Air Canada plans to start flying between Vancouver and Delhi on October 20, in time for Diwali celebrations.
Executives at Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) have been lobbying for a direct non-stop flight to India for many years.
The seasonal, thrice-weekly flights are in addition to Air Canada’s Toronto-Delhi non-stop service that launched last fall.
The airline will use a 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on this route, featuring 30 business class pods, 21 premium economy seats and 247 economy class seats.
The flight is expected to leave YVR at around 11:45 p.m. and arrive in Delhi at 2 a.m. two days later local time. It will then return from Delhi on at 6:30 a.m. and arrive in Vancouver 6:55 a.m. the same day.
“Our non-stop Dreamliner flights from our Vancouver hub will also offer the shortest elapsed flying time from Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles to Delhi,” said Benjamin Smith, who is president of passenger airlines at Air Canada.
VAA CEO Craig Richmond was ecstatic.
“This highly requested route between Vancouver and Delhi will be welcomed by our community and will further establish Vancouver as a world-class connecting hub between Asia and the Americas,” he said.
The VAA estimates that the new flight will add 94 jobs to the B.C. economy as well as $5.4 million in gross domestic product (GDP), $1.9 million in taxes and $3.4 million in wages.
Canada Jetlines vice-president John Korenic, who is a former VAA director of aviation marketing and had been lobbying for a direct non-stop flight to India for many years, confirmed for BIV that these are the first-ever non-stop flights between B.C. and India.
When Korenic was at the VAA, he said that this kind of flight to India was his top priority.
The success of the route, however, depends on business travel and Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Iain Black believes that business demand is strong.
“Our members have been requesting direct service to this market for a long time,” he said.
“Organizations doing business between India and Canada will greatly benefit from this new service.”