Air Canada, the country's largest carrier, said Wednesday that it is planning to resume non-stop flights to Taipei to tap an increase in Taiwanese tourist numbers.
Air Canada said that if the direct flight plan obtains regulatory approval, it will provide seven flights between Taipei and Vancouver per week, starting from June 2017. The carrier is expected to announce its ticket sales program soon after securing government approval.
The Canadian carrier started its Taipei-Vancouver route in 1999 but suspended it in 2003.
Industry sources said that since the Canadian government granted visa free status to Taiwanese tourists in November 2010, the number of Taiwanese tourists to Canada has been on the rise, which prompted the carrier to decide to resume direct flights.
Currently, Taiwanese tourist have to take transit services in several other Asian destinations, such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing before taking an Air Canada flight.
Air Canada said that it will assign the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to serve the new route.
According to the carrier, the aircraft features 30 international business class lie-flat seat suites, 21 premium economy and 247 economy class seats, with every seat equipped with upgraded in-flight entertainment services.
Kung Chung-chen (???), Taiwan's representative to Canada, said that the decision by Air Canada to resume direct flights shows that the carrier expects tremendous business opportunities for the route.
Kung added that the move to launch the service is encouraging for commercial relations between Taiwan and Canada at a time when both countries are aiming to expand exchanges in business, technology, education and culture. The Taiwanese official said that the announcement by Air Canada has a special meaning, as a Taiwanese delegation is in Montreal to seek opportunities to participate in the assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly.
Taiwan was not invited to the 39th triennial ICAO assembly, which kicked off Tuesday, most likely because of objections from Beijing.
Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) still sent a delegation to Montreal, the headquarters of the ICAO, hoping to hold talks with Taiwan-friendly countries outside the assembly.
Several countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, including Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and El Salvador, have voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the event.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel