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Air Canada and bmi to offer non-stop Toronto-Manchester flights

Travel News Asia 29 January 2004

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 business travellers.

"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.

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