Air Canada‘s Rouge arm is back in service, and a bit thinner than before. Flight 1810 from Toronto to Cancun on Monday marked the return to service for the low cost arm of the carrier. It also marked a new beginning for what the Rouge operation will look like.
Air Canada Rouge remains an important part of our overall strategy in rebuilding Air Canada’s global network. As leisure traffic resumes, we will progressively add Air Canada Rouge to select North American leisure markets from Eastern Canada.– Mark Galardo, Vice President, Network Planning and Alliances at Air Canada
As Air Canada stripped back capacity in the face of the pandemic it also executed significant structural changes to its fleet. The 767s are gone, as are the A319s. That leaves Rouge with just 19 A320/A321 aircraft, 40% of where it was at the beginning of the year. And without the larger planes the route network is necessarily limited.
Transatlantic operations are off the table for now, though if long-haul demand returns the company has a small collection of A330s that could fit that niche nicely. The company is also consolidating the planes on the east coast, focusing on getaways from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa for the rest of 2020 while ceding the western markets to WestJet or others.
The map is currently slated to expand in 2021 to add Calgary back in, but looking that far into the future for any airline remains an uncertain endeavor.
The inflight service remains limited for now, though not completely missing. Passengers in the Premium Rouge premium economy cabin receive a complimentary pre-packaged meal as well as free drinks on board. They also can use a carrier-issued iPad for entertainment. All passengers, including in economy, can also access complimentary streaming IFE on their own devices. The Rouge fleet is also fitted with the 2Ku inflight wifi service for passengers to use.
Also, not everything went perfectly with the relaunch. The second flight to Kingston, Jamaica went tech.
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