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Air Canada Resumes Miami to Vancouver Route After 18 Years

The only route between Miami and Canada's British Columbia relaunched on December 17 following an 18-year hiatus

by Fergus Cole

December 20, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of Miami International Airport

Canadian flag carrier, Air Canada, has relaunched nonstop flights between Vancouver and Miami after a hiatus of 18 years. The airline last operated the route in 2004, and since its return, it has become the longest Northern American route out of Miami.

The inaugural flight took off from Miami International Airport (MIA) on Saturday, December 17, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by passengers and officials from Miami-Dade County and Air Canada.

The flights will be operated with one of Air Canada’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, which has a total capacity of 169 passengers, including 16 business class seats. As Vancouver to Miami isn’t a major business route, Air Canada expects most of these premium seats to be taken up by wealthy leisure travelers.

Photo: Courtesy of Air Canada

“There will always be some business travelers, but since the pandemic, and onset of COVID-19, we find that there is a huge surge in demand for leisure-premium traffic. That is people who are willing and interested in paying a little bit more for a nicer experience,” said Timothy Liu, managing director of sales planning and effectiveness at Air Canada.

The new route is now the only direct service between Vancouver and Miami. The only other airline that connects British Columbia and Florida is WestJet, which operates weekly flights between Vancouver and Orlando (MCO).

However, Air Canada passengers flying from Miami can take advantage of the carrier’s many connecting flights at Vancouver—a major hub for services to the Asia-Pacific region. From there, Air Canada offers direct routes to multiple Asian and Oceanic destinations, including Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland.

“We’re not only carrying passengers from Vancouver to Miami and vice versa,” said Liu. “This flight also fits nicely to our overall Vancouver-Pacific hub strategy as it connects passengers from our Asia-Pacific flights into Miami.”

Photo: Courtesy of Miami International Airport

The carrier also suggested adding more routes to Florida once it receives delivery of more aircraft, with Vancouver to Orlando becoming a possibility.

“We’re always looking at opportunities in terms of where we can most optimally use our aircraft,” said Liu. “Assets have to be used. With COVID-19, we had to retire some aircraft. As we take delivery of additional aircraft, that’s where these opportunities will start coming up again.”

Air Canada will operate its new service to Miami three times weekly—on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The outbound journey is scheduled to depart Vancouver at 8:20 AM and arrive in Miami at 5:06 PM local time. The return leg will leave MIA at 6:00 PM, touching down in Vancouver at 9:45 PM.

Air Canada said it hopes to operate the route daily in the future but that it’s a good business strategy to start with three per week to gauge demand.