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Air Canada launches Major Expansion to Latin and South America

Travel News Asia 1 December 2003

With the departure today of flight AC1252 en route to San Jose, Costa Rica, Air Canada launches a major expansion of new services to Latin and South America.

On Tuesday morning, Air Canada inaugurates three times weekly flights to Havana, Cuba, Air Canada's fifth Cuban destination, and Tuesday evening, the carrier inaugurates a non-stop service to Santiago, Chile with convenient same plane service continuing on to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"We are seeing significant increases in travel demand to and from Latin and South America," said Montie Brewer, Executive Vice President, Commercial.

"Air Canada is well positioned as the carrier of choice, particularly for travellers impacted by recent changes to U.S. government visa requirements when transiting via the United States. In addition, our global network offers convenient access between Asia and South America featuring some of the fastest elapsed travel times available in this important market. We are very pleased with the response to our new services which, combined with our popular Sao Paulo flights, offer customers superior choice and value linking the Americas with the rest of the world. We plan to continue evaluating new, strategic market opportunities in Latin and South America going forward."

According to the most recent traffic data available, demand for Air Canada's services to destinations in the Caribbean, Latin and South America and South Pacific increased by 16.4 per cent and 25.7 per cent, respectively, for the months of September and October 2003, compared to the previous year.

Air  Canada's non-stop service to Costa Rica operates Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and to Havana on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Both routes are operated using 120-seat Airbus A319 aircraft in a two-cabin configuration featuring the carrier's recently re-designed North American Executive Class service.

Air Canada's new Santiago/Buenos Aires service will be operated southbound Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and northbound Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using 209-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft featuring the carrier's  re-designed international Executive First service that offers first class comfort, spacious 60-inch legroom and restaurant style service at business class fares.

Air Canada is boosting scheduled services to many tropical destinations popular with leisure travellers. The airline is increasing the number of seats in these markets by more than 20 per cent, or more than 140 additional weekly flights compared to last winter, offering customers an unprecedented choice of over 650 flights per week to sun destinations.

In addition to offering customers more flights and better connections, highlights of Air Canada's winter schedule include brand new services to Ixtapa and Cozumel, Mexico, and Kona, Hawaii. In addition, the airline will now offer scheduled flights to Aruba as well as Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and La Romana in the Dominican Republic.

Scheduled service offerings from cities across Canada are also being improved as Air Canada launches new scheduled non-stop services to the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico from Halifax, London, Montral, Moncton, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, complementing Air Canada Vacations' package offerings.

Air Canada will operate 20 more non-stop flights per week this winter than last between Canada and Mexico for a total of 68 weekly flights: 39 per cent more seats than last winter. To the Caribbean, the carrier will operate 70 more flights per week than last winter for a total of 224 weekly flights: 37 per sent more seats than last winter.

Along with the introduction of scheduled year-round service to Havana, Air Canada is increasing its overall services to Cuba this winter offering customers the unprecedented choice of up to 23 scheduled flights per week from seven cities across Canada to five destinations in Cuba - an increase of 13 flights per week from last year's charter offerings.

Among its new winter services this coming season, Air Canada is introducing non-stop flights between Montral-Cayo Largo, Moncton-Holguin and Halifax-Varadero. Air Canada's non-stop services to Cuba span the continent on 15 routes departing from Calgary, Toronto, London Ont., Ottawa, Montral, Moncton and Halifax to five of the most popular destinations in Cuba: Varadero, Holguin, Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco and now Havana.

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