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Air Canada to launch first Vancouver-to-Dubai non-stop route on Saturday

Route set to be four times per week on Dreamliner aircraft
Air Canada plans to fly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on the route | @AirCanada on X (formerly Twitter)

Air Canada is readying to launch the first-ever non-stop Vancouver-to-Dubai route on Saturday.

The airline's plan is to operate the route four times per week on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with flights leaving Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 9:15 p.m. and to arrive at Dubai International Airport (DXB) two days later at 12:05 a.m., the airline told BIV this afternoon. 

This is a slight change in departure and arrival times from when the airline announced the route in April

The return flights are scheduled to leave Dubai on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:05 a.m., and to arrive in Vancouver at 5:55 a.m. the same day. 

The first departure on the route will be Saturday at 9:15 p.m. from Vancouver. 

Planes flying the route have been configured with 30 business-class pods, 21 premium-economy seats and 247 economy seats, according to the airline. 

"This new route will provide even greater travel choice to our customers in Dubai, bridging the Middle East to Western Canada during the winter season," said Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah. 

Air Canada already operates non-stop flights between Toronto and Dubai. 

In 2010, when Emirates Airline sought to expand its thrice-weekly Toronto-Dubai service and launch a Vancouver-Dubai route, Air Canada opposed the move, arguing that Emirates would pick up passengers from Canada and take them to third countries using Dubai as a stopover, former Air Canada CEO Calin Rovenescu told BIV in 2013

That would mean a loss of passengers for Canadian airlines without any reciprocal gain from new passengers coming from Dubai, he explained.

In the end, the Canadian government did not liberalize its air agreement with UAE, and Emirates launched a Dubai-Seattle route in March 2012.

The Vancouver Airport Authority, however, has for many years advocated for a non-stop Vancouver route to Dubai. 

"Direct service to Dubai, with convenient onward connection to southern India and other key destinations across the Middle East, will provide new opportunities for travel, education and access to global markets that will help meet the needs of our community and economy that supports it," Vancouver Airport Authority CEO Tamara Vrooman said in April in a statement.

Business advocates are excited about the new route.

"Direct air travel is the lifeline of modern business, allowing entrepreneurs to connect with clients, partners, and opportunities across the globe with speed and efficiency," said Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in April. 

"Connecting Vancouver directly with more destinations brings us closer, drives innovation, and encourages growth in our interconnected world. As such, the investment by Air Canada in this new route will certainly contribute positively to our region."

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