manchester service beginning
April 25, 2004, the carriers announced today. The joint venture will initially
operate four times a week, increasing to daily from May 28, 2004 for the peak
of the summer season. Seats on the new service will be available for purchase
beginning February 3, 2004.
With the introduction of a bmi Airbus A330 on the route, customers will,
for the first time, have a choice of three cabins of service - the business,
new economy and economy.
Montie Brewer, Air Canada Executive Vice President, Commercial, said:
"Our joint venture service between Manchester and Toronto with bmi is great
news for transatlantic business travellers. Together with bmi, we are now able
to offer customers an improved schedule between our main hub in Toronto and
the north west UK, featuring more convenient timings of particular interest to
"In addition to a choice of premium inflight services, customers will
enjoy enhanced connections via Manchester to points within the UK served by
bmi as well as via Toronto to and from Air Canada's extensive network across
Canada and the US."
Austin Reid, bmi Chief Executive Officer, said: "Following the proven
success of our services from Manchester to the USA over the past two and a
half years we are delighted to have the opportunity to expand our long haul
operations thanks to this cooperation agreement with Air Canada. The bmi long
haul product enables us to provide customers of both airlines with a wider
choice of service level options from Manchester to Toronto.
"We are confident that the route will be a great success and that the
joint sales and marketing efforts of bmi and our Star Alliance partner Air
Canada will be to the benefit of both airlines.
"Air Canada has many years experience of being the operating airline on
the route and this will be of great value in ensuring its future and continued
success. Our agreement is an ideal fit for both of the partners.
"The north west will now
have a new bmi gateway to North America, with an extensive range of onward connections from Toronto under bmi code share
arrangements with Air Canada."
bmi's long haul product, which features innovations such as onboard chefs
and individual entertainment screens for all passengers, as well as an inflight
telemedicine service, has won many plaudits, including a maximum five star
rating by Business Traveller magazine and first place in a Holiday Which survey
of airlines serving the USA.
The addition of Toronto further strengthens the bmi long haul network
from Manchester, complementing its services to Chicago and Washington, which
were launched in 2001.
This winter, Air Canada operates four
daily non-stop flights to London Heathrow from Toronto, a daily non-stop
Vancouver service featuring state-of-art Airbus A330 aircraft, the only daily
non-stop flights from Calgary and Ottawa, non-stop flights from Montreal and
the only direct services from Halifax and St John's.
In the peak travel summer season, in addition to operating an increased
schedule of more than 100 weekly flights from seven Canadian gateways to
London Heathrow, Air Canada also operates non-stop flights from Toronto to
Glasgow and Dublin/Shannon.