Virgin Australia has announced that it is entering a ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ with Air Canada in a codeshare partnership for flights between Australia and Canada.
Although no timeframe has been specified, it’s a two-stage process with the first step of the codeshare schedule due to take place in the first half of this year. This means Virgin Australia customers will be able to travel on Air Canada flights from Los Angeles to Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC) and Montreal (YUL, subject to approval).
The agreement also allows Virgin Australia customers to earn Velocity Points when travelling on these services. Later in the year, the two airlines are also proposing to offer mutual frequent flier benefits during the second stage of the agreement.
Meanwhile, guests travelling from Canada to Australia on Air Canada’s daily services from Vancouver to Brisbane and Sydney will be able to connect onwards to Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Christchurch, and Auckland on Virgin Australia flights. In addition, travellers can connect from Sydney to Brisbane, Sydney to the Gold Coast, and Brisbane to Wellington.
Aeroplan Members (Air Canada’s frequent flier programme) will be able to collect Aeroplan Miles when taking any of the above codeshare flights.
In the subsequent stages of the strategic agreement, Virgin Australia plans to install its VA code on direct Air Canada flights between Brisbane and Vancouver, and Sydney and Vancouver.
Group Executive for Virgin Australia Airlines, John Thomas, said the new codeshare partnership will improve the convenience of travelling between Australia to four major cities in Canada.
He commented, ‘We are thrilled to be working closely with a world-class airline in Air Canada to deliver new benefits for our customers, including the planned introduction of direct codeshare flights between Australia and Canada.
‘Our agreement with Air Canada will provide our frequent flyers with more opportunities to earn – and soon redeem – Velocity Points.
‘Canada is also an important inbound tourism market for Australia, with visitors spending AU800 million in 2015 and visitor arrivals increasing by three per cent.’