First announced back in December, the first phase of a new strategic cooperation agreement between Virgin Australia and Air Canada has officially launched today, with three routes now providing seamless connections between Australia and Canada, via Los Angeles, while offering Velocity points to Virgin’s frequent flyers.
Those routes are on Air Canada’s flights between Los Angeles and Toronto (YYZ), Calgary (YYC) and Montreal (YUL), which means that passengers on Virgin Australia’s 18 weekly return flights between the East Coast of Australia and Los Angeles will be able to book straight through to Canada. Bookings open today for flights commencing 1st June 2017. Virgin Australia customers can also earn Velocity Points when travelling on eligible codeshare services, however they can not yet earn Status Credits – no word if that may change on a later stage of the agreement.
When it comes to the later stages of the agreement, Virgin Australia also plans to place its code on Air Canada’s direct flights between Australia and Vancouver, and they intend to offer reciprocal frequent flyer redemption benefits on each other’s flights, too. Expect further details later in the year.
Air Canada currently operates daily non-stop flights from Vancouver to Sydney and Brisbane and plans to offer seasonal non-stop flights between Vancouver and Melbourne from December 2017. Those who are arriving in Australia on these services are also now able to book travel on connecting Virgin Australia flights to Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Christchurch and Auckland for travel from 1 June 2017.
They can also book travel on Virgin Australia services from Sydney to Brisbane, Sydney to the Gold Coast and Brisbane to Wellington. Members of Air Canada’s loyalty program Aeroplan will earn Aeroplan Miles when travelling on these codeshare services.
John Thomas, Group Executive Virgin Australia Airlines, said: “We are proud to enhance our services from Australia to Los Angeles by offering seamless codeshare connections to three major Canadian cities.”
“This codeshare agreement will make it easier for Australians to visit Canada and for Canadians to explore more of Australia and we are thrilled to be working with a world-class airline in Air Canada. Canada is an important inbound tourism market for Australia, with visitors spending AUD800 million in 2016 and visitor arrivals increasing by seven per cent on the previous year.”
Flights can be booked via travel agents and the Virgin Australia website at virginaustralia.com