Saturday 23 June 2018

CANADA: Air Canada Rouge Goes To Bucharest From Montreal And Toronto

Air Canada Rouge inaugurated new service from Montreal to Bucharest on Thursday and events were held on both sides of the Atlantic to celebrate the new service to the Romanian capital.

Air Canada Rouge president Duncan Bureau and his team flew on the inaugural flight.

Air Canada Rouge is the only North American airline flying to Romania, the largest European market without trans-Atlantic flights.

And so the new, seasonal route from Montreal to Bucharest, as well as seasonal Toronto-Bucharest service which launched on June 9, are the only direct air links between North America and Romania, and the first from Canada in over 16 years.

In the departure lounge at Montreal-Trudeau, passengers sampled Romanian treats, while a troupe of Romanian dancers in traditional costume entertained.

Several dignitaries then addressed the room including Adrian Ligor, Romanian Ambassador to Canada, Ioana Gabriela Costache, Romanian consul general in Montreal, Stephane LaPierre, Aeroport de Montreal’s vice president operations, and Adina Georgescu, president of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce of Quebec.

This new link will make it easier for investors and tourists from both Romania and Canada to travel either for business or pleasure. said Ambassador Adrian Ligor.

It also brings closer families and friends of the large Canadian-Romanian community in the Montreal area. I wish Air Canada every success with its new direct service to Bucharest.

This direct connection with Romania comes at the right time. At a time where Europe is at our doorstep and where the business relationships between Canada and our European neighbours will only get stronger with the coming into force of the CETA Agreement - Canada EU Trade Agreement, said Adina Georgescu.

It paves the way for the deepening of bilateral trade between Romania and Canada, be it commercial, personal, cultural or tourist.

I congratulate Air Canada and Aeroports de Montreal for their initiative and efforts to put this service in place. Air Canada can count on our support to help make this new direct air link a success.

Duncan Bureau, who was recently named president of Air Canada Rouge, welcomed and thanked passengers.

Thank you for joining us today on our inaugural flight to Bucharest. Bureau said.

We're extremely proud of this new route…This route opens up new economic ties between Canada and Romania, also tourism, cultural exchange, and a great opportunity for people to get home to visit their friends and family.

He then introduced the crew on the flight, saying We have a tremendous crew, one of the best crews in the world, and some of them are here, they’ll be with you today and I’ll be joining you as well, so I’m looking forward to flying over to Bucharest with all of you on this very, very first flight.

Following cake cutting and ribbon cutting ceremonies, it was time to board the aircraft for the eight hour and 55 minute flight from Montreal to Bucharest, the nonstop flight cutting three hours off the typical travel time between the cities when you factor in connections.

Following a smooth flight, we touched down just a few minutes early at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda airport, and what a welcome we received.

In addition to a water cannon salute from the airport’s fire department, which is customary when an airline begins flying to a new destination, Henri Coanda Airport also rolled out the red carpet, with a host of Romanian and Canadian dignitaries on hand to welcome the flight.

Also on hand were throngs of local media, who literally swarmed the tarmac, interviewing passengers as they deplaned on a hot, bright, sunny day. The arrival of Air Canada flight 1928 was big news in Bucharest, with the arrival even featured on that evening’s TV news programs.

Once all passengers had deplaned, and following another ribbon cutting ceremony, a press conference was held with local media.

Responding to a question from one reporter asking if Air Canada Rouge planned to expand service, Bureau responded We’re very happy with the advanced bookings and for the month of June we have a 90 per cent load factor and for the rest of the summer we’re very, very strong.

Typically what happens with these routes, we’ll start out with a few flights a week and then we’ll grow that operation as we start to see the market react.

Nothing would please us more if we could go to daily service if we get the support from the markets. So we’ll wait and see how the market reacts.

While most of the passengers between Canada and Romania will be VFR - Visit Friends and Relatives, Bureau said Canada that the Canada-Romania business communities are behind the new service and that there’s still a significant tourism opportunity as well.

Kevin Hamilton, Canadian Ambassador to Romania, was also on hand and had the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one about Air Canada Rouge’s new service and what it means for Canadians and Romanians.

First of all, it reinforces those people-to-people ties, which are already so strong. We have 200,000 Canadians of Romanian descent, and so the family ties across the ocean are already very strong and so this will make it that much easier for family reunifications.

For people to visit one another’s country. So that’s the most immediate impact over the summer.

Of course we hope that business-to-business ties are going to grow as well. We’ve got the new Canada-EU Trade Agreement, which is effectively in force right now, and so with Visa free travel especially, this is going to provide an opportunity for Romanian and Canadian business communities to get together more often.

In November 2016, Canada dropped the Visa requirement for Romanian nationals visiting Canada, although Visa-exempt travellers like Romanians must still obtain an eTA - Electronic Travel Authorization, prior to travelling.

From a tourism perspective, Hamilton seconded Bureau’s remarks adding Canadians more and more are looking for that sweet spot, between adventure tourism and all the comforts of home at the same time.

You get that in Romania. You’ve got a lot wild parts of the country, in Transylvania for example, but you’ve got larger, really dynamic cities with great nightlife and food.

And so I think you’re going to see Canadians attracted to that sense that Romania is still a little bit exotic. It’s an up and coming country for tourism and there’s lots to do and lots to see.

Air Canada Rouge’s service from between Montreal and Bucharest will operate twice weekly until October 4, 2018, while their twice weekly Toronto-Bucharest service will end on October 6.

Flights will operate using Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767ER aircraft equipped with 24 Premium Rouge seats and 258 seats in Economy class.

Schedule details:

- AC1928 departs Montreal on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:00 PM, arriving in Bucharest at 9:55 AM the following morning, until October 4, 2018. Flight duration is approximately eight hours and 55 minutes.

- AC1929 departs Bucharest on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1:45 PM, arriving in Montreal at 4:20 PM the same day, until October 5, 2018. Flight duration is approximately nine hours and 30 minutes.

- AC1964 departs Toronto on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 5:30 PM, arriving in Bucharest at 9:55 AM the following morning, until October 6, 2018. Flight duration is approximately nine hours and 30 minutes.

- AC1965 departs Bucharest on Wednesdays and Sundays at 1:45PM, arriving in Toronto at 5:00 PM the same day, until October 7, 2018. Flight duration is approximately 10 hours and 15 minutes.

Air Canada Rouge’s new Montreal-Bucharest service is one of ten new destinations launching from Montreal in 2018, alongside domestic flights to London, Windsor and Victoria, transborder service to Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and International flights to Tokyo-Narita, Dublin and Lisbon.

Tourism Observer

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